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OpEd

NORBERT MAO: Anite, the NRM bus and its unhappy campers

State Minister of Finance for Investment and Privatization in Uganda (PHOTO/File)

KAMPALA – The drama we have been treated to these last few weeks is a microcosm of the state of our nation. A party that has held sway over Uganda is showing serious cracks among its ranks.

In my column last week I reproduced General Moses Ali’s narrative regarding what he presented as a pivotal decision to withdraw his troops from Katonga and thus paving the way for the NRA to march in Kampala. What Moses Ali didn’t say was that despite this contribution, he was still arrested and charged with treason alongside other leaders from Northern Uganda. These became known as the Northern 18.

That article drew lots of reactions from many quarters including prime movers of the bush war. Even President Museveni weighed in via a phone call to clarify aspects of Moses Ali’s narrative he thought were not factually correct. Those of us who were not in the bush war have to rely on the narratives of the participants. What is clear though is that President Museveni wants to keep a tight grip on the narrative.

And indeed he is not alone in having that mindset. The British Prime Minister Winston Churchill famously said history would be kind to him because he would write it himself. After being ousted from power he spent his time licking his political wounds writing a six-volume history of the Second World War. Naturally, the record he wrote cast him in the best possible light. No one can blame Museveni from casting a doubt on any narrative that crowds the limelight.

A former schoolmate who prides in his knowledge of the NRA bush war also called to tell me that the withdrawal of Moses Ali’s troops from Katonga was not a decisive factor in the NRA capture of Kampala! He went further to say that Moses Ali exaggerated and dramatized his role because he was in his home turf of West Nile for the consumption of his local audience. That may not be far-fetched because Moses Ali prefaced his remarks by saying he is the “Awulogo” (Cockerel) of West Nile. I think he should write a book and present his side of the story in better detail.

This brings me to the unhappy campers in the NRM bus. The driver of the bus knows that he has a diverse crew and passenger list. The only consensus in the bus seems to be that the driver should continue driving and that nobody should even eye the steering wheel.

The unhappiest camper is Evelyn Anite. Yet, no matter her outbursts, Evelyn Anite is still committed to seeing Museveni rule Uganda (Pakalast). Unfortunately, the old hands in the system she serves do not like the way she works. She is standing in the way of the so-called Mafia who gain from every transaction involving the Ugandan State. In her press conference, she referred to the mysterious deaths of former Speaker Francis Ayume and Abiriga saying there is a cabal that wants to kill her because she is standing in the way of their corrupt deals.

Anite is a diehard NRM with a sterling record of defending the best interests of President Museveni. She led the Kyankwanzi offensive that saw former Premier Amama Mbabazi leave the NRM in disgust. During the debate on the removal of the Presidential Age limit, she warned those opposed to the scheme saying as the party in power they also have the “majje” (army).

But as matters stand now, she may join the long list of those who have been used, abused and discarded by the regime. I have said before that Museveni prides himself on being a “kikamulo” (sieve) that gets the best out of a people before abandoning them when all that is left are the dregs.

With no permanent friends, no permanent enemies but only permanent interests he squeezes everything useful out and discards what is useless. What then prevents new entrants from learning from the frustrations of discarded colleagues? The answer lies in the heady elation newly elevated adherents experience that lures those watching from outside.

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