Some folks are beaming with happiness that with the election of Dr Kizza Besigye, IPC could take shape. Pole. Some are hoping that all opposition parties will come together under IPC and help the opposition to do to YKM/NRMO what NARC under Mr. Mwai Kibaki did to KANU. Again, pole.
But is that the case? What are the facts?
NARC came together after well thought meetings between Mr. Kibaki (DP), the late VP Mr. Wamalwa Kijana (FORD Kenya) and Mrs. Charity Ngilu (SDP). These were the originators of NARC or events that led to NARC. Mr Kibaki had the backing of the GEMA community solidly behind him.
The late Wamalwa Kijana had the backing of the Bukus0largest Luhya groups) behind him, while Mrs. Ngilu had a significant support the Akamba. There is no question that the three were in total command of their respective parties and had fanatical supporters to die for them
UAH folks should ear in mind that by the time NARC was forming, Mr. Raila Odinga had taken his party to join KANU in return for two ministerial positions, Him as energy minister and Dr Adhu Awitti as Planning Minister. The three amigos in NARC continued to toil in search for opposition unity.
It is true that only after Mr. Moi has shown his choice and marshaled the Rift valley delegates along with GEMA delegates to vote for Mr. Uhuru Kenyatta did Mr. Odinga, Mr. Musyoka, professor Saitoti and others realize that KANU had its ‘owners’ and to his credit Mr. Moi told them to their face.
They left KANU and went to join the three amigos, who welcomed them under the NARC banner. NARC’s Mwai Kibaki from Nyeri beat KANU’s Uhuru Kenyatta from Kiambu. Moi wanted to split the Kikuyu vote but failed.
Now compare the situation in IPC. Who are the contenders? Dr Kizza Besigye, a Muhororo from Rukingiri. Dr Olara Otunnu an Acholi from Kitgum and Mr Mao (not keen on this IPC fallacy), Mr. Ken Lukyamuzi a Muganda from Masaka /Lubaga. They want to defeat Mr. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni a Muhiima from Nyabushozi. Please spare me your nonsense that ethnicity is not issue or does not matter.
The immediate question IPC promoters should ask is this: do the contenders above have their ethnicity votes lined up fully behind them? Furthermore, are all the contenders in total command of their respective parties the way Mr Kibaki, the late Wamalwa Kijana and Mrs. Ngilu were in Kenya?
I should point out an obvious anomaly in Uganda and it may actually be the first in African politics that Dr Kizza Besigye is seeking the presidency without have his ethnic community fully behind him! Were he to win, he would certainly go down in history not just in Uganda but the entire African continent for defying the odds of not being the favourite son at home and still win it all. I suppose Ugandans are politically mature and do not care about ethnicity.
The second question is related to the one above. What were the voting blocks behind the 3 amigos in Kenya? Mr. Kibaki had the GEMA vote (Kikuyus are the largest single voting block, while the Meru are quite large). The late Wamalwa Kijana had fanatic supporters among the Bukusu (they split between PNU and ODM in 2007), while Ms Ngilu was loved by the Akamba for daring the presidency and giving them hope and pride to believe.
What is the situation in Uganda today? I do not mean to minimize the other ethnicities but these regions will decide the election: Buganda, Ankole, Kigezi, Busoga, Lango, Teso and Bugisu. Folks, you do the maths. In Kenya these would be the equivalent of Kikuyu (GEMA), Luhya (though they tend to fragment), Luos, Kalenjins, Kamba, and Kisii. For starters, with the exception of the Kalenjin and Kiambu Kikuyu, the rest were fully behind NARC hence the 60 plus for NARC to Uhuru Kenyatta’s 32%.
What is the moral of this story? Proponents of IPC should be honest and admit the obvious, which is the potential IPC contenders have no FANTICAL base. Actually some have no substantial support at home! Which reminds me of Mr. Al Gore, had he won his home state of Tennessee, Florida would not have mattered, he would have become President.
The terrain in Uganda today could not be different from what Kenya was in 2002. What IPC folks forget is that Mr. Moi was retiring and Kenyans were fed up with his selfishness. He is the most selfish leader who destroyed the infrastructure and the economy so that Kenyans would beg him or his cronies for money. That is how he used to win, supply unga here mchuzi there.
Mr. Uhuru Kenyatta had no chance although he managed about 32 percent against combined near unity of Kenya’s amigos.
All indications are that YKM will be on the ballot in 2011, but even senior Ugandan journalists keep writing as if conditions in Uganda are similar to what they were in Kenya. It is the same journalist who keep saying that President Kibaki rigged without bothering to know how he came from behind to win, albeit narrowly. He won because the last 25 constituencies to report were mostly in his stronghold of central, Nakuru and importantly Meru where he enjoyed the most fanatical support.
So let be honest, the conditions in Kenya in 2002 are different from the conditions we have in Uganda today. KANU (BTW it is still the largest party in Kenya) may have been the ruling party but it faced a united opposition with a credible and acceptable candidate to important stakeholders. Importantly, for the deluded folks pushing IPC, the opposition leaders who came together in NARC, the original three plus the late defectors in Mr Oginga, Mr Musyoka, and Prof Saitoti had their parties fully united behind them and above all their fanatical ethnic voters. Again you do the analysis about the contenders in Uganda.
So my dear friends in UAH who are pushing IPC, it is fallacy. Actually comparing NARC to IPC is not proper by any stretch. Why? Because the opposition in Kenya at the time was totally different from the opposition in Uganda. They had Mr. Mwai Kibaki whom the Kalenjin elite knew and could do business with. It was the same elite who worked tooth and nail, although this time without the support of the peasants in Rift valley who mostly voted ODM, (not anymore) to keep Mr. Raila Odinga out of power.
But who does the opposition have in Uganda? How could Dr Besigye who married into one of the most famous and respected families in Ankole fail to gain the trust of the Ankole elite? What happened?
On the basis of fundamental differences between the opposition in Kenya combined with a vacancy in the presidency and what we have in Uganda opposition leaders who DO NOT command the support of not just their ethnicity votes but have not excited the key voting blocks, and running against a hardened incumbent IPC cannot and will not be solution. It is time for the opposition to go back to the drawing board. I will leave it to those pushing the IPC fallacy to decide how.
Of course, it is not over yet, but the opposition in Uganda will have to think smart and strategically than has been the case so far. There is completely no strategy. Hakuna kabisa. They may want to look beyond the current contenders for a messiah. There is one or two such Ugandans right there in Uganda. Yes, it is the candidates who are the real problems for the opposition.