There is no need for Opposition beyond 2021

Milly Babirye Babalanda senior Presidential adviser.

While carrying out my mobilisation activities, I have come across people who are deeply interested in the statement made by President Yoweri Museveni when he stated that by next year, there wouldn’t be opposition in Uganda.

Many wonder what the President, a man of legendary foresight, meant by that statement. What was going to happen? Where was the Opposition going? 

That amazing prediction needs shaping since 2021 is upon us, complete with a general election.

In advanced democracies, the opposition operates on a strong policy platform. In Uganda, the opposition is opportunistic and bent on achieving short-term gains for their personal benefit.

Their other obsession is getting rid of Museveni and that is a grave disservice which they will not realise.

When the President said there wouldn’t be an opposition anymore, it was in many respects, one being that Ugandans are increasingly waking up to the unprincipled nature of the Opposition.

This truth was recently articulated by my sister, Beti Kamya (the Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development) when she noted that any party that fails to win the mandate to form a government has no mandate to serve and that any party with no ability or hope of winning power is conning the public. I agree with that view by my sister.

A political party that is defined by a tendency to failure over time loses its saltiness. We have a number of those in Uganda.

“Opposition” should be a transitory phase, confident that the ideas being marketed will soon gain sizeable acceptance by the masses and enable the contending party to take power. Failure to progress to the next level deprives a player of the novelty factor.

The public begins to see that the party in power, despite having in it some areas that need fixing, is still better than that or those contending for power.

In Uganda, the majority of Ugandans realise that NRM is a better “devil” than its competitors whose ideas don’t add up.

There will be nothing new that the Opposition will say or do next year after losing another general election despite so much effort invested in demonising NRM.

On the other hand, the Opposition will be no more because many influential pillars on that side are seeing the light and choosing to join or ally with the NRM.

As a mobiliser, it is my duty to look out for allies in the Opposition and get them on board. I derive that culture from my principal who identifies individuals to work with across the political divide. This talent search has seen brilliant Ugandans opt to quit ineffective dissent and elect to join the winning team.

On that note, I wish to welcome another sister, Sarah Kanyike, who has joined the Government as the Minister of State for the Elderly and Disabled, after listening to the gospel preached by the head of state of putting service to the nation above political differences.

I urge Sarah to apply the best of her reasoning in her new portfolio and take the next step by joining the NRM party like her colleagues, who preceded her; Beti, Betty Anywar (Minister of State for Environment), Nakiwala Kiyingi (Minister of State for Youth and Children Affairs), to mention but a few.

I also urge my sister, Betty Amongi (Minister for Kampala Affairs) to join NRM wholesomely so that we serve Ugandans as one. NRM has space for everybody.

I am aware that many other members of the Opposition are crossing to the NRM, a party that has provided dependable leadership while instituting reforms from within.

I welcome all of them although I can’t name them here one by one. I will reach out to them to help them appreciate the workings of NRM better.

This mass crossover will give NRM the necessary goodwill and authority to deliver on its impressive programme for Ugandans without any need for dissent.

The only dissent we need are principled practical opinions and facts which translate to policy renewal and visible advancement. Dissent for the sake of it is nothing short of sabotage.

Worse, some of members of the Opposition are working with forces bent on distabilising Uganda and bringing its progress to a halt. Beyond that, they have nothing to say.

They will be exposed and disgraced. But, also, some Opposition players are giving up without crossing to NRM. An example is Dr Kizza Besigye whose quest for the presidency after four futile attempts seems to have come to an end.

Besigye has always claimed to have won elections and been rigged out, but he has been made to acknowledge reality by a combined factor of NRM continuing to solidify its grassroots presence and hostility from other opposition camps.

I urge him to join the NRM fold so as to regain value. Insisting on opposing the will of Ugandans is of no benefit. Beyond 2021, any opposition that remains will be ritualistic and only because the Constitution, in its current form, provides for it. We may require an amendment to reflect the new reality.

The writer is a Personal Assistant to the NRM National Chairman and Senior Presidential Adviser (Political Affairs).


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