Political Chiefdom Eroding Uganda’s Chance To Achieve Meaningful Transition

Isha Otto Amiza
Isha Otto Amiza

By Ishaa Otto Amiza.

While we continue to follow the general elections in Kenya , it’s important to reflect on the Democratic proofs within the region.

Following the contest between Raila and Ruto one is bound to believe that, when a Country builds a political party, or institution , it’s always likely that, a successor will emerge from within the hierarchy of a given party or institution, which would never bother a sitting President to look for a wife or son to succeed a vacating President .

In Kenya and largely in Tanzania, it became a very easy game to identify a succeeding President within the ruling lot/party, without the strongmen of the two nations, Nyerere and Kenyatta getting worried of who among their family members would succeed them. That’s why during and after the demise of Mwalimu Nyerere , Ali Mwinyi, Benjamin Mkapa, Jakayo Kikwete, Pombe Magufuli Bulldozer and now H.E Suluhu could just make thier way through to Presidency without any national crises.

Succession of power does not become a matter of life and death or a very big debate, instead the system built within the political institution makes a man or woman to just emerge to carry forward the duty of Presidency without a worry to the nation or the military getting involved to intervene to install a ruler.
No doubt everyone knows how powerful Mwalimu Nyerere was, but as you may imagine no any member of his family has ever been at war or conflict with Chamacha- Mapenduzi and Tanzanians of power .

It was therefore not any debate or struggle for Madam Suluhu to succeed the powerful Magufuli through the Constitution, because both CCM and Tanzanians knew how Constitutionally power transits, when a President dies or resigns.
In the case of Uganda , everyone is worried when a President dies or is removed by the barrel of the gun.
When a political system is built as an institution with guiding regulations ( constitution), what’s
important is for one to prove him or herself within his or her party or Country, no matter which lineage you hail from.

In Kenya, it became a comfortable opportunity for Arap Moi to succeed Mzee Jomo Kenyatta, as it was for Mwai Kibaki to succeed Moi in spite of efforts by Moi to try to undermine democratic institution in Kenya. None the less, succession could not be avoided through democratic means. From Mwai Kibaki, there came Uhuru Kenyatta and now any among Raila and Ruto is poised to succeed Kenyatta and indeed this is a trend in a democratic transition within the party and the Country.

It’s never a worry to Kenyans to get stranded with who comes next since there are eminent alternatives ready to carry forward the governance of the Country. No need for Kenyatta to think around his wife or son or nephew or causin. If a member of a family is rising to lead the nation it’s through a struggle and hustle from within your party or the nation using your own charisma not based on family promotion or uplifting like it appears in Ugandan politics.
This is what solid and progressive democracies have succeeded on building strong political party and governance institutions that work for all regardless of who you are.

In the two major political parties that have ruled Uganda, UPC and NRM, the story is the same. For UPC ,since Obote- founded it in 1958, it has remained a family Chiefdom. Obote- led his party until his demise in 2005 and couldn’t be succeeded by any one else except his domestic wife. Subsequently after Miria Obote, the son has never believed that UPC is a national party free to be led by a non-family member. The same as things stand, applies to the ruling NRM/A under Gen. Museveni.

There is completely no system in NRA group or in the governance Constitution that creates a process for democratic Constitutional means to stop Gen. Museveni and foster transition because all the stop gaps to cause transition from one ruler to another, provided for in the 1995 Constitution like term limits and age limit, were all removed through a mockery parliamentary procedure.

Uganda must therefore, deliberately work towards democratic institutions in order to achieve lasting and sustained political democratic transition other than remaining captives of family rule.

The author is the former MP/UPC POLITICAL ACTIVIST.

Tags : Ali MwinyiBenjamin MkapaMwalimu Nyerere


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