During the second historic Uganda presidential debate, President Yoweri Kagutta Museveni, the current President of the Republic of Uganda, alluded to it – the connection between attitudes and ideology, on the one side; and the presence of war and terrorism. This validates the question: does Uganda have sufficient quantities of elite Ugandans or is rather elitist Ugandans?
There are elite Ugandans who are not elitist – they are indeed the best of Ugandans. The current President of the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC), which is the largest opposition party in Uganda, Major General (Rtd.) Gregory Mugisha Muntuyera, famously known as Gen. Mugisha Muntu, comes to mind.
The manner in which Gen. Muntu has patiently re-branded FDC as a party that could be the lead source of alternative views and ideas for the greater good of Uganda is to die for. Especially so since Gen Muntu took over the FDC party leadership from Dr. Kizza Besigye and prior to losing the primaries of the FDC flag bearer for Presidential Candidate to Dr. Besigye.
You see, following his election as the FDC Party President, Gen. Muntu rolled up his sleeves and begun the process of transforming FDC to a truly formidable opposition party, ideas wise. Calmly and most of the time incognito he traversed Uganda consulting and discoursing with Ugandan leaders of varied and of multiple political persuasions and with citizens of Uganda at the grassroots.
Gen Muntu truly espouses those leadership qualities that foster genuine service above self that are a must have for good leaders of democratic nation-states. He also espouses the good quality of non-dictator type leaders who foster genuine inclusive and wide participation. The manner, for example, in which Gen Muntu conceded defeat at the FDC primary for the election of the FDC flag bearer for Presidential Candidate is to die for – particularly so if one locates within the historical context of Uganda.
Gen. Muntu’s softly, softly but firm and inclusive approach culminated in the publication of a well thought out FDC party strategy for the year 2016, titled: “FDC Policy Agenda for Uganda’s Leap Forward.” Leap Forward spells out clearly how FDC planned to govern and transform Uganda for the better. Offering a clear alternative to the way in which the ruling party, the National Resistance Movement, is currently governing.
In Leap Forward, one of the aspirations of FDC that are articulated is to “create a new leadership style” for Uganda, for example. It was a new day for Uganda’s politics. The tempo was right at FDC’s launch of its Leap Forward. The speeches were wow! In his speech Gen. Muntu focused on the future by clearly articulating why Uganda’s progress should not be measured by failures in the past but rather should be by comparison to promises of the future.
For some of us who have grown to political maturity during the 30 years that President Museveni has been president of Uganda, Gen. Muntu’s speech was music to our ears. We were exhilarated and we were hopeful that a leader with a different leadership style was emerging – a leader different from one with a significant amount of egocentric tendencies, such as arguably possessed by both President Museveni and Dr. Besigye.
Sadly, elite Ugandans, such as Gen. Muntu, are so few and far between. I am referring to Ugandans who appreciate the necessity to genuinely rise above self and to work with others in order to achieve the greater good and in the interest of Uganda. Such elite Ugandans are depressingly so few.
One finds instead that a significant proportion of Ugandans who have attended and received schooling through a version – mostly a bastardized colonial version – of formal global-western education and who live in urban areas consider themselves superior to the majority of Ugandans, the latter being the 82 percent who live in the rural areas.
Those Ugandans, among mostly the 18 percent who live in Uganda’s urban centres and others, some with dual citizenship who live in the Diaspora, are the focus of this critique. It is they whose inferiority complex manifests itself in their delusions of superiority that are the elitist Ugandans. It is they who for the most part are also culturally dislocated.
It is ironical, for example, that the elitist and culturally dislocated Ugandans would be absolutely food insecure if it were not for the Ugandans who live in the rural areas and grow the food that feeds the nation. Many of the elitist Ugandans, in addition, moreover, were schooled in that version of the global-western education system from proceeds that their parents and ancestors who live and work on the land in the rural areas of Uganda earned from hard work.
Various polls, I know of at least four, and analysts had prior indicated that Uganda’s 2016 presidential elections would comfortably be won by the incumbent. It is therefore fascinating that now that the indications of the polls and of the analysts hold true, elitist Ugandans are up in arms claiming that it is impossible that the incumbent won?
It seems as though those opposed to the incumbent did not prepare themselves for the possibility that they would lose. How come? Why so? How then are they different from the incumbent?
No doubt, there have been unnecessary and unjustified incidences between Dr. Besigye and the Uganda Police. Nevertheless, what strikes me the most is the manner in which elitist and culturally dislocated Ugandans are reporting the altercations between Dr. Besigye and the Uganda Police.
On social media, the posts, tweets, news up-dates, give a distinct impression that the whole of Kampala, hell the whole of Uganda is on fire in protests against the incumbent. That is not exactly truthful. My post election observations from Pallisa, my home district in Eastern Uganda, driving through Teso in North-Eastern Uganda and into Lango in Northern Uganda is of peaceful existence of Ugandans who have accepted the election results.
The social media posts, tweets, news up-dates of the elitist and culturally dislocated Ugandans, for the most part, hardly assign any responsibility to Dr. Besigye for his altercations with the Uganda Police and the resulting consequences. The elitist and culturally dislocated are oblivious of how their social media ‘protests’ and ‘advocacy’ for ‘democracy’ is negatively impacting Uganda’s economic wellbeing, for example.
Rational analysis, moreover, would conclude that it is logically impossible that Dr. Besigye bears no responsibility whatsoever for the negative consequences from his altercations with the Uganda Police. Dr. Besigye is no saint. The basis of his campaign is defiance. Those who defy often end up breaking the law, intentionally and sometimes unintentionally.
Saintly defiance, akin to that of Dr. Martin Luther King, is not necessarily the kind that Dr. Besigye is up to. His is more like “me, me, me, I was robbed to become the President of Uganda”, very egocentric like.
No doubt, if Gen. Muntu had been the FDC Presidential Candidate, FDC and the opposition would have gained a lot more governance power and leverage from the 2016 elections. There would have likely been more opposition members of parliament elected to be part of the 10th Parliament. There would have likely been more opposition chairpersons of districts elected.
After all, it was Gen. Muntu’s strategy to work in collaboration with other opposition political parties. This was not the case with Dr. Besigye’s campaign, which was as egocentric as his previous three campaigns for the Uganda Presidency, which he also lost.
From Dr. Besigye’s 2016 campaign, one fails to deduce the “new leadership style” espoused in the FDC’s Leap Forward. No doubt, if Gen Muntu had been the FDC Presidential Candidate and he would have lost the presidential election he would have handled it differently. He is a responsible and an elite leader with style.
Featured photo: Hon. Alice Alaso and Gen. Mugisha Muntu of FDC