By Ortega Iain
People have often wondered; “mbu Museveni is a coward, look at how Bobi Wine has made him shiver from all angles.”
I must say, that is Museveni’s greatest strength. He never underestimates his opponents. He would rather err on the side of over-estimation. Remember the day Mbabazi announced his presidential bid? Museveni cut short his trip and returned to Kampala.
He spent the entire time on the flight drafting his counter arguments. In the evening, he addressed the nation.
The reason Museveni has spent over 3 decades in power is largely because of this ability to respect his opponents.
His opponents on the other hand have always underestimated him. But if you move around in election time, you will realize that in many areas, the opposition did not even have a polling agent. As such, the NRM people usually volunteer to be opposition polling agents during the votre count. Do you realize that these become the areas where Museveni wins by huge margins? As it is often said, vote rigging usually favours the strong. It is much easier to rig in areas where you are strong.
In Kampala where Museveni is weak, other tactics can be employed such as delaying voting materials etc.
The day the opposition begins to recognize Museveni as a strong opponent is a day they can get closer to staging him out of power. Any soldier will tell you that the worst mistake is to underestimate your enemy. If you enemy has 10,000 soldiers, double that number and assume that is the size of the force you’re facing.
So then what should the opposition be doing at this time?
1. Get a solution to low voter turn-out. Most Ugandans just opt out of elections. This helps Museveni but hurts the opposition. It is the neutrals that determine the outcome of any election. These are swing voters. Perhaps they hate Museveni but the opposition hasn’t convinced them either. So they stay home, watch TV or go to their gardens.
2. Figure out how to beat Museveni at grassroots. What if the opposition directed their efforts at taking over LCV, LCIII spots and having majorities at the district. Then they could transfer the same to member of parliament positions and finally they could comfortably claim the presidency.
3. How does the opposition sell a customized manifesto to the voters? You see when Museveni goes to my village in Buikwe, he doesn’t talk about the many dams we are building, he talks about solutions specific to problems in that area. The road he just constructed, the women SACCO that he just funded etc Despite our illusions that Ugandans care about grand things such as corruption, climate change, the average voter is interested in issues that concern their stomach. Most people in the villages do not give a damn about corruption, they just want to have a son from their village as part of the looting cartel aka doing kusaaka for them.
4. Finally, how does the opposition plan to match up to the state machinery? Given that during elections, there is no distinction between government money and NRM money?
That said, we can stick to party after party until the man with a hat develops amnesia, gets overtaken by the wonders of age or betrayed by one of his own. Without solving for the 4 questions, you can only beat Museveni in a Facebook elections. His Facebook page comments of late even reveal that he has become a darling!