KAMPALA – For about 20 years (1986-2005) Uganda’s political classes opposed to NRM and President Yoweri Museveni’s hold onto power yearned, petitioned court and had running battles to ensure that Uganda moved from the monolithic one party ‘Movement system’ to a multiparty dispensation.
With the 2021 General Election around the corner, the news is dominated by infighting in many political parties. There have been splits and new formations.
There are crossings too, from one party to another with accusations and counter accusations of people being moles and Trojan horses. Some groupings have been swallowed while others have died quietly
The continued appointment of elites into powerful positions has continued to render opposition political parties toothless and less effective. This happens as many and more brilliant leaders in opposition political parties are appointed to occupy positions in Government in Ministerial departments or into National institutions.
With a total number of about 170 RDCs and and their Deputy RDCS, 31 Cabinet ministers and 49 Ministers of State in the Cabinet of Uganda and 141 presidential advisors continues to weaken the opposition political parties. The appointment of people like Betty Kamya, Betty Amongi and other as ministers has means that some political parties like UPC, UFA can longer thrive.
It has been a trend that every individual who stands out and speaks against the government is offered a position in government examples being Betty Kamya the former President of Uganda Federal Alliance, Beatrice Anywar also known as Mama Mabira, Betty Amongi the wife to UPC president Jimmy Akena, former FDC diehard Paul Kahigi and many others.
In addition the appointment people like Tanga Odoi a former leader of the academic staff association and also known for leading demonstrations against poor pay and poor administration affects the work of opposition political parties because such people have been absorbed into the system.
Many people are always comfortable in such positions rather than joining the opposition to fight for power .
Patronage has not only stopped in state institutions but also in cultural instutitions such as kingdoms and chiefdoms. The NRM has continued to use antics such as buying of cars, provision of security to these cultural institutions.
Religious institutions such as churches and mosques have not been spared, the president has offered cars to every Diocese in the Anglican church and catholic churches. Born Again church pastors believe that dinning with the president on the same table with the president offers them security means that they cannot defect to the opposition. Such religious leaders cannot turn join the opposition because literally the opposition cannot offer anything material minus empty promises.
Businessmen and women have been adopted like orphans in the names of protecting their businesses in the country. This explains the reason why most businessmen shun the opposition political parties in favour of the ruling NRM because it has something to offer in terms of tax exemptions and market for their good and services.
It has become worse when it comes to the youth, student leaders at University are aklways bought and offered financial support to finance their campaigns in order to stop them from joining the oposition political parties.
Such antics by the ruling party NRM and the ever increasing weakens of the Opposition whose groupings known as parties has no firm foundation in ideology, values and principles, points to a bleak future for multiparty politics.
The writer, Brighten Abaho is a Lawyer and Advocacy and Communications personnel at Youth Line Forum