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Mpuuga to NUP: The whataboutism of “Even your shoes are ugly!”

Bobi Wine with Mathias Mpuuga

Bobi Wine with Mathias Mpuuga

A friend tells of an employer-employee relationship that soured and ended badly.

Mister and Madam unhappy with their domestic help proceeded to fire her, citing her consistent petulance towards her responsibilities and her bosses. The fired worker seized the opportunity to have the last word. Unshackled from the confines of employment that had curtailed her freedom of speech, she eyeballed the Madam and snarled, “Even your shoes are ugly!”

This amusing anecdote usually comes to mind when I follow online arguments. Many, when cornered over their opinions, having failed to defend them, resort to the inane ‘Even your shoes are ugly.’ When the journalist Remmy Bahati once challenged the newly clean-shaven army Chief of Defence Forces Gen Muhoozi Kainerugaba, over his rather ‘interesting’ tweets, Muhoozi responded by calling her ugly, which his rabid troll army gleefully milked.

‘Even your shoes are ugly’ disrupts and throws off one’s focus like bloodhounds temporarily losing a scent. In our anecdote, perhaps Madam in that moment looked at her shoes, thereby breaking her line of focus with the fired house help. And if there were witnesses to this exchange, they too, would have momentarily scrutinized Madam’s shoes.

Some would have indeed ascertained that Madam’s shoes are truly hideous - as the fired employee smirked over her trifling win. Enter the Honorable Mathias Mpuuga, former leader of opposition (LOP) in parliament, a suave well-kitted-out politician in his prime. The position of LOP is bewitching - with all its monetary rewards and privileges, one must walk a tightrope in the gilded corridors of power to stay the narrow course.

The trending Uganda Parliament Exhibition on the social media platform called X, formerly known as Twitter, seemingly caught the opposition flat-footed - as if they did not expect that the searchlight glaring into the excesses of the 11th Parliament would illuminate the skeletons relaxing in the closets of opposition members of parliament (MPs).

Opposition MPs who have found themselves caught up in the dragnet alongside the speaker of parliament have stuttered fluently, lamentably blustering, ‘Why me?’ Mpuuga has been cited in the controversial doling out of public funds where a few parliamentary commissioners looked upon their backbreaking work and deemed themselves deserving of a juicy reward worth hundreds of millions each.

Mpuuga’s political party, the National Unity Platform (NUP), the newest kid on the block of Uganda’s hollow multipartyism, seeks to lead by example in walking that anti-corruption talk. According to NUP, when the news of the juicy reward was just between NUP leaders and Mpuuga, Mpuuga allegedly took the road hardly travelled by Ugandan political leaders.

NUP claims Mpuuga owned his mess and even agreed to step aside. Blasphemy! If true, that would be a presidential fairytale. Our leaders have a winning formula when accused of malfeasance - they cry the ‘mafia.’ Thankfully, homosexuality has rescued them from the ignominy of the mafia and jealous haters, our political leaders now cry, ‘homosexuals are after me.’

However, Mpuuga’s flurry of testy letter writing has doubled down on his version of ‘even your shoes are ugly.’ He has accused NUP leadership of witch-hunting him, arguing ‘Why me and what about...’

In his most recent missive, he pulled out bigger guns, wondering why NUP top honchos previously accused of sexual harassment went unpunished. Therafa, I marvel at the defiance of the fired house help. Refusing to go out without the last word, that juicy morsel that depletes the sensibility in an argument signaling its descent into inanity, she brazenly implied that the ugliness of her employer’s shoes was far graver than her being fired for insolent ineptitude.

Mpuuga, in his ornate writings, implies that his party leadership is incapable of holding him to account. Mpuuga does have a point - his whataboutism highlights other skeletons we would not have known about if not for his ‘tribulations.’ The Conversation notes in a May 2022 article, ‘Whataboutism: what it is and why it is such a popular tactic in arguments’, “...even if the person making the accusation is a hypocrite or has double standards, this does not mean that their accusation is false.”

When I attempt to bamboozle my husband with what I imagine is a show-stopping mic-drop argument, he casually replies, “Two things can be true at the same time.”

Yes, Mpuuga (and the other MPs) should be held accountable - we are holding our breath and hope we survive. Equally, Mpuuga’s allegations about double standards in NUP present the NUP leadership with yet another opportunity to shame its critics who feverishly fast and pray for its demise.

