The NUP camp is on fire after Moses Nkonge Kibalama, the man who “sold” the party to Robert Kyagulanyi Sentamu alias Bobi Wine, made a u-turn to take back his party saying that the latter failed to stand by his word. Kibalama says that they reached a US5 million (Shs18.5 billion) deal with Bobi Wine to make him the party president but that the terms had been violated thus deciding to repossess what originally belonged to him.
Kibalama reported that for a long period of time, the Bobi group has been threatening him after failing to adhere to the memorandum of understanding made during the transaction. For some of us, this development was not surprising although we were busy doing other things. What is done in darkness eventually comes to light. NUP’s change of hands was shrouded in too much secrecy and for us who have studied social trends and how certain tendencies die hard, we knew that a rift would come up sooner rather than later.
Inexperienced people believe that they can always use others and get away with it. Right from his days in music, we would hear members of his crew come out to complain that they had been shortchanged and underpaid or unpaid for their services while the band leader continued to amass wealth. Then there was the Busabala land saga. When it came to politics, every now and then we see and hear someone quitting the Kamwokya base complaining about meanness or mistreatment of one kind or another.
Then, while it is on record that Bobi Wine received some kind of “endorsement” from Dr. Besigye who inspired him in defiance, in June the two men reached an accord to form “united forces of change”. They announced it as their new vehicle to drive out NRM. We didn’t hear from them again, only to learn that Besigye was stepping back from elective politics and Bobi Wine was taking shelter under the NUP umbrella. This development meant that the two political activists had taken advantage of each other and lacked commitment and trust.
Today, when you objectively observe the political sphere there are enough symptoms of bad blood between them as they fight for opposition supremacy, a war that their supporters are fighting at a higher level than their principals. These supporters will soon realise that they are being used and that the people using them are unserious and can’t pose a real threat to NRM, nor can they deliver a genuine change in governance, social character and the culture of human-to-human dealings. In fact, many realise that NRM is the wall between Ugandan society and a crop of leaders who will sow corporate dishonesty, vulgarity, treachery, violence, mass deception, cultural devastation and occultist fundamentalism.
Back to NUP, which was formerly NURP: at the time when Kibalama and Bobi Wine purported to have reached a deal, there were members of NURP who opposed the move and said NURP was theirs and that they had been illegally left out; they went to court. I don’t know how or if that matter ended. However, for a group that claims to stand for and promote the rights and good of Ugandans to leave a trail of complainants in their wake is a sign that they are up to no good and cannot go far in their aspirations. NURP members are complaining; “people power” members are complaining; the true owners of NUP are complaining; can Ugandans trust such a team of unreliable “liberators” to offer standard leadership.
Worst of all, they are now dragging President Yoweri Museveni’s name into their disagreements. Was Museveni there when they were discussing their business? Why would Museveni have interest in an upstart party when he his mass NRM party? If they want to join him in NRM, there he would listen and welcome them, but to claim that he has a hand in their wrangling over a “nonexistent” outfit is laughable. What is NUP’s value on the political stock exchange?
While it is not clear who is taking advantage of the other, Kibalama or Kyagulanyi (both descendants of Kintu), if Kibalama says he wants 5million dollars, what is the truth about what was agreed? Where was the 5million dollars expected to come from? From foreign donors who have since been hit hard by Covid-19 and can’t, therefore, bankroll the deal, or is the money being hidden somewhere in a vault in Kamwokya or Magere? Whatever the facts are, keep Museveni’s name out of the circus! He has work to do.
NUP should resolve its matters before it is too late because they are about to damage the careers of established and upcoming leaders who recently crossed over from elsewhere.
The big lesson is that shortcuts in politics are deadly. That is why Museveni chose the difficult, protracted path to get where he is; that is why Maj. Gen. Mugisha Muntu spent time building is ANT party from scratch. It is his party; nobody is contesting its ownership because it is original just like NRM is original. Bobi Wine should lie in his bed of thorns which he has laid since he can’t listen to wise counsel.
However, if it is established that Kibalama is in the wrong, he too should lie in his bed of thorns.
The author is a Presidential Assistant in Charge of Media Management