What options do NRM supporters have?

20 Apr

By Stephen Twinoburyo


This was my pondering during one of the online debates I was engaged in:

After reading the recent posts, I have been thinking, really thinking.

There has been so much pressure on Mat from the debaters here because he agrees that some things have gone wrong but maintains that he would want to remain within the NRM and criticise it from within. After looking at the above correspondence and reading Mat’s submission, some questions have come to my mind: what political systems do we want in Uganda, what do we want to happen to our parties especially the NRM that is in power now, what do we want Mat to do and is there a possibility that he can play a positive role within the NRM? These are genuine questions I have pondered upon.

I don’t belong to the NRM and don’t expect to join it but why I ask this question is, do we want the NRM to disband or the NRM to reform? If we want the NRM to disband, is it the culture we want for our parties or do we want it to begin with NRM? I note that UPC which was extremely loathed was able to reform and come back as a born-again party, is it then not possible that NRM in or out of power can be reformed? I think the biggest problem with the NRM now are the players – like Museveni and some of his people. If the bad apples came out of the NRM, couldn’t the NRM possibly reform? Parties like the ANC have gone through great changes, including throwing out leaders that were deemed to pull the party down, and Mandela came to prominence within the party as a youth because he led a move that cleaned out disfunctional and retrogressive garbage. For instance if I am not happy with the way Obama is running the US, would I want the democratic party dissolved or a change of leadership? Or should the Republican party have been disbanded after Bush’s blunders? There were surely many within the republican party that were unhappy with Bush’s handling of office.

This then brings me to Mat, and other ‘independent thinkers’ that may be in the NRM. What role can they play within the NRM? Couldn’t they be the drivers of change within the party? I think that’s what people like Mat are saying. So my other question now becomes, is quitting the NRM the only option available to NRM supporters than may think the party leaders are not doing well or can these people be drivers of change from within? But then, if they are to be drivers of change, looking at the ruthlessness and craftiness of those that wield power within the party, can these ‘independent thinkers’ manage to push the change?

I think now my thinking has stopped again. I will take a break and think again later.


Posted by on April 20, 2011 in Stephen Twinoburyo's blogs


4 responses to “What options do NRM supporters have?

  1. Godfrey

    April 20, 2011 at 18:31

    Stephen, the issue you raised in your wordpress blog is pertinent. The bottom line is that the NRM is the most extensive party at the grass roots, much like UPC and DP during the 80’s. But even if UPC resurrected, it needs a popular mass cause to revive its capacity to become a social vehicle of reform. NRM has a chance to reform itself, but am saddened that with M7 and the same inner circle at the top, including the historicals in the army, its futile to expect NRM to reform itself. This is really important given the fact that any attempt to articulate the ideology of NRM is ignored by those who should know it.

    NRM in reality doesn’t have an ideology that can be traced. It initially had a marxist leaning, but with time that evolved into a neo capitalist society, and finally it is taking the form of a monarchy, with ultimate power vested in the first family, with the attendant in fighting that goes with it.

    While I can credit XXX with the attempts to propose constructive criticism as a viable discourse in NRM, the reality is that that is just an illusion. It is not normal that there is no one who has leadership ambition for the top NRM post, except M7. This means that the inner circle idolizes him and unconditionally accepts the leadership, or is too cowed to raise their heads. KB tried and we see him being bundled daily on pick ups. AM will find his fate on the back of a pick up if he articulates his desire for the presidency. While NRM supporters will talk of internal democracy, the same election ills that plague Uganda were revealed in the NRM primaries. The rigging that took place in the NRM primaries is quite indicative of the lack of democratic mechanisms therein. NRM is M7, as revealed in the internal incapacity to have renewal at the top, and the unconditional acceptance that M7 has the vision for NRM and Uganda.

    Uganda is a hostage of NRM and as such will not tolerate democratic institutions or internal democracy within either the political parties or public service.

