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Why NRM is refusing to concede Jinja defeat

The Jinja Municipality East by-election was marketed not as a contest between FDC’s Paul Mwiru and NRM’s Nathan Igeme Nabeta, but as a referendum on Gen Yoweri Museveni’s popularity.

Marketing it as such is what would entice the full deployment of the state. That is what Nabeta, one of the 317 MPs that voted to change the Constitution to allow Museveni contest the next general elections, wished for.

Some of the regime operatives who have made a fortune by exaggerating threats against Museveni’s presidency looked at this election as a perfect business opportunity. That is why this by-election, with zero impact on the numerical strength of political parties in parliament, was profiled as a do-or-die affair.

Gen Museveni, it appears, still believes that he is a popular leader in whose name crimes such as his coronation as life president can be committed and perpetrators are not lynched!

Those who have committed political crimes like changing the Constitution must, therefore, be protected in order to keep the myth.

Dethroning one of the 317 MPs would mean that the big man has no capacity to offer political protection. Already, nearly each of these 317, now 316, MPs has been given police and/or military escorts. The Jinja Municipality East by-election, therefore, became important to each party for different reasons. 

Most of the actions that you saw or watched on televisions were motivated by the above factors. For example, on March 13, the day we concluded campaigns, our (Mwiru’s) campaign headquarters were raided by the military and police and 51 of our agents were rrested.

The invaders wore the NRM candidate’s black T-shirts. It is these NRM youths who read out names of those meant to be arrested. In fact, even when nearly everybody had been picked and loaded on a police truck, they demanded that one Med, who was in charge of our vote protection team, be produced. When he emerged from our party office and was loaded on the truck, they jubilated and drove them away, first to Nalufenya and later to Kayunga.

A group of NRM MPs, headed by Peter Ogwang (Usuk) that Museveni himself sent to reinforce the team on the ground, ordered NRM youths to provoke the opposition into a fight in order to allow full military deployment and action. The NRM MPs were disappointed by Nabeta for failing to mobilise enough daring youths for this purpose.

After arresting our agents, the military started patrolling the whole constituency, but failed to carry out more arrests because the opposition had resisted provocation.

I am now told the commanders of military units that were supposed to do this job are all going to be transferred for neglect of duty! The story of the opposition stoning NRM buses is meant to facilitate this narrative.

In fact, Solomon Silwany, the deputy NRM chief whip in parliament, accused the military – in my presence at Aspire polling station – of being “unhelpful”. The military was supposed to have sealed off this polling station but, instead, allowed the opposition to make noise around it.

The vigilance that the opposition exhibited was supposed to have been dealt with by the military which, according to NRM, didn’t happen. The media is also accused of siding with the opposition.

I know an NRM MP who called Museveni to report NBS TV for being biased. Why? The independent TV channel was broadcasting images of pre-ticked ballot papers in favour of the NRM candidate which we had seized at Old Iganga Road Junction polling station.

And when Kayunga NRM chairman Moses Karangwa ordered the arrest of all FDC polling agents, the military and police just arrested some.

These are the electoral offences which, I think, NRM secretary general Justine Kasule Lumumba may be talking about. Prevention of rigging, to her, is an electoral offence called intimidation; for her, chasing Karangwa from a polling station where he ordered arrest of our agents amounts to violence.

I think by threatening court action, NRM hopes that if another by-election is ordered, brutal force can be used to extract a win.

And brutal force is what has kept away many credible people from politics. Disappointed by the polling-day events, Paul Mwiru at one point asked me if it was worthwhile to participate in this dubious election. Of course as the chairman of his campaign and his friend, I counseled him; but he was visibly disappointed.

For me, that is the lesson to pick from Jinja. Our money, military and police will continue being deployed to settle political contests and the mafias in the ruling NRM will continue accusing the opposition of being weak.

Just imagine that protection of victory in a place as small as Jinja Municipality East with 47 polling stations required the presence of almost the entire opposition hierarchy.

I deployed MPs and senior leaders as polling agents because junior cadres had been intimidated and were being targeted. It was the first time for people such as Alice Alaso, Muwanga Kivumbi, Cecilia Ogwal, Kenneth Kakande, Dr Lulume Bayiga and Joseph Balikuddembe to sit at a polling station for a whole day.

That is what we went through. The emperor now feels disappointed that he failed to protect one of his 317 heroes that changed the Constitution. And those who ‘ate’ his money must now account for it. Court, therefore, becomes the perfect excuse.

The author is Kira Municipality MP and opposition chief whip in parliament.


+2 #11 Twebz 2018-03-23 15:01
Quoting ejakait engoraton:
THE OPPOSITION must do a big post mortem.

IF it took the combined effort of all the opposition main parties and if it is claimed that this was a referendum on Article 102 and that people were angry with M 7, how come the margin was so low.

IS it because of the people who stayed away, is it because there was still rigging in favour of the NRM candidate etc etc.

ALL these questions must be asked and answers found as a way of moving forward.

