Beatrice Anywar’s Self- Dug Political Grave
Double- think, wrote the English writer George Orwell in his classic ‘‘1984’’, is to ‘‘to know not to know, to hold two simultaneous opinion …knowing them to be contradictory and believing in both of them’’.
Kitgum Municipality Member of Parliament Beatrice Anywar stunningly voted for the removal of article 102(b) from the constitution to allow Museveni to potentially rule for life. It was an act of double- think from Anywar.
The uproar in the aftermath of Anywar’s voting were indicative of her position not being representative of the views of her constituents of Kitgum municipality.
Anywar herself seemed stung by her own voting, muttering shortly after voting that she had voted for the restoration of term limits when the vote was primarily about removing the age limit.
Term limits was struck off from the 1995 constitution in 2005 for Museveni’s convenience because it blocked him from seeking another term in office after hogging the maximum two -terms( 10 years ) then allowed by the constitution.
Like in 2005, in 2017, parliament which is now essentially a Museveni tool used to give a semblance of acceptability to his raw ambition and monarchical ambition, was used.
The ‘‘age limit’’ drama before parliament was electric. It left many Ugandans confused. Some didn’t even know that term limits had been restored because of the usual NRM red herring tactics.
Through the Red Herring approach, the NRM simultaneously introduces multiple issues of intense public interest to tire, confuse and divert public attention while keeping an eye on the prize. In this case, the prize was striking off the age limit. The rest were just escorts.
Despite the removal of the age limit by parliament which puts the upper age cap for anyone who wants to contest for president at 75, surveys have shown that the removal is unpopular, opposed by 75% of Ugandans.
In 2005, Ugandans were also opposed to the removal of the term limits. However, in both instances, President Museveni’s increasingly dangerous and endless appetite for power prevailed.
Appetite that kills a man & woman
The statement – ‘‘the death that will kill a man begins as an appetite’’– is attributed to the late Nigerian literary great, Chinua Achebe.
Most African dictators have fallen because of their exceeding appetite for power which makes them unable to see their countries beyond themselves. Yet those in power like Museveni are completely powerless to appreciate that their appetite is driving them into a ditch. For Museveni, Uganda has always been an animal he killed in Luwero which he wants to eat without being bothered by vultures (read opposition).
NRM strategists and praise singers have spotted this weakness in their King; they are feeding into it by arguing that Uganda still needs Museveni because Uganda is a unique country with unique challenges which needs a leader with unique qualities, qualities which they croon, only Museveni has in this country of close to 40 million people. It is a stupid argument, of course, but it’s the kind that nevertheless is sweet for the aging ears of the tyrant. The truth is NRM has to a great extent been able to bring ‘‘peace and security’’ in Uganda. But equally true is that the much-touted peace and security is now also an insecurity and a risk to the long term future of Uganda because of an unclear post Museveni road map.
Double- think meets greed
Beatrice Anwayar, it is a public secret, is a woman who has eaten in many political houses. She cut her teeth in the opposition Forum for Democratic Change (FDC), hobnobbed with ex-Premier Amama Mbabazi’s ‘‘Go Forward’’ then quickly whizzed back to Besigye’s FDC then became an Independent. Now she’s dangerously perched on the paws of a Leopard.
In a trip to Kitgum close to two months ago, Acholi Times casually sampled five voters for their views on Beatrice Anyway. All had an unfavourable view about her. The five are not an adequate sample for a representative survey sample by any standards, but their views still offer a sneak peek on the world that awaits Anywar if she contests in 2021.
It is difficult to imagine anything other than money and hopes of a ministerial as the main motivator why Beatrice Anywar dug her own political grave by voting for the removal of the age limit from the 1995 constitution which now is a shadow of its former self, thanks to selfishness and greed of the ruling NRM members of parliament and political dogs of war like Anywar.
Long public secret now public
Journalists, political watchers and odd characters who eke a living delicately wedged between the NRM government and the opposition have for years known that Beatrice Anywar has a back channel to President Museveni. And she is not the only one. Museveni, despite his weaknesses and greed for power, as part of his strategy, keeps the door open for recruits who can work to serve his personal ambition. Anywar fitted the billing for a recruit; an unprincipled peddler and dealer with a weak ideological grounding and a desperate desire to be minister
In her cold calculations, Beatrice Anywar may have figured out that she benefits more from pegging herself to an old aging dictator than to the poor voters of Kitgum municipality who trusted her as their representative to parliament. Her act was the highest betrayal of voters by a leader for which Anywar should expect severe punishment.
Another leader from Acholi who should expect punishment is Catherine Lamwaka, the Omoro woman member of parliament. Helplessly squeezed between her polygamist husband Major Gen Charles Otema Awany (Lamwaka’s is one of the newest cogs in his long snaking line of wives) and Museveni’s raw ambition, Lamwaka chose her husband and Museveni and not the voters of Omoro. But she is not the subject of today’s piece. So, we will leave it there for today.
Is there light at the end of a dark Uganda tunnel?
Every time a dictator falls in Africa, the standard response from fellow dictators still clinging on their crowns is to quickly point out from the comforts of their palatial mansions how the circumstances in the fallen dictator’s fiefdoms is different from theirs. But that’s mainly because dictators don’t know when it’s over until it’s over. When Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe fell, NRM court jesters competed against each other to make commentaries on radio, TV, newspapers and online that ‘‘Uganda is not Zimbabwe.’’
Museveni is no longer an appealing figure as he once was. He is a man of the past who can still in many ways determine Uganda’s future. In his trajectory of both his life on earth and his ruling of Uganda, he peaked long time ago and is generally on his way down. The forces pulling him are gravitational. His responses such as the removal of the age limit are counter measures against these gravitational pull-down. In the end, like all tyrants, he will lose the war unless it dawns on him that he’s on him that he is no longer Uganda’s future, even if he can still determine the country’s future.