Our main challenge, according to The Conversation, is that the Mpuuga vs NUP letter-writing contest has veered away from accountability to who will blink first.

“In philosophy, an argument is a reasoned debate aimed at truth... people often do not view arguments in this way. They view them, rather, as battles to be won. Their goal is to get their opponent to concede as much as possible without their conceding anything themselves.”

We behold NUP charting unchartered waters of public accountability where even the ruling party slinks away like a vampire hiding from the sun. Unfortunately, Mpuuga’s delightfully snarky letters to the NUP leadership has placed accountability to Ugandans on the back burner.

Dear reader, even your shoes are ugly but do not let that stop you - at least they are your shoes – and on your feet! Besides, the house help from our anecdote is still quite fired.


The writer is a tayaad muzzukulu.


0 #1 Jonathan Mwesigwa S. 2024-04-03 14:32
Well, we all now know that in sticking to his 'truth', it is often the case that the “honourable gentleman” and his flatterers will speak with a forked tongue.

Not even Mukasa, Ddungu, Namirembe, and Kibuuka—amidst a stream of Ganda traditional deities can be swayed to constitute the invisible Masengere Bench to hear defence pleas for their muzzukulu, or to ‘accompany’ another muzzukulu to move a motion of sympathy in his favour in the Lukiiko and beyond.

And that is terrible enough for a man who fancies in viewing and painting himself as starkly different from fellow kaperes, probably at Mmengo and elsewhere. He is not!
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0 #2 Remase 2024-04-04 15:24
Tayaad Muzuukulu, all current politicians, opposition inclusive, all have ugly shoes.

They are all corrupt to the core and only looking out for their own interests! The fish rots from the head. M7 is rotten to the core. So is Kyagulanyi, Mpuuga, Muwanga Kivumbi, Lubega Segona and the rest are all corrupt to the core!

That's why Kyagulanyi came as someone who cared about change! Kumbe, all he cared for was being the leading opposition figure and NUP the leading opposition party so that he could get his hands on taxpayers money just like M7!

Kyagulanyi clearly knows that no elections organized by a hardcore organized criminal, M7, could ever bring change. However, Kyagulanyi intentionally lied to us that, go get IDs, go and vote, then leave the rest to him. In reality, Kyagulanyi was after taxpayers money! As the leading opposition party, with 57 MPs, Kyagulanyi collects billions of money every year.
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0 #3 Remase 2024-04-04 15:31
All Kyagulanyi did was to urge us to go to the bogus poll!

Now, all Kyagulanyi does is to pass the go and collects billions of money from taxpayers money! That's pains to no end! Kyagulanyi is now saying, next [polls]!
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0 #4 Remase 2024-04-04 17:08
Kyagulanyi's shoes are so ugly because, he cheated death in Arua after M7 had ordered for his assassination, but his driver, Yasin, was killed instead!

Therefore, Kyagulanyi clearly knows that M7 is a ruthless kilker and will never willingly handover power through elections!

However, Kyagulanyi makes us believe that changing Mpuuga from LoP to commissioner and then fire him as commissioner and ae his deputy is the change that we need!
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0 #5 kabayekka 2024-04-06 08:45
Indeed from what this article signifies, NUP has got a very difficult job of convincing the economic suffering public of this country that it is still people power and not money power!

It is clear to all right thinking citizens of this country that the long serving government of Uganda is holding on to dear state power for the big money that continuously flows from the treasury of this country now many years and counting!

The meaning of NRM is money power indeed and who does not like money in these modern times as some Uganda artists have started to sing(Njagala sente) for such global prosperity!
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-1 #6 Remase 2024-04-07 01:30
Kabayeka, money power indeed.

I have said it here, Kyagulanyi doesn't know what people power means! All he ever cared for is money power!
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+1 #7 Lakwena 2024-04-08 07:30
Thanks Madam for imagery.

In other words, instead of grinning and rattling, the "relaxing skeletons" in the opposition's closets; is something of a peace of mind, which the Mpuuga, Patrick Amuriat, Nandala Mafabi, etc. of this country wanted/wants to get away with.
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+1 #8 jose 2024-04-08 11:12
Mpuuga should just do the right thing.

If there is any envidance about sexual molestening let the victim come out, and visit any police station
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