An article by Minister of Presidency and Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA), Hon.Frank Tumwebaze titled “Gen. Tinyefuza using scapegoats to launch Political ambition” in some Ugandan dailies has generated a buzz in the social media. As expected, some of the responses to the article are partisan, diversionary and sensational. Innuendos like “leave issues of Generals to Generals” are dominant and central to arguments of those that don’t want to address themselves to the issues that the Minister raised.
Minister Tumwebaze was talking to the generation that should embrace civility and democratic puritanism in order to ready themselves to take the mantle of leadership from the Independence and Liberation generations. With the journey, progress and pitfalls we have encountered as a people (and thanks to those who sacrificed and continue to do so – and particularly so, those who have put their experiences in books and other forms of record), true, we should learn from history, appreciate history, but – we must not be trapped in history. We must move forward to perfect our Country and the continent of Africa.
Minister Tumwebaze benchmarked some intellectual and ideological leaders of our time like Hon. Nobert Mao and Late Brig. Noble Mayombo (RIP). I agree with him. You may for example disagree with Hon. Mao’s positions and sometimes pokey views, but it is always a pleasure to listen to him. When Brig.Noble Mayombo died, chills covered Uganda. You did not have to agree or know him in order to like him. His silver tongue studded with policy commentary and sharp ears awed some us. He excited and inspired us with his intellectual curiosity and agility.
The young leaders that Tumwebaze mentions in his article are iconic, visionary and inspiring – and they gave those of us who watched or studied them a sense of hope, purpose and a reason to get involved. I, for example, engaged in deep conversation with Brig. Noble Mayombo in early 2006 on why Uganda’s economy should be private sector led. He argued that we should let private businesses and individuals do as much as possible because since they risk their own funds; they have a much stronger incentive to invest wisely. He also argued that private individuals and businesses are more likely than state bureaucracies to abandon unsuccessful ventures. He affirmed that the role of state as a regulator is important. I left the discussion convinced about Uganda’s economic strategy although I now think that too much capitalism can leave many people behind and be less inclusive. Perhaps one of the things we should start a discussion on is inclusive growth and the level of involvement the government of Uganda’s should pertake in economic consolidation and prosperity.
It not enough for anyone to issue threats or engage in blackmail and mere sloganeering - but rather make a case for public policies and ideas that can make all of us succeed. Gen.Sejusa, through his previous letters, commentaries and ‘leaked correspondence” (whoever leaked the document remains a mystery!) – has not been talking policy.
The core argument that many commentators and people in the social media seek to push under the carpet is that it's not about fighting Tinyefuza or anybody perse’ but it is about advocating for a sanitized political environment where logic, meritocracy, persuasion and policy options reign over scheming and maneuvering.
The master of political maneuver in our history was Uganda Peoples’ Congress (UPC). Old stories are told of how UPC had 99 tricks! Where is UPC now? Do we want to go back to Twariire politics of Uganda Peoples’ Congress? Our generation will be at a loss if we allow those to be the rules of the game. Can we stand up to jointly advocate for clean politics? Politics of trickery, scheming and sloganeering will no longer pass as an acceptable form of debate in this Country.
I believe what Ugandans are most hungry for in politics right now is authenticity – and that cannot be presented through overt or covert scheming but rather through ideological depth and sober articulation. Ultimately, we should trust the judgment and decency of Ugandans and abandon assumptions as conveyed by wider media that maneuvers and maximalist schemes will shift the political base away from the National Resistance Movement (NRM).
Uganda is ready to turn the page. Uganda is ready for a new set of challenges – and a new generation is ready to lead. Is Brigadier Muhoozi part of this new generation? Yes, he is an accomplished citizen of Uganda with an equal right and shot- just like all of us. It is impossible to crowd him out because of where he was born or to whom he was born. We are all born equal and free, with equal opportunity to make the most of our lives – that is a creed and an ideal we must all individually and collectively seek to accomplish. We therefore need to take civility in politics seriously and engage all people in the larger project of transforming Uganda.
By Morrison Rwakakamba
Coffee farmer – Rukungiri.
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