Politics, at the best of times, is an unpredictable game. Next year promises to be a vintage one for Uganda and a pretty unstable one too.
Let’s start with dictatorship nature of our governance, all dictators remain in power for many years and this comes as no surprise. With the general election coming, one thing we can be sure of is that our politicians will be more stressed than they have ever been. So that’s something the rest of us can look forward to.
Here are few things that might happen in politics in 2015:
- There will be a general election next year. Which no-one will win, believe so with the oppositions coming together under one umbrella.
- There will be a second general election before the year is out and before it gets too cold, so maybe September or October. No-one will win.
- As a result during 2014 we will be governed by two different parties in various combinations, and one, possibly two, different prime ministers. You can imagine any combination you wish. It will make no odds to anything important.
- Because no-one won, the new governments won’t be able to do much anyway. This will be good because new governments tend to make mistakes. It will be bad because the financial markets, oddly, do not realize this. They will calm down in due course.
- Whoever is in government will have to listen and pay heed to the wishes of Museveni, though probably smaller than the current hype suggests. The Pro-NRM will be of low calibre, prove an embarrassment every time they try to make a speech about the deeds of the party and become a laughing stock. His party will, by the end of 2016, implode under the sheer weight of its own ridiculousness.
- Everything will be swamped by the MP sex fights circle and associated scandals. Such organized abuse of power will make them look small. The voters, already scornful of politicians, will demand reform, though what, precisely, that should entail will remain vague. Some MPs will be forced out.
- Electoral reform and proportional representation will be back in vogue. Having seen random hung parliaments emerge from our first past the post system, the electorate will instead demand rational, logical hung parliaments, to come from a PR system.
- M7 will implode under the sheer weight of his own smugness.
- By this time next year someone we have never heard of will be prime minister. It usually turns out that way.
In a democracy, Mr. Museveni would have little hope of surviving as president past next year. The government’s ruinous economic policies have caused shortages of basic consumer goods and medicines and a sharp rise in inflation and poverty.
The government may hope that the spectacular arrest of one of the opposition’s leading figures will spark violent demonstrations like the subsequent elections. They helped produce a temporary upturn in NRM plummeting poll figures. Opposition get warned against falling into such trap.
But there is a risk in responding too timidly. If that happens, opposition supporters, many of whom are already skeptical that the government can be voted out of power, may be harder to mobilize at election time.
And so, if the elections take place at all, which I believe the government is prepared, if all else fails, to declare a state of emergency and suspend the constitution. Evidence is growing that NRM will do whatever it takes to hold on to power.