March 5, 2012
KAMPALA – A flutter of umbrage seems to surface each time I opine to opposition supporters that Activists for Change lacks the discipline, resourcefulness and alternative narrative to force regime change here.
The panicky pessimism is understandable. A4C is the only (semi-) organized, over-arching vehicle for social protest – in a country where official abuses are growing at an alarming rate.
The silver lining is this trend may soon render the rebel-rousing coterie unnecessary.
As his effectiveness wanes, President Museveni is increasingly resorting to illegal means to retain power. Last month, for instance, he signed an oil deal without Parliament’s approval. He has meddled with the courts and ignored the Public Accounts Committee findings to shield his cronies. He has authorized inflated compensations to millionaires. He has bought allegiance through supplementary budgets that target potential adversaries at the expense of basic services.
Parliament has kicked up some dust. But rather than respect its constitutional powers, the president now says the Constitution must be changed.
This means one of two things: He’ll either successfully amend the Constitution or keep flouting it.
In either case the correlation between Museveni’s will to preserve power at any cost and the country’s moral, democratic and economic disintegration will become impossible to miss, and harder to bear. Resentment will grow.
The outrage will demand vital new arteries of revolt.
As it is, A4Cs failings have fed the sense in this eagerly apathetic nation that, We’ve tried everything and nothing else can be done (a face-saving refrain that above all masks a collective cowardice and laziness). Reaching a breaking point would challenge this disempowering investment in “reason” and make reform less dependent on a top-down clique with tired methods and suspect motives.