In 49 B.C.E., Julius Ceasar together with his 13th Legion crossed the Rubicon river in an act that was considered aggressive and qualifying one for the ultimate punishment; the death penalty, under Roman law.
The Rubicon is actually a very small river, call it a stream.
However, it was symbolic of the civilian rule of Rome and in a bid to guard Rome from being overrun by powerful generals and their armies, the death penalty was declared on any who would cross it.
By marching with his army across the river, Julius Ceasar had made a point of no return.
With the full knowledge of the consequences of such an act, Julius Ceasar said,
“Alea iacta est”; “the die is cast”.
To cut the long story short, he conquered the city, the senate fled and he took over the city. Neither him or his soldiers was executed!
On Saturday, 6 June, renowned activist made a political statement on her Facebook page ( Stella Nyanzi) that has taken the opposition debate on social media platform by a storm.
The post makes a modest proposal on the very dicey subject of unifying the opposition forces in Uganda.
The suspended Makerere University research fellow asked questions in her post that opened up an unprecedented debate on “how” unity would look like for the opposition,
In her own words, she said,
“What if Bobi Wine was President and Kizza Besigye his Prime Minister?
Is this as improbable as many think? What would we lose as the opposition in Uganda?
I know that each of these two opposition leaders already has a cabinet of power brokers working in their respective People Power and People’s Government.
Some of these power brokers vehemently oppose a merger because they fear that they may lose both position, power and proximity to the apex of governance in Uganda. But what if these cabinet members focused on the greater good of first redeeming Uganda from dictator Museveni?
The boundless youthful energies of Bobi would be infused by the wisdom and mature experience of KB. All of us in the opposition would win…
And to this bombastic leadership at the helm, I would add Mugisha Muntu as Vice President, Norbert Mao as Speaker of Parliament, Peter Walubiri as Chair of Constitutional Review Council and Miria Matembe as Cabinet Governor.
We need to radicalise and unite the opposition for revolution against dictator Museveni! What is more radical than this united opposition? This would be a main departure away from doing business as usual.”
We all want unity in the opposition. Many Ugandans in the struggle believe that a United front against the junta is desirable and long overdue.
All of us are optimistic about a “United Forces of Change”.
Infact before their failure, we were all enthusiastic about platforms like the Inter Party Coalition (IPC) or ever The Democratic Alliance (TDA).
We know we need unity and a single, strong opposition candidate facing off the dictator.
Where we have however always had issues agreeing is who that candidate should be.
We always talk about UNITY until the part of what sort of unity comes up. None wants to be heard discussing this.
Somehow we leave that to the Godber’s of this world to negotiate for all of us any appropriate way and announce a magic outcome!
Habemus papam (We have a pope) is seemingly the pronouncement many Ugandans would rather wait for.
We are like millions of faithfuls gatherred with veneration with all eyes on the central balcony (loggia) of St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican, overlooking St. Peter’s Square waiting with controlled breathes for the protodeacon to make the announcement that we have a leader!
We have been faithful enough in the past and sometimes we have been rewarded with black smoke and other times undesirable smoke!
But still, we are willfully avoiding the conversation of what is going on behind the high walls, what is the conclave considering?!
Which Cardinals are vying, what are they promising each other?
All we want is the announcement – WE HAVE A POPE
What Dr. Nyanzi has done is to give us an open invite to the Vatican, and not only to stand in the Square waiting for the announcement but enter the basilica and engage directly in the conversations of the Cardinals in the conclave.
This is the kind of uncomfortable discussions we have all been avoiding for a very long time now.
Okay, we saw Chairman Mao with other opposition figures endorsing JPAM in 2016 but what was in there for them, and most importantly, for us.
A breakfast meeting between Bobi wine and Dr. Besigye captioned “greetings from this side” causes so much joy it ends up on statuses of more than 95% of the contacts I have with reassuring captions like “stronger together” , “United forces of change” , “year of action” depending on the inclination of the person.
The internet was at breaking point when the People’s Government and the People Power movement issued a joint statement.
I am sure if there was a press conference with Mao, Basalirwa, Kyagulanyi, Besigye, Muntu, Walubiri and the reason for the presser was to announce that they have been meeting secretly and they have agreed to a single opposition front with a single candidate, even before they tell us what their choice is, approval ratings would break the ceilings!!
That would be the only news that could equal or outdo the joy of “Hajji Aganbyeeee”, in our opposition.
THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE CHOICES
To be clear, Stella Nyanzi is not making directions to what should be the opposition strategy on unity.
She however has been consistent on the need and urgency for the unity and universal discussion of the kind or nature of the unity.
