The ruling National Resistance Movement has never been in a better position four months before the general election than it is today.
This has nothing to do with Patrick Wakida’s latest poll results that gave the incumbent President Yoweri Museveni a superior 47% advantage over Kizza Besigye’s 17% if polls were held now.
Rather it is mostly to do with the sense of unity and tranquillity that the ruling party in the party as seen by the high degree of loyalty to their leader not seen in past elections.
Remember 2016 when Amama Mbabazi threatened to use the NRM party instruments including the membership register to the advantage of his Go Forward outfit.
This time, there is none of that, thanks in large part to the skilful stewardship of the party by its chairman President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni.
Museveni’s genius can best be seen in the way he avoided an open outburst between him and Speaker Rebecca Kadaga in the early weeks of the Coronavirus outbreak when she rebutted the President’s criticism of the dishing out of UGX20m to MPs.
The no-nonsense Kadaga hit back by announcing that the government didn’t have the moral ground to question or even direct her around when they were busy distributing rotten beans and expired milk. Many hoped Museveni would fire off with an ugly rebuttal but he chose unity which is paying off.
That said however, the sense of unity in the NRM is only as useful as long as the opposition remains disunited, which could also be a sign of ingenuity on Museveni’s part.
As the Alliance for National Transformation (ANT) President Rt. Gen. Mugisha Muntu commented while on one radio station this week, it is not that the government is good in terms of service delivery, but rather that the opposition has proved bad at uniting to dislodge it.
The emergence of the Kyaddondo East MP Robert Kyagulanyi’s National Unity Platform (NUP) two weeks ago has deepened anxiety and divisions within the opposition with the effect that forging unity has become ever more difficult.
Observers argue that parties appear to have abandoned the most important task of fighting for the removal of Museveni, and have now descended into a selfish fights on who having the most number of representatives in Parliament.
The fight over numbers in Parliament among the parties, is said to be inspired again by the little money that comes with the number of MPs that is accorded to each party by the government depending on the number of MPs that each party has.
This is perhaps the factor that is motivating NUP leaders to abandon the original idea of forming alliances with other political parties under the People Power Movement, to now towards the unilateral path in which it is demanding that whoever seeks their support, should be card-carrying member of the party.
This has already caused a clash between Bobi Wine and his erstwhile closest ally and JEEMA president Asuman Basalirwa.
Also, it is believed that some of the members of DP block, who announced they had joined the People Power Movement, shortly before NUP was announced, are on the verge of backing out.
The MPs including DP’s Medard Sseggona of Busiro South, say they are still loyal to their parties.
Also, as we have seen with ANT and NUP in recent days following the declaration of MPs that they had crossed over to the two new parties, the leadership of the two parties rushed to Parliament to register their presence, perhaps as a ticket to start cashing in on the government money.
The flexing of mussels among the parties, in view of rewards that will come with the leadership of the Opposition in the 11th Parliament, is likely to further jeopardise meaningful cooperation in the coming weeks when they are supposed to make hard decisions on for example withdrawing a candidate in constituencies where a rival more powerful opposition candidate is contesting the same seat.