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Why Norbert Mao is victory for wananchi

Norbert Mao

Norbert Mao

Let me begin this way: if you asked a witch to tell you why they eat dead human bodies — something abhorred in many traditions — and this witch were smart and eloquent enough, by the end of this conversation, you would be considering joining them in the practice.

They will tell you about the nutritional benefits of human meat, which is not only organic, but also already naturally salted – like salted sea fish in restaurants in Mogadishu or Dar-es-Salaam. It is a delicacy.

Thus, they will challenge you about being wasteful of good food. If you are secular, they will challenge you on the point of the environment, and will underline how dangerous cemented and tiled graves are to nature.

They will tell you about the Sikhs who literary burn the bodies of their deceased, which in effect, pollutes the environment. It is also mean to the deceased. Why subject them to hell fire before judgment day? Besides, what is worse between dumping your loved ones in a hole in the ground as opposed to processing them as sumptuous meals—useful both in life and in death?

But are these actually scientifically- verifiable arguments agreeable? No. Why?

The reason the science and poetry of the witches in favour of turning their deceased into delicious meals is resisted is not because there are problems with their scientific-intellectual premise, or not because they aren’t eloquently argued. But because one’s justification for their actions or decisions are legitimated within what we call a ‘discursive field,’ a context, a “regime of truth” if you like (used loosely).

It is only within this discursive field that explanations, decisions and actions are understood and legitimated to be true and acceptable. Normally, quite unfairly, there tends to be singularity, a hegemonic regime of truth, and would have been established over a long period.

So, whatever Norbert Mao will say as explanation for joining Museveni at this point in time—however poetic, scientific—will find resistance, not in the counter-arguments of Mao’s interlocutors, but in the discursive field.

In opposition politics in Uganda after 35+ years of Museveni, the discursive field is built in a manner that working with Museveni is a corruption, not a visionary idea. So, it does not really matter what the joiner says, but the ‘regime of truth’ that the 35 years have already established.

Let me quickly get this out of the way: I refuse to join the chorus chastising Minister Norbert Mao for joining his yesterday’s oppressors. My position remains that opposition politics and activism are like industrial or organic products—they have shelf-lives and expiry dates. They expire.

So, you have some beautiful flowers, Mercedes Benzes, Tata lorries, Sony television sets, bicycles and boda-bodas and mangoes and oranges. All these products are good in one’s life, but they serve different functions, and past their sell-by date, they are useless, if not outright dangerous. [They remain repairable, of course].

Especially when the journeys are long—protracted struggles — some of these products become never live long enough to become useful to their consumer. Some cannot stand a heavy downpour. They could remain shiny on the outside, but rotten on the inside. After some time, a Sony TV misses its receptors, but remains perfectly beautiful.

Thus, when opposition politicians expire— like many have done and will do before reaching the promised land—it has nothing to do with them as individuals. But that is how the maker wired them. Thus, my hero, Hajji Hussein Kyanjo remains the quintessential vintage car—a Rolls Royce if you like— however hard the rain falls, it bows out with its shine both on the inside and outside.

What is also true is that fake individuals cherish buying shiny expired products for the symbolism they give. Recall those days we used to wear non-functional watches. Yes, we had swagger with these useless machines. Those were some fake lives.

This is an old position of mine: the collapse and disintegration of opposition politicians or political parties is the ultimate victory for ordinary Ugandans fed up with Museveni. And this is Museveni’s dilemma: while he cherishes “finishing off ” the opposition, in truth, the absence of these pretentious folks is the real threat.

Because, these dramatists in opposition cloaks are but a distraction to serious activism. In obliterating them, Museveni, ironically, enables raw opposition sentiments to emerge. Thus, it is only the wananchi that actually benefit when you have a dead DP, an expired Norbert Mao, or a defunct UPC.

Mao’s departure is a vivid demonstration that: (a) the people we selected from amongst us occupying space as the opposition are not necessarily wolf in sheep skin, but are organic products with major vulnerabilities.

Thus, the revolution has to return to the hands of the wananchi. (b) the format of struggle has to return to the native. It does not have to be structurally organised, but unorganised, small, individualised, and almost ignorable by the state. It could have a name such as People Power or Red Card Front; a leader such as Bobi Wine or Dr Kizza Besigye or Kakwenza Rukirabashaija. But should never have an office, spokespeople or secretaries general.

I will say again: if there is anything to learn from the rise—and fall—of the People Power movement, as the force it was, is that it thrived on the ruins of major political parties and expiry of major politicians.

FDC had split, DP was endlessly wrangling and UPC oblivion was in full force. As Ugandans looked inside, a loved celebrity rose to the occasion. The wananchi are looking inside again, and we would like to thank Minister Mao for making this soul-searching even more urgent.


The author is a political theorist based at Makerere University.


0 #31 Akot 2022-08-05 18:06
Lysol, thanks.

Museveni will end up getting Acholi he hates, destroyed...on his side finally!

Funny, Akot out of Uganda since 1987, gets RED for telling Ugandans to end Museveni's rule in UNIT!

Ugandans now know saying NO to the tribalistic system would end Museveni's rule, so they won't go for it!

Museveni will die one day & Ugandans are prepared to go along with his son in the wait!

Whill Museveni's son maintain tribal leaders or their sons in posts?
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0 #32 Akot 2022-08-05 18:24
Kent Mawa, thanks.

Ugandans haven't understood Museveni didn't fight for them but for himself & family & will end up owning Uganda completely!

