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    OPINION: Museveni’s Team Looks Tired, It Is Not Cool To Be Seen Defending Him, It Is Cool To Be Seen With Bobi Wine – Mwenda…

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    Andrew Mwenda says Museveni (inset L) has to change his campaign strategy to match Bobi Wine (inset R)

    There is a wave of excitement in favour of Bobi Wine and his bid for the presidency.

    The recent riots and their spread across the country only provide a glimpse into the popular interest in him. Anyone who has seen the traffic on social media would know his appeal. To underestimate his potential would therefore be to bury one’s head in the sand. Yet NRM seems impervious to these realities.

    Many factors favour Bobi Wine. He has been a popular musician, so he has name recognition and a strong brand. He is also fresh because he is not been in politics before. He is young, and our country has one of the youngest populations in the world. He is Muganda, Uganda’s largest tribe. He is a Catholic, our country’s largest religion. Then he has his roots in the ghetto where the poor and dispossessed in urban areas live; so they identify with him.

    Meanwhile, our president is old and makes little effort to make himself appealing to the young. He is strong on public policy and affable but often looks exhausted. I wonder why he stages his televised campaign events in such a state.  He gives a litany of his achievements but has failed to articulate any reason why people should give him yet another mandate to govern for another five years.

    Now while Bobi Wine’s campaign has passion and enthusiasm, Museveni’s team also looks tired, bored and disinterested in what he is saying but in awe of him. They seem incapable of grasping the structural transformation that this government has engendered. So their campaign strategies are out of step with the new Uganda that Museveni has created. Given the rancour of Bobi Wine supporters, a sophisticated Museveni campaign can expose the dangers of this group.

    The biggest structural transformation in our country has been in social technology. Social media is now the biggest influence on this campaign.  Yet the Museveni campaign team, if there is any such thing, has no viable social media strategy, save for poorly designed and ineffective isolated, not coordinated, efforts. The paradox is that if Bobi Wine performs very well in this election, it will be more because of Museveni’s achievements than his failures.

    According to the Uganda Communications Commission by October 31st 2020, there were 20m Internet subscribers in Uganda, up from 15m as of December 31st, 2019, and up from 4.7m as of December 31, 2015. Internet traffic between July and October averaged 19m. Part of this growth is global; a result of declining costs of both smart phones and Internet access, but government policy has made it possible.

    Then the demographics: we have a population of about 43m people. Of these, only 45% are 18 years plus. Bobi Wine is 38 years old while Museveni is 76. The people aged between 18 and 40 years constitute 80% of the adult/voting population. The people aged 75 years and above are 1.7% of voters. The people aged 50 years plus, the constituency most likely to appreciate where Museveni has bought this country from, are only 13% of the voters. Many young Ugandans not appreciate our gains and take them for granted.

    Bobi Wine is enjoying an 85% advantage on social media, Museveni only 12%. Yet the spread of social media is evidence of the achievements of the Museveni administration. Millions of young Ugandans today are connected on social media via smart phones. This means they have sufficient disposable income to by smart phones and divert money from food and other basic needs to data and OTT. It also means they are educated to be able to read and write, thanks to UPE and USE, Museveni’s signature achievements.

    These factors have made young Ugandans highly aspirational. Yet the rate of growth in their aspirations is (and can only be) faster than the rate of growth in opportunities. The mismatch between aspirations and opportunities is what is driving social frustration reflected in hostility to government. This is the new challenge of Museveni’s developmental state. It has produced a social group that wants to see the president go, a contradiction Karl Marx identified with capitalism.

    Marx argued that for the bourgeoisie to accomplish its project of accumulation, it has (inevitably) to produce a social class, the embittered proletariat, whose interests are at odds with the interests of capital. This class, Marx predicted, would raise and expropriate the owners of capital. He called this the gravedigger problem. The same risk faces Museveni’s developmental state; it has cultivated its own gravediggers – the embittered urban and semi-urban youths. Will they raise and overthrow the state that has produced them?

    Marx’s embittered proletariat did not overthrow capitalism in the West. On the contrary, communism succeeded in the least industrialised part of Europe – Russia. The failure in Marx’s prediction was that he failed to anticipate the internal self-correcting mechanisms in capitalism, especially its political arm, liberal democracy. Expanding democratic participation led to reforms that increased the social and economic benefits flowing to labour, thereby undermining the need for violent change. Reform became the enemy of revolution.

