By Norbert Mao
Let’s start with a tale. A simple tale. Crocodile married Hare’s sister and took her to his home across the river. One day Hare paid a visit. While there he also stole and ate all the eggs Crocodile had laid leaving only one.
In a casual conversation Crocodile said he needed to count the eggs. His dutiful brother in law offered to count them for him. Hare would keep showing the one egg he had preserved to dupe Crocodile. One…Two…Three…
Crocodile was content. All his eggs were safe. After all his trusted brother in law had counted them.
When time came for Hare to depart he stole even the one last egg. He bid farewell to his sister. Unable to swim, Crocodile had to carry him across the river.
Mid way they heard a cry from Crocodile’s wife. A heartrending song:
“Nyang, Nyang, Nyang
Bol Apwoyo i pii
Apwoyo omoko tongi…”
(Crocodile, Crocodile, Crocodile
Throw Hare in the water and let him drown
Hare has eaten your eggs…)
Crocodile could not clearly make out what his wife was saying. He asked his brother in law to relay the message.
“What is my wife saying? In there something the matter?”, Crocodile asked.
“She is saying you should swim faster because a storm is coming”, Hare lied.
The dutiful Crocodile obliged.
When Hare was safely ashore and out of Crocodile’s reach, he pulled out the last egg and showing it to Crocodile boasted:
“Amoko tongi nyong…”
(I have eaten your eggs with impunity and I have no remorse…)
Uganda is faced with the unintended consequences of impunity. One man rules the country for ten years without elections. He gets elected under a new constitution and when constitutional term limits stare him in the face he cajoles and bribes the legislature to remove it. Later, the age limits threaten to end his rule. Again he coerces and bribes parliament to remove it. The last safeguard against life presidency went down. It was the height of impunity.
Things have now spiraled out of control. It has brought unexpected consequences. Even the emergence of Kyadondo East MP Robert Kyagulanyi can be explained through the law of unintended consequences.
The NRM candidate for that constituency lost but didn’t concede defeat. He won a court battle forcing a by-election. That opened the window of opportunity for Kyagulanyi to win a parliamentary seat. Looking back one can imagine the regret the NRM has wishing they hadn’t insisted on claiming that one seat. Without that by election, Kyagulanyi wouldn’t have happened. At least he wouldn’t have happened so soon.
Then came the notorious Magyezi Bill to remove the presidential age limit. Kyagulanyi, now an MP took the lead to resist the bill. He was a frontliner in the scuffles with the Special Forces Command members who invaded parliament. That confrontation distinguished Kyagulanyi pushing him to the fore of his peers. He stopped being just another MP. If the Bill had not been tabled, there would have been no fight and perhaps Kyagulanyi would not have acquired the reputation of a combative legislator sparing no effort to resist a bullying regime.