At the beginning of the is week it was reported that Kizza Besigye talking to his party delegates in the eastern town of Soroti, revealed that progress towards talks with the government were in high gear.
That the issues to be discussed were, among others, the audit of the last election results and a post NRM Uganda. And that the Swedish government was set to play the mediator in the talks.
President Yoweri Museveni beat Besigye handily in last year’s elections and a petition against his election was dismissed unanimously by the Supreme Court. The NRM has an overwhelming majority in parliament.
"Attempts to mobilise the masses a la “walk to work” demonstrations of 2011 died on arrival. In the latest contest between the country’s two largest parties, the NRM engineered the failure of the FDC to send a representative to the East African parliament.
With this one stroke they let the watching public know who is boss while at the same time spreading dissension in the opposition ranks...
A cursory analysis suggests that Museveni and his NRM are holding all the cards in this battle of wills.
That the NRM would even entertain seating around the table with FDC to essentially give our away its advantage could only mean one of two things, but not both.
One that the NRM’s stranglehold over the political process was actually not as conclusive as we were led to believe. And they know it. So they are trying to buy themselves some time either by suing for a ceasefire with FDC or at worst forge some sort of alliance, also intended to buy them some more time at the helm.
The second possibility is that there were no talks to begin with and that this was just a play by Besigye to keep that agenda in the public eye.
A perfectly legitimate political manoeuvre.
A sluggish economy, the recent drought and now a host of plagues to our crops that threaten the livelihood of millions of Ugandans, could be a basis for the perception that the NRM does not hold the confidence of the people like it did before.
One could even drum up the recent high profile murders as a sign of the end of days for the NRM.
Who knows what sentiments are simmering under the surface in our bars, funerals, weddings and other social gatherings?
There is discontent but it would be stretch to believe that it is about to boil over and sweep Museveni and his NRM into the dustbin of history.
In 2002 when Kenya’s then President Daniel Moi was letting go of the reins of power and anointing Uhuru Kenyatta as his successor there was a lot of relief and people cold not wait to see the back of the professor of politics. There seemed to be an overwhelming feeling, so think in the air you could cut it, that if there had been a choice to vote between a jerrycan and Moi, the latter would have come in a distant second.
We shouldn’t forget that Moi had not won the majority votes since 1992 when multi-party elections were reinstated. He had previously had the constitution amended to allow this to happen and prolong his stay another decade.
Even with his well-oiled, state funded campaign machine Moi knew he could not win a 50+one majority at the polls.
The point is that if the NRM were suffering severe weakness it would not be missed, hard to ignore.
"But as pointed out earlier, it is legitimate political tactics to seek to sow doubt in the population’s minds. But there is only so much you can achieve with this until the led demand tangible results...
The opposition and FDC in particular, need to get organised if they are to have any chance of forcing the NRM to the table. Organisation will bring the numbers, the sustained noise and the pressure that a dominant NRM can pay attention to.
No number of Hail Mary passes will get the opposition to the Promised Land unless they can back up their rhetoric.