By Mugisha Muntu
For a while now, we have laboured to explain our position regarding the politics of our nation. And while there are many that have come to understand our stand, there are still many that don’t. This is to be expected, for our journey of a thousand miles has only just began. So today, I would like to discuss this at some length.
There are some that view our country’s current problems as emanating from one person, that is, Gen. Museveni. They contend that all efforts should be focused on removing him as soon as possible.
Our view is that while this may be an honest and well-intentioned approach, it will not solve our problems. Uganda has been independent for 57 years now. Over this period, we have had more leaders come and go than we care to count. Each new leader came with the promise of changing our politics for the betterment of the people, only to turn out like (or in some cases even worse than) their predecessors. Merely changing leadership therefore, cannot be the answer to our problems.
We contend that our problem is the kind of politics we engage in. The kind in which the people are duped to focus on the individual flag-bearer instead of the policies they stand for. The kind that insists on focusing on the presidential candidate rather than the LC1 councilor.
As a result, our political system is such that people will fight to the death to support their presidential candidate, but have no clue what issues the said person stands for.
This is the problem.
If someone is voted in on the basis of their personality, how can you hold them accountable on the basis of what they have achieved or failed to achieve?
Ugandans must reject the notion that their options are limited to choosing a player to support or that their leaders should be focused on who has the ball and who is to be tackled. We must question the entire game! What does it matter who has the ball or who is tackling who, if at the end of the day, none of the supporters benefits from the game? We can no longer allow to be mere spectators in a game that should be about us!
The recent efforts by like-minded politicians should be seen not as an effort to defeat one player or the other, but as an effort to change the game altogether.
The Alliance refuses to play the personality game. We refuse to think of Ugandans as mere pawns to be used in support of personal ambition. We are focused on ensuring that our politics serves the people, not the leaders.
To achieve that, we must focus on the local councils. The villages and the communities in which we live. We must get people focused on serving their communities to contest, regardless of party lines. We must redefine politics, not as a game, but as a duty. One in which every Ugandan has a part to play.
This strategy is long. It is frustrating at times and does not get the quick fifteen minutes of fame that our current politics does. But it is the only way we will transform our country. Once we have a majority of Ugandans asking their leaders what their plan for the community is; once we have our local communities putting their shared interests before ethnicity of the candidates, then we will have a situation where it really doesn’t matter who steps up as a presidential; because the people’s demands will be clear. And their LC representatives will be focused. And MPs will be at the mercy of the people, not the president. And those at the top will have no choice, but to put Country Before Self.
That is what we stand for as The Alliance. And we will continue to work with other pro-change forces that believe like we do, until we not only change the players of the game, but change the game itself.
God bless you all.