Uganda: Are We Witnessing Beginning of End of Establishment Politics?


The trend of non-establishment politicians taking political leadership of countries is now manifest enough to attract our attention. My information, picked from international intelligence traffic, is that international strategic actors are taking more than normal interest in this trend. This trend represents a clear threat to 'the political establishment' as we know it. In established democracies, non-establishment political actors may give way after 10 years (two terms). The constitutional and administrative limitations imposed on the political leaders may hamper the implantation of the disruptive idealism always associated with the non-establishment leaders.

However, our fear is that in less democratic countries like Ugandania or Zamunda, it is very difficult to predict what an unconventional political leadership would turn into. Our experience with Mr Yoweri Museveni is instructive enough not to trust leadership that purveys the notion that they are 'not politicians, but leaders'. In the leadership of Ukraine, USA, Madagascar, Philippines and the United Kingdom, we have a coterie of heads of government political analysts would describe as non-establishment and rank outsiders.

In Uganda's Parliament, there are people (would you call a man like Mr Kato Lubwama a politician?) who lack any background in any political orientation and disposition. These people even lack the minimum human skills or resources (divine endowment) to appreciate, least said of representation, popular views.

Their value in Parliament only lies in voting on motions that government has selfish, parochial and vertical interest in. One would not mind government having vested interests in a parliamentary Bill, but most of the Bills in which these people associate with by voting always border on acts of fascism.

Mr Joel Ssenyonyi (the People Power spokesperson), is quoted as referring to People Power as a social movement. Well, Mr Ssenyonyi, some people in People Power may be harbouring espousal to the ideals of a social state (like the Scandinavian states), but there is nothing social about People Power. Most of the People Power leaders are merely positioning themselves for political leadership roles.

People Power is basically a 'protest of the informal sector' against establishment politics. However, we would like to invite researchers to help us to find out how many people from the informal sector (ok, in music and the arts) are gracing our honourable Parliament. And oh yes, how much contribution they have made on parliamentary business. But this question should be placed on the table bulunji: What (or who) is responsible for the trend of non-establishment political actors taking national leadership? We may not appreciate why the people of Ukraine voted for a comedian. But for Uganda, the tell-tale indicators point to Rule Musevenia.

Mr Museveni acquisition of power was through an unorthodox means. And as the leader of the polity, most of his acts (in the administrative management of the State affairs) have always been non-conventional. Mr Museveni's poor administrative management (for my good upbringing and politeness, let us say his 'unconventional ways') has weakened State institutions; the consequence of which is endangering establishment politics. This has attracted political outsiders like Peter Ssematimba, Judith Babirye and Kato Lubwama to national politics.

For more than 33 years, the administrative traditions and processes that made the State, have been eroded slowly to the extent that one of the national leaders was once quoted as saying he would not mind MPs who sleep in the chambers so long as they will vote for motions in his favour. But the biggest political blame we place at Mr Museveni's door step is the enabling of a situation where political leadership is or has become some kind of formal employment thereby even attracting target workers.

Establishment politics is endangered; and the state too.

Mr Bisiika is the executive editor of East African Flagpost.

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