Because it can be reasonably assumed that if UPC and DP had each fielded their own candidate, MWIRU would not have won.

SO , celebrate but after the celebrations and chest thumping, ask the relevant questions and come up with the right answers.

Bro, numbers were in thousands and the margin was in also thousands. It was indeed enormous.

Secondly, this is a lesson that the opposition must remain united.
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+2 #12 Twebz 2018-03-23 15:13
Among other factors one needs to note how the security conspicuously ignored to put into action orders from their masters.

Even the opposition members that were rounded up were arrested by the NRM functionaries, not security personnel.

So it's worth noting that there's a gradual shift in the security's attitude towards civilian political activities.

By the way Mzee may sooner or later find himself isolated the Robert Mugabe way.
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0 #13 ejakait engoraton 2018-03-24 14:13
TWEBZ, yes , with due respect the margin was in the thousand - not thousands, but when analysing results you use numbers as well as percentages in order to get the true picture.

The difference can be in thousands and even millions yet the margin in percentage terms is small, yet the difference can be in tens or hundreds yet the margin is large.

In this case , out of the total 12k votes cast, the winner got 55% , and the turnout was just over 40%. So when doing an analysis you have to look at the percentage, what was the swing over the last result, and especially if it was claimed and proved by the court that there was cheating in the last election, what was the gain over the last result.

That, just like you do a post mortem on a dead person, is what you do with election results.

Why and how did you win, why and how did they lose, how can you increase your percentage , turnout etc and how can you roll this out to other future elections.
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0 #14 ejakait engoraton 2018-03-24 14:23
NALUBEGA , I thought it was only me who could not make sense of what the hapless OCAYA a reincarnation of whatever, was saying.

First he says the FDC of Nganda and BESIGYE have no idea what collective responsibility is , and then goes on to say they only understand it when BESIGYE is the leader.

Im told the brewers of lira-lira have come up with a very potent brew, and worse still if it finds a weak brain.

SO if we have collective responsibility if/when we have Besigye as leader, why would Besigye again be "dangerous for the building of internal political democracy"?
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+1 #15 Akot 2018-03-25 17:50
ejakait engoraton, understood!

Will museveni be there if Ugandans Unite against him?

The Unity must be against museveni & tribal leaders who are maintaining the tribalistic system making the demon chief tribal leader in a country he has no tribal land!

Every constitutency could Unite & get nrm candidates out, but museveni will NEVER leave & tribal leaders will just go along with him, while opposition leaders-Ugandans who will defy will be arrested!

The Unity must be against museveni & this is how Ugandans will get back their country-have their second independence!

Without Ugandans United against museveni, it will be like the Catalan nationalists leader who is today alone face to EU-Madrid who want to teach him a lesson for defiance!

UK division-power struggle is letting Brussels go ahead crushing UK!

Ugandans MUST UNITE AGAINST MUSEVENI who controls every institution!
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+1 #16 Akot 2018-03-25 18:04
ejakait engoraton,

Without cutting off the head of nrm the unity you talk of will never bring change because:

- tribal leaders work for/payed by museveni,

- parliament works for museveni & not for constituencies,

- court works for museveni,

- nothing is done in the country unless museveni gives the go ahead,

- nrm meberes have understood it's museveni & no other to rule!

BUT, change of governance is brought about by a people Uniting against the head that is dictating-ruling-commanding...!

Uganda belongs to Ugandans & they alone, through Unity "against museveni", will bring him down!

Yet, if Ugandans Unite & bring museveni down & tribal leaders don't stand down from their museveni given posts, then independent tribal states is the only solution!

Until then peaceful museveni Uganda will be attracting refugees from DRCongo-S.Sudan-Burundi-Somalia...!
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0 #17 Akot 2018-03-25 18:20
ejakait engoraton,

Unity of Ugandans against museveni will give chance not only to Ugandans, but refugees coming to peaceful Uganda too!

Uganda is tribalistically ruled but peaceful because Ugandans are not at armed war aginst one another!

Yet not only UN-EU say Uganda is well ruled & prosperous, but tribalists at armed conflicts (DRCon go-Rwanda-S.Sudan-Somalia...), believe Uganda is paradise!

Ugandans could replace every nrm elected member/mp, but this won't throw museveni out:

*Ugandans Must UNITE AGAINST museveni & not against themselves/replacing mps... because museveni is going nowhere unless the Unity is against him & not Ugandans against Ugandans!

Ugandans cannot fight/replace one another & expect museveni to leave!
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+1 #18 Ronald Mugisha 2018-03-26 20:17
My dear even with all the intimidation and abuse just look at the swing vote.

The last time Nabeta rigged this constituency to his victory in 2016 only 30 ballots separated the candidates.

But last week, there was a 700% swing to Paul Mwiru. What a win.
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0 #19 Ocaya pOcure 2018-03-26 22:19
ENGORATON and cahoots,
I am quite glad you do not understand me because even Siamese twins do not understand one another’s thoughts.

I hope you understand the rights to have opinions and the rights for indifferences meanwhile pretending not to know is as well a right!
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