Museveni is making it clear the zone formed by tribal lands belong to him & not to Ugandans!

Akot gets RED for calling for an end to the tribalistic system & to UNITY as these are the only moves Ugandans need, if they want Museveni & family out!

Why, how would Akot, living in Europe since 1987, be a danger to Ugandans?

Akot knows Ugandans are alone with Museveni as long as they maintain the tribalistic system of rule that goes against USA/UK/EU democratic principles & they wil never help tribally divided ruled Ugandans!

+36 years of Museveni isn't long enough & nothing is in place to ensure he's out, while his son is waiting to replace him!
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-1 #33 Akot 2022-08-05 18:40
Kent Mawa, thanks.

Museveni studied Ugandans & knew he could only get the country through tribalism & +36 years & Ugandans tribally divided ruled with +1 opposition leaders, have proved him right!

It was a monumental error for Dr Obote to consider Sudanese Idi Amin, Rwandese Museveni as real Ugandans who weren't danger to him!

Yet Dr Obote considered Sir E. Mutesa ll, Bagandans/Acholi DPs his enemis!

Dr. Obote refused to sign arrest warrent against Idi Amin for killing Acholi in top posts & Amin thanked him by overthrowing him!

Were Bagandans/Acholi more dangerous to Dr Obote & not just politically opposing him, in peace, to ensure Uganda became a real democracy?

Yet now, Buganda/Acholi are joining Museveni, not aware they will too, be foreigners when Museveni owns Uganda tribally, officially, legally, constitutionally!
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-1 #34 Akot 2022-08-05 18:51
Kent Mawa, agreed.

Acholi got tired of Dr Obote insulting them day & night, but they forgot that the rest of Ugandans weren't aware of this!

Tito Okello was old & tired of being insulted every time Dr Obote deemed it right & just overthrew him because Acholi was then the army!

Tito Okello realised he was wrong the moment all the other tribes UNITED for Museveni, so he ordered Acholi to stand down & Museveni got the post without Kampala set on fire,but celeberating!

Those of us in Kampala when Idi Amin was overthrown know that the city was bombed through out the night, before it was taken over, just before Idi Amin fled!...
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-1 #35 Akot 2022-08-05 18:54
...Kent Mawa,

+36 years of Museveni, time Ugandans stop blaming one another for past mistakes, idiocy, but say NO to the tribalistic system & UNITE to block & show Museveni way out!

Then FREE Ugandans will have to form the kind of governace they want IMMEDIATELY!

How many more years are we giving Museveni, while we fight one another on line & he owns our land, its riches, enslaves us ALL?
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-1 #36 Akot 2022-08-05 19:06

Please, give the next generation chance to a Uganda that will belong to them & this, by just;

- NO to the tribalistic system Museveni put in place,


Would Rwandese Museveni still be looting, insulting, owning your tax money, controlling every institution...if he was from a tribal land in the Uganda?

Would Rwandese Museveni be owner of Uganda if he was British/white?

Why are tribal leaders still in posts, ensuring tribal division?

Why wait for next fake presidential, parliamentary, local elections, to ensure Museveni is protected legally, constitutionally?

Even Akot, living outside Uganda since 1987, gets RED, but migrant Museveni is getting support from even Acholi now & Ugandans find this normal!

Will Acholi finally be used by Museveni in the army too, to ensure his lifetime rule & family business?
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-1 #37 Akot 2022-08-05 19:14
The only livable places in Uganda are;

- State House,
- tribal leaders homes,
- ministers official houses,
- mps official houses,
- the riches homes.

So, what does DEVELOPMENT mean to Ugandans, when even mps/ministers, the rich...can't travel in good roads in the country?

Why do Ugandans find it normal to be poor, live in rat holes, without clean water, without electricity without chance to education, without healthcare, without modernised agriculture... yet keep the same ruler by all means?

Why will Ugandans go for yet another fake presidential election, knowing it's Museveni the only winner?

Why will Ugandans go for next useless parliamentary election, to ensure they are keep poor officially, legally constitutionally?
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0 #38 kabayekka 2022-08-06 06:20
Of course the Ganda wananchi have received all the benefit they need for this Nile republican politician to have absconded.

Supposing the Ganda had become political supporters of the DP as they did with Ssemwogerere in 1980, and they all elected Mao to remove M7 what would have happened?

Lessons continue to pile up for the State of the Kingdom of Buganda and its Ganda people that it is best to continue to aspire for a modern African autonomous democratic state of Buganda.

For the neighboring tribal states that want to cooperate, and live with the state of Buganda, there is a greater need for them to be sincere first and foremost in respecting their own democracy and self determination.
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+2 #39 kabayekka 2022-08-06 06:24
There are many historical lessons that must be learnt by the leadership of the State Kingdom of Buganda.

One is to trust themselves first and trust others last. Second, only respect those who respect themselves and others.

Third, the State of Buganda even when the white man arrived on the territory of Buganda 100 years ago, the Ancient Kingdom state had its own military army as a political force to reckon with.
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-1 #40 Akot 2022-08-07 20:21
kabayekka, understood.

You seem to believe Buganda is Independent state & part of Museveni's Uganda!

How many Bagandans work for & pay tax to Museveni & how many do so to Mutebi?

Museveni is chief tribal leader of Ugandans & Buganda is part of his Uganda - even Mutebi has Uganda passprots, right?

Museveni doesn't need tribal leaders in post anymore as he controls every institution, owns tax money, so, what if he dissolves the tribalistic system & reforms the republic of Uganda?

Will Buganda not be affected by this?
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