President Museveni. Courtesy Photo
When I saw newspaper headlines on Monday (February 10, 2014), I caught myself smiling. The lead story of the day was that the ruling National Resistance Movement wants the President to carry the party flag and contest for the top job in the land again.
What made me smile was not in the ‘news’ of the day itself, because it has been pretty obvious that the President would seek another term. The sticking point was in how the endorsement drama was scripted and played out on the political stage.
The New Vision headline said, ‘Buganda Mobilisers ask Museveni to stand in 2016’. Note that the key word here is ASK, which according to my word web also means, to request, inquire, demand…
New Vision: Buganda Mobilisers ask Museveni to stand in 2016
The Daily Monitor went with the headline, NRM Caucus endorses Museveni for 2016. The key word here is ENDORSE, a word which can also mean to ‘back’, render ‘support’ to or to ‘second’.
Daily Monitor: NRM Caucus endorses Museveni for 2016
The online paper, Chimpreports went with the headline ‘NRM Caucus wants Museveni for 2016’. Again, key word here is WANT, which also means to ‘desire’, to ‘wish for’ or ‘need’.
Chimpreports: NRM Caucus wants Museveni for 2016
Now, the point here is not in the choice of words the newspapers used, but in the political message the words sent across. See, one can, on the surface say the President doesn’t want to contest for presidency again. It’s the people who WANT him to stand, that’s why they have ASKED him to contest again in 2016, they have ENDORSED him.
Note that in all this, the President appears like a spectator to the ‘begging’ act, which has the most ‘loyal’ one getting down to her knees as though to say, ‘if you don’t lead us again Mr President, we’ll surely all die, it’s only you who can manage this great pearl’.
So, at the end of the day, the President is portrayed as a disinterested party who is being pressed to stand for office again. And even after the Caucus ‘pleaded’ with him to contest again, he has remained silent, so that people like you are me can rumble about what all this means for NRM, for politics, the opposition and the country.
In a few months or so, or even until 2016, the big man may choose to remain silent about what these ‘beggars’ have asked. And before 2016, we’ll probably read about a group of RDCs, some youths, or a person with political ambition petitioning the President to lead this country to the Promised Land. Some might even threaten to sue him if he doesn’t stand again. A minister, I’m told, dangled that threat to sue card in the past.
If we are ‘lucky’, some wananchi might threaten to eat a rat, or actually eat one, just so the president stands again.
And if you go into the details of the endorsement story, the resolutions are even more telling. The Caucus members couldn’t afford to have loose ends, so they bottled all other roaming ambitions by resolving “to discourage some senior leaders within the party with Presidential ambitions from pursuing schemes that compromise party cohesion, unity, breed factionalism, and instead urge them to use established party procedures in an open manner”.
See, politics can be easy after all, especially for those who know how to play the game. Key point is to get good players, and those who can do anything to score a goal for you and get their hands muddy as they clear the path for you, or better still, wipe you clean should a ‘detractor’ spill dirty water on you. That’s politics!
Northern Youth MP Evelyn Anite (kneeling) reads a resolution to endorse Museveni as presidential flag bearer for 2016. PPU Photo
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