    Museveni needs to learn from Western Europe and adapt his political methods to the new realities. He needs to put in place a smart social media strategy. He needs to find a way to connect with the young. He doesn’t need to act young; he needs to act like a sage, a cool grandpa. I meet many young people, especially young pretty girls, who really find Museveni cool and prefer him to Bobi Wine. He just needs to reach out to many of them. Finally he needs to provide a reason why at his advanced age, and having ruled this country for the last 35 years, he needs another mandate for five years.

    Museveni’s campaign (or the sad imitation of a campaign) looks out of place. It is not cool to be seen to defend Museveni. It is cool to be seen with Bobi Wine. This can change and Museveni needs to expand his reach to the young. He needs to create an emotional connection with them. He can show them that he has brought the ship Uganda from far, through turbulent waters. But there are small speedboats all over the place promising shortcuts at the risk of accidents.

    “I am here asking you to trust me as an experienced captain,” he can tell them, “I hear your voices and feel your anxieties. Trust my experience at navigation, even though you worry about my age. Here are the plans I have for you and your future which my opponents don’t have.” For now, the president and his team need more police than votes to manage the campaign, which is really sad.

     

    By Andrew M. Mwenda

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    NATIONAL

    Panic In UPDF As Furious M7 Gives Gen Okidi’s Team Two Weeks To Give Him Detailed Report On Why Army Helicopters Are Crashing…

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    One of the army helicopters that crashed recently

    A furious President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, who is the Commander-In-Chief has ordered Maj. Gen. Charles Okidi’s team to present to him a detailed report on why Uganda People’s Defense Forces(UPDF) helicopter crashed in the Eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo(DRC) and killed the country’s soldiers including a Ukrainian national who was the pilot.

    Brig. Gen. Felix Kulayigye, the UPDF spokesperson confirmed the incident explaining that as usual when such incidents happen, the president orders for investigations.

    According to Reuters, more than 22 UPDF soldiers have died in two separate helicopter crash incidents inside DRC where the country’s commandos are fighting the deadly Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) terrorists who have been frequently killing Ugandan and Congolese nationals.

    However, Gen. Kulayigye rubbished Reuters reporting on the number of UPDF soldiers who have died in the incident but confirmed that Yury Vyshykvy, the Ukrainian national who was the pilot of the Russian made Mi-17 died on spot and together with two Congolese nationals.

    Sources in UPDF have revealed that president Museveni has directed that the concerned persons should inform the deceased’s next of kin over the death of their people.

    Mi-17 crashed few minutes after delivering food and medicine consignment to the UPDF commandos who are fighting ADF terrorists in Eastern DRC and a number of causalities were rushed to Bombo Military hospital for further medical attention.

    Sources in UPDF disclosed that the president wants to establish why the forces’ newly acquired military helicopters are crashing.

    The DRC accident happened a day after another Mi-24 also crashed in Fort Portal.

    Fortunately, no person died in that particular accident.

    Sources noted that like other military helicopter accidents, Gen Okidi’s report will not be made public but will be given to the assigning officer.

     

    By Sengooba Alirabaki

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    CRIME

    We Don’t Want A Country Where People Are Being Picked Up By Drones And No One Is Held Accountable – Muntu Warns On Rampant Broad Day Light Kidnaps…

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    Mugisha Muntu

    Former presidential candidate, Gen. Mugisha Muntu has warned on the rampant abductions that have taken lead in the country.

    Muntu statement was premised on the rising cases of gunmen picking civilians off the streets or their homes in drones.

    Muntu emphasized that they don’t want a country where people are being picked up by drones and no one is held accountable, and the government doesn’t speak out even when issues are raised.

    “What we see currently on the surface of things seems to be calmness, but beneath is a situation that we all need to focus on.”

    He explained, “We have two forms of fear. One is the fear that is deeply engraved in the minds of those people in power. They fear relinquishing power, and therefore, it drives them to do the things they do.

    “Unfortunately, in this country, we have never had a peaceful transition, which is abnormal, and therefore, we need to focus on where we are heading. It is not too late.”

    Muntu insisted that they need to use the platforms where they can speak and break the culture of impunity that keeps growing.

    “The principle of separation of powers in institutions is not working. Parliament is just a shadow of what Parliament is supposed to be. On the surface you might think that there is peace but below, the situation is worrisome,” he intimated.

    He added that sectarianism is a symptom of a larger problem.

    “If we want to have fairness, we have to ensure that whatever we practise, is rooted in these values of fairness, justice and equity, among others.”

    Muntu made the remarks at Golf Course hotel today during a Public Dialogue under the theme ‘Ending Secretarianism and Tribalism.’

