Today, Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine launched his political party, the National Unity Platform (NUP), which will be an umbrella to the People Power Movement. The Political Party of the Pressure Group. That is why his statement is important for his next move ahead of the General Election in 2021.
Well, just like do others, I will do to Bobi Wine. I will look into what he says and drop my thoughts after it. It will be the most important pieces of the statement. Here will not be the whole statement, but some snippets of it and then discussing it. Because, that is the play of looking into it.
He started with this: “When we started the People Power Movement about three years ago, we had lengthy discussions about whether or not to register a political party. Our analysis led us to the conclusion that it was both untimely and impractical to form a political party. In any case, we were alive to the fact that the regime would foil any attempt to register People Power as a political party” (Bobi Wine, 22.07.2020).
I am sure the team and associates around Bobi Wine has discussed what to do and how to go forward. They had to find a way to be a legal entity and not just an idea. The Pressure Group would work for independents, but could be put into question over time. Also, the idea that the authorities wouldn’t accept People Power as a Party is most likely true. It would be shocking if they would nod to it and give it go. That would have been a healthy, but anticipating something else is naive.
As he continues: “As you all know, our message has been Mission 2021. Right from 2018, we have been telling all of you to ready yourselves for the 2021 election, because we believe that together, we can and must use that election to overwhelm and remove the dictatorship” (Bobi Wine, 22.07.2020).
It’s right for him to have this ideal and hope that he can conquer the NRM and the President with an election. However, that has been impossible since 1996. I have hard time believing anyone would unsettle and send Museveni packing over the polls in 2021. There is a need of a revolution and of defiance/civil disobedience at levels that has been unheard of. If the PPM and NUP uses that, then they can have hope for change in 2021. If they act like all the others before them. Then they will be beaten down and it will amount to nothing.
He continues: “And so, a few months back, when we predicted that we would find ourselves in this situation, we embarked on finding a solution. We set out to silently identify a Platform which we would use to answer this question. Although many political parties and organisations had reached out to us, our first and most important criteria was to look out for a formation which shares our values, aims and objectives. And there are many which do, but there was a political organisation whose message and objectives rhymed well with those very close to us. In order to make the message even stronger, in July 2019, we went ahead and successfully changed the name of this political organisation from National Unity, Reconciliation and Development Party to the National Unity Platform” (Bobi Wine, 22.07.2020).
I have a feeling that since its inception and seeing how hard he had to battle the authorities in his Kyadondo East By-Election. He knew this would be hard. So, I am sure the situation was that from get-go in a way. However, it sounds better just thinking a few months back. Not thinking from the start and knowing what happen early in the journey as a political active person.
I know the whole Republic is grateful that it landed on NUP and not NURDP. The last one sounds like a bad government program with foreign funding. So, they have had this in the making for a while. By this statement they have worked on this since last July and reveals the new party a year later.
He continues: “Therefore, today I stand here to announce to the nation that we are unveiling the National Unity Platform as the political wing of the People Power Movement. The National Unity Platform is a political organisation duly registered with the Electoral Commission and our symbol is an umbrella” (Bobi Wine, 22.07.2020).
I still find it funny that his calling it the political wing. It is the political party and the other is the pressure group. Both have their political agenda and foundation. They are registered different, but has the same goals. Just like other CSOs can campaign for a political party, even Unions can support a party and a candidate, but that is political, but they are not a party. The same is the difference between the PPM and NUP. The umbrella is just a fine feature, as so many other parties have already picked their symbol. The NUP had to pick something. Umbrella is fine, it stops the sunlight, rain and tear-gas. It is a nice thing to have and is a useful thing.
He continues: “Finally, I know there are those who may ask themselves where this leaves comrades and fellow leaders who belong to other registered political organisations. Friends, we are People Power. In the coming days, we shall embark on the process of formalising the People Power Alliance. The People Power Alliance shall be comprised of different political formations which we have been working with and those that will be willing to join us. Formal engagements with many of these brothers and sisters have already been ongoing and they will continue” (Bobi Wine, 22.07.2020).
Here is another swift change of events. Not only launching the NUP, but the People Power Alliance. I don’t know if that is consideration of the United Forces for Change (UFC) with People’s Government (FDC based) or the other party members associated with the People Power Movement. The PPM is already established and has its significant place. As a home from all parties and people who want change. To make it into an alliance. Is just, if I may, making the umbrella bigger with PPM, NUP and PPA. It is consortium of organization under the same banner, but you need soon a own lingo dictionary to be sure how to address it correctly.
The NUP and PPM would have been sufficient, unless he wants some more mechanisms to keep everything in order. However, with the addition, he might scare away some who is not into the cause and only used it for a political bargain along the line to elections.
The final quote: “In our case, we have consistently said that we are a non-violent movement and we have no plans of establishing a military wing. What we are doing today is to launch a political wing of our Movement so as to ensure that our mission to use the election as a strategy within the liberation struggle succeeds” (Bobi Wine, 22.07.2020).
We are seeing that the PPM and NUP are not planning to pick up guns and try a coup d’etat. Which is a healthy stance, not repeating the sins of old and trying it on a new generation of people. Using the same means the dictatorship came in and hoping not end up as the new one.
His hampering on the political wing, which for me seems weird. That is his prerogative. Because, at what point does the PPM loose value, since its only NUP whose political? When all policies, all people attracted to the PPM and not to the NUP. Many might turn into NUP as their haven and destined party. However, the PPM is the shuttle, the place where everything started and the Movement who gave way to NUP.
I still don’t see how the NUP and PPM will use this up-coming election to overcome the junta. The current day regime, by using the same tools its predecessors have done. The only thing different is its Bobi Wine and his cadres. It is fine and dandy, the flex and the ability to gain popularity. However, it is not like Besigye didn’t get popular too and was driving on a coach through Kampala before the last election.
So, I have hope for Bobi Wine, the whole People Power, but through an election. I doubt for change, for positive difference and actual getting rid of the ones besieging the state. No, they will not be beaten over the ballot. It needs something more powerful, something got to give and by playing the same rules as previous opposition. You will just turn into the same ills of the past.
Bobi Wine deserves better, everyone following him, deserves better, alas the state and the NRM is unforgiving. There will be costs, harm and pain. I don’t see anything else ahead. He needs proper tools, support and a machinery that has to blast the NRM to smithereens and I don’t see that yet. Peace.