    My take is that NRM will fold up like Mubaraks NDP when M7 leaves power. And NRM will fizzle out and die, like UPC. NRM has become a blight on the political landscape and history of Uganda just because NRM has not promoted democracy, even with their political dominance. And all those who are next in queue like AM and OO should not waste their time, since NRM will not exist without Museveni. At the very least, Janet Museveni and her ilk will engage in a shoot out with all other presidential aspirants, in the proverbial palace coup fights. Wonder who will draw first blood and be the last man standing in such a shoot out.

  2. Twino Speaks

    April 20, 2011 at 18:45

    That’s a very good analysis Godfrey, thanks. It seems reforming the NRM is not an easy exercise.

  3. james

    April 20, 2011 at 20:27

    Godfrey took words out of my mouth I don’t see how NRM can survive post M7. Internal struggle for power would tear it apart. What is holding it together is the crambs off mzee’ we kikofira’s table. Ask Eriya Kategaya, who against his conscience is in NRM. Unlike UPC that was able to resurrect NOT be borne again I don’t see who in the movement can resuscitate a collapsed NRM. Would be it Jannet, Eriya Ktegaya, M7 brother or son, Amama Mbabazi, Mahogany Bukenya who was once pursued by mafias? Kutesa recently said he doesn’t like the headship, or would it be mike mukula? Name one you think would hold the ‘monster’ together. UPC always had men that would ake up the mental and take it farther.

  4. Twino Speaks

    April 21, 2011 at 08:32

    An email discussion I had with somebody:

    Stephen, you are in SA. You dont want to delve into the mind and character of KB, to see him for what he really is.So why risk your reputation defending him,or demonising M7?

    Is there injustice in the country? Sure. Is there grand corruption? Definitely. Have services such as health, roads, agriculture, trade gone to the dogs? Could govt intervene and lower taxes on fuel? Absolutely.

    You see stevo, you write articles. But write with more facts, less personal sentiments. Protests happen. Senators in the US were arrested for their walk,because they were disturbing the peace.
    For crying out loud, dig up some real issues and write. How different are you to Ugandan scribes and columnists who do not dig deep and just write anything,just for the sake of a pay check at the end of the month?Look for Daily Nation Newspaper of Kenya, Newsweek magazine, The Wall Street Journal and you see what I mean in comparison with whats written here.

    In negotiations, parties deal with people they can work with. Unfortunately, those rallying behind KB to agitate for their rights, have not understood the nature of negotiating with a power. You do not send your father in Laws enemy to ask for his daughters hand in marriage. You send his friend as a trojan horse,get the daughter,then tell dad to deal with it!


    Look, I really have nothing to gain by defending or tolerating Museveni. I see Museveni as a power-hungry autocrat and nothing more. It is a stand that I am not going to change and yes, I cannot hold a gun but my bush will be the keyboard. I will support all causes that aim to see Museveni out because he is not helping Uganda at all but rather supporting his small corrupt elite.

    I am not an apologist of Besigye and would not have voted him in the last elections because I was not fully convinced about some of the issues he presented but I sympathise with him in this case and would probably vote for him if he stood today. I cannot start demonising Besigye when I clearly see that the danger is Museveni. I wish to see that man answer for his deeds on Ugandans. The links I provide on my wall is information that others have gathered and the opinions others have made of him. Those who benefit from him understandably don’t see this.

    I will only make sense to supporters of Museveni if I write praises of him. There was a time there were such promises but they are no more. It’s like being asked to praise Amin. Amin was clearly a danger to Ugandans and it had to be said. I have to say the same about Museveni, he is taking us back, if not already, to the days of Amin.

    There has not been any fairness towards the walkers in the way the authorities have engaged with them. Even if they wanted to demonstrate, it was their right. Only if they broke the law, then they would have been held liable. here we are not talking about the law made on a stool in Rwakitura as the cows are setting.


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