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Age limit debate exposes as one man party

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It is clear now that President Museveni is the NRM party and the NRM party is all about him and without him, there is no NRM. Here is why. In 2005, a referendum was held purportedly to establish whether Ugandans wanted a restoration of a multiparty political dispensation. This was after many years of brutalising and restricting political parties under the Movement System, which was actually a one-party rule.

Having put up a spirited fight , the Uganda People’s Congress and the Democratic Party refused to participate in the referendum well aware that the Movement was too exposed to run away.

These parties mounted political and legal challenges against the one-party rule and coupled with international pressure, President Museveni was forced to save face.

As usual, a dummy in the person of Nelson Ocheger now rewarded with a job in the diplomatic service, was created to legitimise the process.

The NRM sloganeered “agende”..’.let them go’.

Those to go were the multipartysts, who for many years, had forcefully been conscripted.

Many NRMs were duped then to think they had a say. Yet they were wrong.

First they had no stake.

Secondly, Museveni had conceded to the referendum for personal benefit; that under a multiparty dispensation, he would start all over again as though he had not been around for 19 years

It was not about the NRM, it was the individual.

Now members of NRM CEC are crying foul about being left out when such an important decision of amending the age limit is being processed.

Normally, the various organs of the party would have first processed the matter and built consensus. The problem and I suppose the fear Museveni has towards strong institutions in the country, is what he has against a strong NRM party.

Institutions tame the excesses of individuals and hold them accountable.

The NRM CEC composed of citizens who have seen the difficult times Uganda has gone through, could easily have express reservation. And no wonder in a bid to by pass them, the age limit project is now spearheaded by the so-called grandchildren, who barely have a clue of where Uganda is coming from.

When the NRM was formed, we in Opposition complained about the merging of State and party.

We noted the disfunctionality of institutions and now this has caught up with CEC; they now need no proof that they mean nothing and that the NRM is about an individual. KANU was once a mighty party in Kenya, but with the exit of Mzee Moi, the rest is history.

The age limit amendment is proof that Museveni fears that there is no one to carry on his legacy and, therefore, hopes that he can be self-perpetuating.

Thinking that he is the ultimate guarantor for Uganda, and that what Uganda needs can only be done by him. It is more frightening for one who has spent the most of his time destroying institutions.

The NRM is too weak to survive without State funds, the Judiciary has been overtaken by cadres and corruption except for a handful, the police are the most corrupt, brutal and rather uncivilised. The Parliament as we know it has been taken hostage by the military.

The third proof is the role of the President during the eviction of the NRM Members of Parliament opposed to the lifting of the age limit from the party parliamentary caucus meeting.

I wonder if those who remained behind know that you have ceded ground not just to have a different opinion, but also to belong. Next time, on the basis of the same precedent, you too will be evicted

Lastly, is the proposed move by NRM legislators to consult only local leaders. The matters in contention go to the very soul of our country; land and power.

The process that culminated in the promulgation of the 1995 Constitution was very elaborate – spanning over eight years. The ordinary people were so important then that they were consulted. I think all Ugandans should invite themselves and demand to be consulted.


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