    Today, a man in civilian attire accompanied by the three men wearing military fatigue and armed with assault rifles kidnapped Mr. Rafik Khan, a car dealer at Kireka C in Kira Municipality, Wakiso District at 5pm.

    Residents and Mr. Khan’s colleagues looked on helplessly as the armed men dragged the businessman into a waiting Toyota Probox car.

    This is on the heels of over 15 NUP supporters who have recently been arrested from various parts of the country by men moving in drones.

    Democratic Party president, Nobert Mao, who also doubles as the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs hailed Muntu for taking a strong stand against extra-judicial killings by those who wanted to take the law into their own hands.

    He argued that as they discuss the framework for the truth and reconciliation process, they must agree on what truth and reconciliation are not.

    “I have to give credit to Gen. Mugisha Muntu because of his militant and strong stand against extra-judicial killings by those who wanted to take the law into their own hands,” he adduced.

    He maintained, “Let me state what the truth and reconciliation process is not. It is not good to be confused about the aims of the truth and reconciliation process.

    “The truth and reconciliation process should not conduct a formal legal process and should not duplicate the work of criminal investigations, initiate court actions, among others, on matters already covered by other organs.”

    Mao noted that however, there are some trends that will lead them to conclude that colonialism played an important role in the false start that Uganda made as they headed towards independence and the years after, adding that he doesn’t believe that all the blame goes to the colonialists.

    “The North is seen as the “underprivileged backyard”. As Uganda went to independence, historical accidents disarmed the north of their fears that they had a position in an independent Uganda.”

    He propounded, ” Therefore, even a Munyankole that has made money is seen to have been corrupt. An Acholi who hasn’t killed anybody when they go to Luwero will be a suspect.

    “There was perceived dominance of the North, Baganda, and western Uganda. This was looked at as a problem that should be seen through sectarian lenses.”

    Mao therefore emphasized that a national truth and reconciliation process is the only thing that can salvage this country.

     

    By Kalamira Hope

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    NATIONAL

    Fights In Bobi Wine’s NUP: KCCA Councillor Cited In Kyagulanyi, MP Kagabo Disturbing Leaked Audio Recording…

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    Hakim Kizza, the Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) Secretary for engineering and technical services, who is also the Lubya Parish representative in Lord Mayor Ssalongo Erias Lukwago’s city council has cleared the air on the allegations that he has a hand in the leaked disturbing audio recording where embattled Bukoto South Member of Parliament Twaha Kagabo is revealing secrets about NUP party and his principal Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu (Bobi Wine).

    In the leaked audio, Kagabo is heard confessing to a friend via phone that he is not in NUP because he loves the party so much but he is there because of the political wave.

    He added that many NUP legislators are not happy with Bobi Wine’s leadership style but they have nothing to do because he is popular.

    The recording was leaked a few days ago when Bobi Wine had just praised Kagabo for being a patriotic legislator and very loyal to the party after he accepted his mistake and returned the controversial Shs.40m bribe.

    It should be remembered that Bobi Wine ordered his party legislators to return the Shs.40m bribe which he alleged was given to MPs at the speaker of parliament Annet Anita Among’s home in Nakasero, a Kampala suburb.

    Dr. Kagabo returned the money and accused speaker Among of giving it to him. Suprisingly, he later refuted his early statements against Among and apologised to her.

    Days after apologising and being forgiven by the Speaker, an audio leaked of him blasting Bobi Wine and NUP.

    Kagabo supporters now accuse councillor Kizza of playing on Kagabo’s intelligence and releasing the shocking audio of him blasting his party boss.

    Sources in Bukoto South told theGrapevine that Kizza had intentions to contest for the area parliamentary seat but he was frustrated by NUP leadership in Kamwokya who gave the party ticket to Kagabo.

    Sources added that when Kiiza decided to contest on an independent ticket, he was advised to try another time because it was going to be hard for him to defeat Kagabo who was already armed with a NUP ticket and money.

    He later accepted defeat and stood for KCCA councillor representing the people of Lubya Parish.

    Sources further narrated that Kagabo used a lot of money to get the NUP ticket after first battling for it with Dr. Abed Bwanika who was later forced to shift to Kimanya-Kabonera.

    Sources said that from then, Kiiza has been on ground, which he admitted when contacted.

    “I’m not new in that constituency, he found me there but he used money, but I remained with my people,” Kiiza said.

    He however denied allegations that he was behind the leaked audio recording.

    Kagabo and Kizza’s political fight is one of the many political fights in Bobi Wine’s NUP party.

     

    By Sengooba Alirabaki

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