KAMPALA – As the National Resistance Movement (NRM) winds up its primaries, several political observers are saying the country is increasingly degenerating into a kakistocracy, a government in which the worst people and least qualified are in charge of state affairs.
Right from Parliament to local council positions, it seems the voters are not voting political rhetoric and bright ideas but rather flimsy issues like attending funerals and dishing out money to the public.
“Politics has increasingly degenerated into a field for riffraffs. Now gentlemen like us can nolonger manage the speed,” says Isaac Baidha, a renown educationist in Iganga Municipality.
Baidha cites the position of mayor, which was initially a honourable position reserved for people of repute and considerable wealth.
“It is people like the late Sebana Kizito, Wasswa Birigwa who became mayors and they suited the position by virtual of their opulence and wealth but these days even people staying in rentals can offer themselves for the position of mayor,” Baidha said.
Irongo sub-county chairperson Charles Edube, in an interview with this reporter, said voters are increasingly basing on flimsy issues to vote.
“A voter once told me that he could not vote for me because I failed to get for his son a job while another was peeved because he wanted me to transport his mother to hospital but I failed because I also lack a personal vehicle,” he said.
Edube decried the violence that is synonymous with political campaigns, saying that it is as a result of politicians taking politics as a do-or-die affair.
“When hiring goons to cause chaos and bar your opponents from speaking becomes a requirement in political campaigns, then you know where the country is headed,” he said.
Baidha says the Constituent Assembly produced some of the best legislators this country has ever had because at the time, voters considered the credentials of the candidates and their ability to articulate issues.
Political analyst Dr Sam Kazibwe blamed the current trend on politicians who have consistently failed to live to the expectations of the masses.
“From the time of independence, men in suits have been in charge but have always betrayed the masses. It is no wonder that right now, riffraffs are cutting off their dreadlocks and climbing the high walls of politics,” Dr Kazibwe said.
He said the public has also increasingly known that politicians just hide in public interest to drive their own agendas and have consequently learnt to change them like diapers.
“One scholar said that politicians like diapers must be changed quite often for the same reason. Therefore, even when there are no term limits for elective positions, voters retained those term limits in their hearts,” Dr Kazibwe said.
In many areas, especially in Busoga sub-region, it has become increasingly common for leaders who have served for two terms and more to be thrown off the political ladder on grounds that they have eaten enough.
“In the entire Busoga sub-region, only Parliament Speaker Rebecca Kadaga and Bugweri county MP Abdul Katuntu have served for more than two terms uninterrupted, the rest are changed to give room to new blood and if they are lucky they come back and win like Buzaaya county MP Isaac Musumba,” says political observer Edward Nyongesa.
He cited an example of the recent NRM primaries where less than 10 of the incumbent NRM MPs out of about 40 managed to retain the party flag.
Sande Kabbali, a resident of Nawampiti in Luuka district, also says politics should be used to empower the masses.
“After two terms one is empowered enough and they should give way to others. We want to empower as many people as possible. Nobody has a right to take politics as a full-time job,” he said.