When I shared Stella Nyanzi’s post on one watsapp forum and sought a discussion, a colleague vehemently made a case against the Kyagulanyi,
“The President is the fountain of honor. He literally presides over everything that happens in the country right from the legislature, judiciary and public policies. You can say that the president presides over the economy.
He’s the chief minister of finance. Because he will choose judicial officers, then he must be well acquainted with the law. He will enact the economic policies. At least he must have the considerable knowledge on that”
Ofcouse I do not blame my comrade for having such an awesome expectation of an all powerful, all knowing authoritarian figure as the ideal representation of the Presidency.
He has been conditioned to believe that systems and structures like parliament, the judiciary, ministries, departments etc are all pawns on the chessboard of a Godlike being. They must never have authority or autonomy outside what that person derives. This is part of what is up for challenging.
Quite enough has been spoken about Stella Nyanzi’s choices for president and Prime minister, I would rather not add more!
In her hypocritical ranks, the research fellow speaks to Hon. Nobert Mao being the Speaker of parliament, this requires Mao to be a member of parliament first and for the opposition to have the majority in the house to pull off the election.
The importance of having a pro people speaker who has a strong conscience is very important if we are to move forward into a democratic society that we all desire.
Such a proposal should lead us to examine all available models for taking over majority in parliament starting with the DP Block one on one model proposal of Regional representation of the opposition .
This strategy, could enable change seeking forces to support and campaign for one Opposition candidate against an NRM candidate for numerous electoral positions at the Presidency, Parliamentary and local government level.
There shouldn’t be a reason why Hon. Mbidde should be contesting with Hon. Mpuuga in the same constituency.
Should Hon.Munyagwa, Hon. Kazibwe and Hon. Ssemboga be tussling in the same area?
Should Ssenyonyi even be considering putting out Kabaziguruka??
Or should Saasiraabo and Nyanjura be vying at Makerere when Mitooma and Kyenjojo are still under NRM capture?
Stella Nyanzi suggested Hon. Peter Walubiri as the chairperson of a constitutional Review Council. Counsel Walubiri represents a category of citizens who have stood for truth and integrity in this very dirty system.
Nyanzi recognises a need for looking into our mother law that has been raped and abrogated for the purpose of establishing a life Presidency over us.
Her vision is that such should never happen again and that in our plan for a new Uganda, we must think about guarding ourselves through established law! When the Akena’s of this world were compromised, it is the Walubiri’s that are salvaging Mzee Obote’ party.
Why is none talking about this..
Miria Matembe is the symbol of truth and reconciliation, rediscovering a national conscience and transition who who we were to who we ought to be. There should be a person to ask about what happened in Kasese in the Omusinga’s palace, someone must seek truth on reports about murders of Ugandans that have have gone unseen, dig up the “mass graves”! What a task for the cabinet Governor.
My thinking is that the vice Presidency of Dr. Stella Nyanzi’s cogitation is one that is powerful enough to cause social-economic reforms, lead national dialogue not the shadowed lives of the vice presidents we have had.
A William Ruto not Edward Ssekandi.
THE NAYSAYERS AND THE WRONGLY OVERZEALOUS
Stella Nyanzi seems to have a deep appreciation of the task ahead if this unity discussion is to happen in the first place.
There are those that are very comfortable with the status quo and therefore would rather have it remain.
Small gods in the opposition whose muse is the struggle! They will actually proudly tell you that their life is dedicated to the fight against the junta, shocking! What if the junta is defeated today, does that life end?
We must now look forward to a uganda without dictator Museveni.
We are in the struggle for the ultimate liberation, not just for being in the struggle.
Some even go ahead to make jokes that it is not about the positions but the war against the junta; the same are position holders and have appeared on quite a number of ballot papers seeking positions.
We ought to be honest with ourselves so that we can engage in this very inconvenient conversation. We are in the struggle to libetate power from a military dictatorship for the benefit of the people. We are struggling for positions so that they are used for the benefit of the people who go to the ballot to exercise their constitutional obligation of exercising their sovereignty and not just a few gluttons who are wiping our coffers dry and clean without shame.
We need power to influence change, democratic change.
None of those raising dust over the discussion on “positions” has resigned from theirs or declined to swear in on their small posts in defiance and or solidarity after a rigged general election.
I don’t believe in the rhetoric that Stella has betrayed Dr. Besigye who stood by her through thick and thin. I however think that we are continuously being selfish and dishonest.
We have not come to the bonfire with the enthusiasm, honesty and a decisiveness to talk about what is in for all.
“If both Bobi and KB died of Covid-19, would Uganda’s opposition fail to unite against the people’s enemy – Dictator Museveni? “
The writer is an activist and politician