Raging shouts of “Kabaka Yeka” are all over Uganda these days although its next year national elections are due.
Depending on which sides one embraces, the shouts may be like early morning prayers for an event which is far off…at least for now.
Adding to the tango, the arch rival of current President Yoweri Museveni, Dr Kizza Besigye was recently plucked from the opposition fold to run against the Ugandan leader in the upcoming polls.
Besigye has been a thorn in Museveni’s flesh in the last election and independent pollsters said in hushed tones for fear of being harrassed that he came close to ending the Ugandan leader’s political life.
But as one can imagine, this is Africa where its a chance in a million for an incumbent to be tossed out of office.
In all spheres of life in Uganda, Museveni, who has been in power for 24 straight years, is nobody’s play station.
Ironically, Besigye was the President’s physician until they fell off the rails.
The cause of the fiddling between the two once close pals remains a secret and as Ugandans, tired of trying to know what had gone behind closed doors, has reduced the sound and fury between the two men to a joke.
They chat in pavement cafes and beer halls saying’ guess that even the wives of the two men don’t know why they are at each other’s throat like the lion and the unicorn.
What is certain though is that this time, the build up to the election has started and it would be unsafe to bet on a credible winner.
Both parties are strengthening their political scaffolds. Museveni’s National Resistance Movement (MRM) is already sending political strategists into areas suspected to be Besigye’s Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) whose supporters are mainly unemployed college graduates, medium ranked workers and tramps.
The FDC is campaigning underground, sources said as it is yet to early to open up and not violate the electoral laws.
It is riding on the wagon of massive unemployment, insecurity especially in the north where the brutal Lord Resistance Movement has killed hundreds and marched dozens of students into the bush as rebel conscripts. The party is also targeting corruption particularly the alleged fraud involved in the Commonwealth Heads of State summit held in Uganda three years ago where millions of dollars were siphoned by ministers, the Ugandan daily newspaper, “Vision” contended,
If no damage control is done, the issue can shake the fabric of both the ruling party and the government itself.
The Ugandan Parliamentary Accounts Committee has recommended that the Vice President and some of the ministers be charged with corruption allegedly interfering with the ender process for vehicles used during the summit.
But these ordeals remain a Jack and Jill story. They pale when compared to the worsened relationship between Museveni and the Kabaka (king)/
Over the years, Baganda was a prestigious entity in Uganda with a King whose poliitcal clout can unseat any democratically elected government.
In the days of King Frederick, such was his power that no one can say he had been to Uganda without a stopover in the King’s palace.
Now the current Kabaka, Ronald Mutebi is calling for a return to the federal system of government, a call bringing fits to the Museveni government.
Up to the parting of ways between Museveni and the Kabaka Museveni drew large support from Buganda. Now that certainty is not there. With the support now dissolved like instant cream milk, Museveni’s game plan can be a move to infiltrate the opposition and work out a kiss-of-life rescue package with splinter groups to gathered scattered votes to see him through.
To do this, he would have to draw the carpet from under the feet of Norbert Mao, chairman of the Golu Local Council and one-time UN Under-Secretary-general, Olara Otunnu.
These are the front liners whose presence would force Musuveni to readjust his political gear while there is time.
What has fretted most Ugandans from Museveni, once the darling of western aid donors, is the frequent accusation of turning Uganda into a family affair.
He braved the wind by appointing family members to high offices.
His son, Lt. Colonel Muhoozi Kainerugaba heads the presidential Guards, Mrs Museveni is a cabinet minister, Even the security firm, Saracen Uganda guarding Uganda’s latest wealth, the oil fields, is owned by the President’s brother, major-general Salim Saleh.
Many relations are in controlling postures in the government leading many Ugandans to condemn what they said is neo-nepotism.
It is tru that Museveni has been a rallying figure but that was yesteryears. Things have changed and leaders will remain worthy leaders if they march to the tunes of changing times and everyday life.
Some Ugandans claiming to know the heartbeat of Museveni said there is a strong possibility that the Ugandan leader is keeping his political onslaught under wraps until election time draws nearer.
What could add to Musuveni’s ego is the discovery of oil in Buliisa on the northern shores of Lake Albert.
And even then, there are already hiccups. Chief Blasio Mugasa, the Omukama or King and his community are demanding to know what agreements were reached between the government and the oil companies of Tullow and heritage.
It is rich picking containing two and four billion barrels with a lifetime of 25 to 30 years. Annual oil revenue could top the 2 billion dollar mark.
For the upcoming election, the oil attraction could become a campaign topic as to how the money is being spent.
Daggers are drawn between the Banyoro people and the central government on what is perceived as little or no benefit going to the community.
Museveni would have to dust off his acts to remain relevant to today’s demands.
It matters most to keep the peace in that part of African though. Like the Ugandan proverb warns; one is not expected to depend on dew for water.
By Rod Mac-Johnson