By Amb. Henry Mayega
Ugandans, in retrospection, know that whoever sets our national standards higher than the bar, most especially when it comes to the maintenance of our country’s peace, security and stability stands to win the general elections. And this is not without a background; it's an uncomfortable lesson to the haters of peace, one that requires us to accept that some peoples’ norms are simply fluid, that in our case expectations do not simply shift, they are based on a candidate’s past and present valor.
Prior to the advent of the Yoweri Museveni administration in 1986, we were environed to accept the debilitating and ignominious insecurities from which we were delivered by his safe pair of hands. Ugandan voters, therefore, will not, as they have always done, gamble and choose, in 2021, someone who plays by renegade rules of remonstrations like defiance, riotous protests, and walk-to-work.
A survey of the opposition’s pack that is seeking the office of chief executive officer of Uganda shows none has what it takes to effectively secure the country in a volatile region bedeviled by insecurities. The western neighborhood simmers with countless insurgencies pulling in all directions just like the northern one. The southern unhinged neighborhood that, in this age closes its borders with us to the detriment of East African integration, calls for tested leadership which Yoweri Museveni does not lack.
Kiiza Besigye and Bobi Wine in tow, while enjoying their crowded political canvass, have so far unknowingly christened the opposition as a chaotic assortment hell-bent to stampede national progress. They have exhibited a general lack of knack to meld their jostling constituencies; they assume that by shouting from our capital’s bully-pulpit of the central business district that will supercharge their political batteries. From there, the public conversation will definitely take the usual course: Yoweri Museveni’s over 30 years of explicable public commission and a record spanning two centuries, a period of immense positive social-economic and political change are the reasons for his impeccable national and international standing.
His administration, though faced with the challenge of a generational divide, in which a rising cohort characterized by its diversity and exigencies, it has done the most in terms of advancing the youth agenda; that needs to be methodically explained: a burgeoned economy since 1986 has offered countless jobs especially in the private sector, youth representation at all political levels has churned out national leaders in droves, the youth livelihood fund has led to the massification of youth managed small businesses, etc.
The opposition’s mixture of paled fortunes and bravado which makes their rank and file punch above their weight deludes them to become politically rabid; some like Kiiza Besigye who has kept a stranglehold on that sector and Bobi Wine, a “Johnny come lately,” cannot measure to the high standards set by Yoweri Museveni and that disarms them to a point of playing dirty through riotous protests and social-media-mongering. Such fiendish posturing may be politically satisfying and expedient but it comes with a cost; the Ugandan voter who loves his peace is sick of paralyzing polarization. This is why the Kiiza Besigye-Bobi Wine couple as compared to Yoweri Museveni is only moonlight by the latter’s sunshine.
Ambassador Henry Mayega
Deputy Head of Mission
Uganda Embassy, Beijing, China