Over the next two or so weeks, we intend to vigorously interrogate and dispose of a false debate which is being pushed in the media by narrow circles amongst the intelligentsia, about the future of the country.
This false debate is constructed around what is euphemistically referred to as “succession”. We shall address that false debate in two articles before returning to other matters.
Today, it is, however, necessary to deal with some related business. Ofwono Opondo has an article running in this week’s Sunday Vision titled “NRM cadres should learn to be honest”, whose focus is Odrek Rwabwogo’s (in Ofwono’s words) “censure in sections of the tabloid media for daring to question and propose the political and policy paradigm of the National Resistance Movement (NRM)”.
Now, while the title to Ofwono’s piece talks about “cadres” in the plural, it is only David Mafabi whose name he mentions, and whose views he extensively quotes, nay, misquotes.
And, following from this, one could be excused for thinking for a fleeting moment that, according to Ofwono, David Mafabi is sections of the tabloid media!
It is also extremely puzzling that elements that we never mentioned at all, like Rwabwogo’s family, are juxtaposed by Ofwono, with other supposed Mafabi views.
In this, Ofwono was reflecting suspiciously similar, almost verbatim, other commentary sprinkled all over the place - speaking about the “gagging of Rwabwogo”, in the same breath with the “arrogance of Mafabi”, etc.
All this is well. Except this is not the thorough and precise Ofwono we know. The Ofwono we know is not wont to make sweeping, much generalized, grossly inaccurate and extremely misleading observations.
We are now, in fact, persuaded to believe that Ofwono never read our two articles disagreeing with Rwabwogo, nor the two articles by Rwabwogo which we disagreed with. If he actually looked at them, it must have been a cursory glance.
We invite Ofwono and allied commentators to look critically at these three quotations from Rwabwogo’s New Vision article of February 13, 2017. What is the correct position to take regarding them?
“Unlike Singapore, Uganda (1986), Rwanda (1994) and Ethiopia (1991) perhaps provide a good case study in how strongmen in various ways first grew then progressively retarded and in some cases replaced and eventually became the very institutions they meant to build”.
“Ironically, these strongmen too have fallen prey to the Diisi disease of holding too many things in one hand … tend to have a large appetite for weighing in on every issue small or big before it can be resolved … they have become fossilized and institutionalized in such a manner that constitutions have to be adjusted for them …”
“This is why there is need to force internal party democracy in order to carry out the stalled but much-needed second generational reforms in the economy and governance …”
Odrek Rwabwogo, “Are strongmen a hindrance or facilitator to institutional growth, successful political transition”, New Vision, 13th February 2017.
Ofwono would be well advised not to needlessly lambast David Mafabi. He should instead speak to Odrek Rwabwogo, and ask him two questions. First, whether the New Vision version of his article is accurate. Second, whether he actually stands by those positions. At this point, Ofwono should read our views more carefully, before dismissing them out of hand.
Then, Ofwono incredibly suggests that David Mafabi could be one of those opposed to critical and principled thought within the Movement, and about the country!
Except, in all this, we have insisted very politely but very firmly (arrogance?), that democracy must move hand in hand with discipline. Similarly, for the cadre, there are matters that must first be addressed internally in the Movement, before the wider Ugandan community is engaged.
Long-serving cadres of the Movement are of necessity bound to observe this more than the ordinary member. To open up meaningful and useful discussion outside must be consequent upon internal harmonization. To move in any other manner is to promote mindless confusion.
Let us conclude by again making mention of the false debate, which shall be the focus of our next two articles.
Why “false”? Because the pushers are promoting a non-existent problem: that there is a crisis of “succession” in the country; that there is a new, more youthful generation that must take charge so that the “economic and governance problems” of the country are resolved. As we shall demonstrate, these are patently false constructs.
The author is a private secretary, political affairs in State House.