The launch of Ssuubi has caused tremendous excitement. Spearheaded by young and energetic former Buganda government officials and more importantly, two former Buganda Prime Ministers, one of them a former NRA officer and Museveni’s early Special District Administrator, Ssubi could represent a change of heart for one of Museveni’s most trusted constituencies, the Baganda.
The Ssuubi honey moon has been short lived. It has been branded another KY, ostracized and even physically attacked by a faction of DP, and demonized by NRM apologists. Buganda as usual is being intimidated for taking a political stand that is different from Museveni’s. The timeliness, relevance and impact of Ssuubi is evident from the enemies it has attracted, in just days.
The Baganda are expected to be only used, to sing praises for the ‘great visionary leader’. Each time they state a categorical demand, they are threatened with all sorts of propaganda themes. So who is a good Muganda? A good Muganda, it seems, is one who supports the regime’s corruption and nepotism. A good Muganda should not have an opinion on Temangalo, or CHOGM or the NSSF scandals. A good Muganda is one who does not care whether CBS was closed or not, and does not care to know who really caused the hundreds of thousands of deaths in the Luwero triangle.
This is the time for Buganda and indeed other politically and economically exploited and impoverished nationalities like the populous Iteso, Basoga and Lugbaras to seek redress using the 2011 election. They ought to assert themselves and to ask intelligent questions about their political and economic situation without apologizing. They just have to vote Museveni out if they are to have a future of prosperity and equal opportunity. To do so, they have to organize themselves, at the grassroots, to vote intelligently.
Ssuubi is just one of the several pressure groups that have been established since 2008 but not as publicized as Ssuubi has been, often as a matter of strategy. Many more Ssuubi’s will be established to complement the work of political parties which, by any standards are still very weak after the 20 year one party rule of the NRM. One such group the National Alliance for a Free and Fair Election, NAFFE, that has already organized ordinary citizens in Mbale, Soroti and Lira, regardless of political affiliation. They just want a fraud free election.
Political change cannot be delivered by the so called registered political parties alone. Wherever real change came, whether in South Africa, Serbia or in Chile, it was a culmination of efforts by civil society, anonymous mobilizers, anonymous fund raisers, professional fundraisers, religious groups, farmers’ organizations, teachers Unions, professional unions, Bar associations etc. the so called registered political parties, even when they all unite can not cause change on their own. How many registered members do opposition political parties have in Uganda?
It is the coordinated and even uncoordinated forces of change that will cause change in Uganda, and many of these forces will not be out rightly political. They will organize their lot…fellow business people, fellow nurses, fellow drivers… who desire political change.
Ugandans should be ready for more groups to emerge if Museveni’s regime is to be democratically defeated by the people. The millions of people yearning for change, will form their own pressure groups everywhere. Then will organize. They don’t need a licence to defeat a dictator, nepotism, corruption, or impunity. They don’t need to be seen on TV or to beard on radio. Others will be underground. The sacred secret ballot will decide. What if the ballot is stolen? Organized groups don’t let their ballot to be stolen. They make arrangements well in advance to prevent it. They also make plans to defeat election rigging, before, during and after the election. That is what is called civil vigilance.
It is the political parties that reap the rewards of political change in the end no doubt, because they are the ones who have “licence” to wrestle power. In South Africa, contrary to what many believe, change was delivered by the United Democratic Front, a coalition of political parties, civil society groups, trade unions, neighborhood organizations Church groups, Muslim groups. It was not the ANC. It was not Mandela. Mandela was the illustrious symbol for resistance.