By Augustine Otuko
For a long time now I have quietly been following the speakership debate among NRM “cadres” and or other interested Ugandans in the main stream and new media. The arguments are things worth to scratch the head about. They are summarily archaic, backward and irresponsible from all those pretending to be promoting their candidates.
Accusations and counter accusations is what is awash in print, online news websites and or social media. It is now a competition or stunt for Blackmail award. Aware of the historical mission of NRM and its underlying fundamental principles, I think this calls for a thorough BUT comprehensive reflection approach on the objective mission of the NRM Positionings.
For a long Time, the NRM National Chairman has vehemently stated that the NRM revolutionary Mission is not about the Who, BUT the what. However, the NRM machinery and mercenaries are preoccupied with the debate about the who? NOT the what?
For a significant bit of time now it has become embedded in the practice of NRM in its revolutionary maneuvres to address the underlying challenge than to focus more on the individuals to accomplish the said tasks. That has been the soul engine for the movement journey from its inception. Individuals have always been considered secondary.
For example under the NRM broad based approach to challenges, the revolutionary leader right from the Luwero Bush war has been and is still applicably making comprises in addressing the underlying challenges facing the movement. This summarily explains why people like Hon Betty Amongi, Hon Betty Kamya, Hon Flowrence Nakiwala Kiyingi among others are in his cabinet in a multiparty democracy where a winner is supposed to take it all. What this means is that there is need to understand first the leader, his character and interests and secondly there is need to marry the character of the leader with that of the organization to understand the importance of Maneuvres.
What should preoccupy the mindset of the said NRM cadres now is understanding their current station of operation and focus on how to move. In a parliament of close to 120 opposition MPs/Oposstion Independents plus a series of other independents, we MUST be focused on what our next game plan is than tearing ourselves in media platforms in-ideologically. Allow me digress a bit on the issues raised on matters of speakership. If we are to narrow this debate to oulanya and Kadaga, Some argue that Rt Hon Kadaga having served as a deputy speaker for 10 years and subsequently for the same years as speaker, she has exhausted her usefulness and that since this time Nothern Uganda voted better than Busoga, Kadaga no longer needed to the speaker. This argument can only hold water without the appreciation of the practical facts and challenges. Allow me address myself to this matter as follows:- We as party members and or Ugandans should and MUST understand that NRM is a mission oriented organization that is on the journey to the future. In that journey, there shall be valleys, hills and potholes but that does not stop the bus from moving. Since the urshering in of multiparty Democracy it is true and a fact that it is the first time Acholi area has delivered 58% of the vote to NRM. Before that the highest Acholi region had delivered was 40% while on the other hand Busoga for a span of time has been way above average in delivering NRM support the least being in 2021 where NRM garnered 46%. So any attempt to advance reasoning based on the current Presidential performance positioning will automatically attract counter defensive arguments based on the historical performance of these two regions.
What is important for the party leaders including the self-proclaimed cadres tearing themselves on different platforms is to sit back, breathe in a little and refocus on the underlying challenges the movement is faced with and how to manage them. We MUST focus on the reasons why Buganda voted massively against the establishment BUT importantly understudy the underlying factors affecting our support base in Busoga.
Secondly, we should also focus on what we intend to achieve in the next five years and how to achieve it. Whether the revolutionary leader and institutional organs vest their hope in Rt Hon Kadaga or Rt Hon Oulanya, that isn’t the real thing.
The real thing is the dwindling party support in many areas, Rising poverty figures, huge unemployment monster, the structural service delivery challenges across the country, Syndicate corruption, covid19 etc. These are political questions that we MUST focus to address irrespective of who the speaker will be.
The movement has historically never had challenges in having anyone in a position as long as the mission and the objective is clear.
In conclusion therefore; there is need to bring soberness into the speakership debate, focusing more into the revolutionary interests and shortcomings. Both Rt Hon Kadaga and Rt Ounlanya are members of the Central Executive Committee (CEC) of the party, the top most organ.
Therefore, unmanaged or uncontrolled speakership race will have a spillover effect into the internal party fabric for the next five year. The revolutionary leadership should therefore quickly swing into action to provide guidance so that the entire NRM is not dragged into the in-ideological path of indiscipline and character assassinations.
Augustine Otuko is a member of Campfire Ideological Study Group.