By Ofwono Opondo
KAMPALA – In the past few weeks the Leader of Opposition in Parliament – LoP, Mathias Mpuuga has been out and about promising that this year his party – National Unity Platform –NUP will make constitutional, legal and political reforms its raison d’être supposedly because they will usher in a peaceful transition from NRM and President Yoweri Museveni to another party and leader.
Well, it’s a date the NRM should take up. And yet although NUP describes itself as national, it’s rather a localised tribal outfit within Uganda’s central region.
Mpuuga, the new political saint, on still a short journey, believes that he is a man on a mission from the gods to save Uganda from Museveni’s ‘junta’, and if he doesn’t succeed in martyred fashion, he will go crying about betrayal over a lost cause for the rest of his life.
It is necessary to state that NRM has a solid track record in rebuilding the state, its institutions and laws that govern them and doesn’t need any advice from NUP.
NRM also has own national credible agenda upon which it received electoral mandate. NUP isn’t in any position and capability to impose its agenda on NRM and deriding NRM leaders as Mpuuga does isn’t an approach that can endear it to NUP proposals.
Having titillated around for the past two years with bogus claims and conjuring multiple fake lists of the ‘abducted’ and ‘disappeared’ or presumably murdered NUP members which he tabled in parliament but failed to substantiate, and circulated to the gullible media, Mpuuga is now trying a half-clever trick to divert attention.
It is hard to point at any issue of real substance that NUP as the leading opposition in parliament has raised and stuck to in the last two years of tenure. None but I can hear them grumbling vigorously even insulting. And in that NUP is fast becoming a liability to the opposition and Uganda worse than FDC ever was.
Clearly, Mpuuga whose party NUP has only 57 MPs and has so failed in the past two years to rally the paltry opposition in parliament to any meaningful cause, to put mildly, is a small man of an inflated ego on a wild goose chase, with a pendulum swinging aimlessly.
Put another way, Mpuuga is emerging more like Kizza Besigye as a colourful politician on stage with a bravado empty style politics. With the economy which they had hoped would provide them a political bailout bouncing back, and now oil drilling starting, NUP could be staring into a dark hole.
By this stunt Mpuuga is seeking to portray a false and moribund narrative that the constitution, rule of law, governance and judicial system in Uganda is dysfunctional, incompetent and compromised, and leaders, especially President Museveni, act with impunity and in total disregard to established procedures.
This colourful politics reminds of the much and empty rhetoric by Kizza Besigye in 2019 that they were collecting evidence and two million signatures to lodge a petition against President Museveni and other senior security officers to the International Criminal Court (ICC) for crimes against humanity in Uganda.
Besigye had been buoyed by former renegade UPDF Gen. David Tinyefuza (Sejusa) now retied who while in a short stint in self-exiled in 2013-14 claimed that Besigye won the 2006 elections, and that they (the military and intelligence) tinkered with results from a dubious tally centre at Basiima House in Mengo.
For the record, Basiima House had been returned to the Buganda kingdom in 1999, and had since then occupied, and therefore couldn’t have been used by the intelligence services for the purpose Sejusa claimed, unless of course Buganda kingdom officials were accomplices to the electoral fraud.
Besigye seemed to have fallen to this trap and believed that the grand conspiracy could help him attain the presidency by any means possible, the reason he boldly appointed Gen. Sejusa, then a serving military officer to his election campaign team in total disregard to the Constitution and established law.
I guess that squares perfectly with Besigye and Mpuuga’s current rants against Gen. Muhoozi Kainerugaba recent escapades. Anyway I won’t accuse Besigye and Mpuuga of cognitive dissonance.
Often, business people busted will say they were careless with their tax returns, but they are never been careless enough to pay above what they are supposed to pay, and so we never get to see them weeping with joy as they get an unexpected rebate. The accounting errors are always in their favour.
Now, with many NUP MPs reported to be plotting with NRM in dark corners, and considering that Mpuuga is all dressed, probably he will not wait to down with the NUP ship just like he abandon the DP wreckage while still floating aimlessly. Next time an opposition leader with such small numbers, and also unreliable, promising big constitutional or even policy changes, know they are being economic with the truth. The NUP collective is buckling up a greasy political pole; the date is on with NRM.
Now Ugandans should wait to see how they end.
The writer is the Director –Uganda Media Centre