The Whole Country Is On sale; Museveni Is The Sole Buyer

Morris Komakech

This weekend was an embarrassing one for the two-faced Opposition. They must be walloping in humiliation with the revelation by their chief-buyer that they sell and buy cheap in the political market, like vegetables.

The cheapness of our Opposition is a matter of interpretation. It reveals the outcome of social transformation under the three decades of NRM corrupted rule. Mr. Museveni has previously applied numerous tactics, including doling out brown envelops, but most effectively, through political appointments to extract from the midst of Opposition, their most tenacious cadres. That is how he purged life out of DP in the early 90s and sucked the living hell out of UPC recently.

Characteristically, when Museveni fails to woo opposition characters, he jails them and even capitulates some from a productive economic lifeline. The economic alienation makes this country so unequal in wealth distribution, such that corruption became the natural means to equalize. Uganda has transformed into an economy where corruption is a means of production for many. Those privileged to own opportunities to steal public resources are at the top of the food chain. Many of them ally with the regime solely to safeguard their loot, while the NRM uses their “success” stories to entice members of Opposition.

Without any competitive buyer, the monopoly holder naturally sets the market price of goods. Where the supply of “good conscience” becomes too much, the price naturally falls. It has fallen to a low point where a mere lavishing of his targets with praises such as “good or better member” of Opposition can win him such an Opposition leader, cheaply.

The confusion over who pays better is even worse among the youths who should be flashing out this absurdity. The 2016 general elections brought out the worse among the youths – the Poor NRM Youths vs the jobless brotherhoods. They oscillated between Amama Mbabazi’s camp and Museveni camp, looking for who pays higher. Politics to them is for eating; wellness of society is reflected as an aggregate of economically well off members in this money nexus.

In contextualizing Mr. Museveni’s mockery of Opposition, one needs to understand Museveni’s innate contempt for multiparty democracy and rule of law.  The Opposition has demonstrated little understanding of the exploits of a Multiparty Political dispensation in that sense. Some expect Mr. Museveni to “allow” them to operate. Museveni’s mission is clear – finish the Opposition by 2021. The revelation of cheapness of Opposition therefore is a blow to opposition credibility and further to undermined multiparty politics.

On its part, the Opposition unconsciously or consciously plays to the tunes of the Piper. The Opposition obeys every draconian law; lack ongoing agenda to engage electorates until the time of elections; exhibits too much in-house treachery – betrayal and snitching that goes unpunished; lack ideological identity or policy preferences distinct from that of the ruling regime; and consistently fails to demonstrate the ability to offer an alternative government.

As such, the Opposition is confusing to the electorates and youths because the only difference between NRM and the so-called Opposition appears to be the briskness of their leaders. Opposition is not about hatred, envy, ignorance and the drive to remove a regime. It entails a systematic organizing to form an alternative government in the waiting and to produce alternative policy framework to push society forward. In that sense, the Ugandan Opposition is atypical, unconscious, and unprincipled.

Not only Opposition politicians are on sale in Uganda. The whole country is. From traditional leaders, church leaders, youth, women and worse of all, the NRM carpetbaggers. Even with their numerical strength, the NRM secretariat still buys their MPs to pass egregious laws towards the life-presidency or mortgaging Uganda. If the regime buys conscience from Opposition, it pays heftily for loyalty from within.  The cheapness of the Opposition is not distinctive; rather, it is a continuum of Museveni’s corrupted rule.

Mr. Komakech is a Ugandan political analyst based in Canada. Can contact via