It is worth recalling a famous admonition attributed to Martin Niemoller, the great Germany pastor, a public foe of Adolf Hitler. I quote from Martin Niemoller;
‘First, they came for the socialist, and I did not speak up- because I was not a socialist.
Then, they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak up – because I was not a trade unionist.
Then, they came for the Jews, and I did not speak up – because I was not a Jew.
Then, they came for me – and there was no one left to speak for me’.
Niemoller’s warning is relevant because the losers, the youth and the unemployed are being led astray by demagogues into crime preventers.
While the opposition is being dragged further to the right to hold its constituents, the central plank is giving ground and hemorrhaging votes. It is in danger of losing a generation of credibility.
For some, their sly; ‘steady progress’ is a mirror of John Tetzel’s famous slogan deployed to dupe early Christians while fundraising for the construction of St Peter’s Basilica
‘As soon as the gold in the casket rings; the rescued soul to heaven springs’ [so wie das geld im kasten klingt; die seele aus dem fegfeuer springt]
John Tetzel claimed that no repentance was necessary on the part of the buyer in order to obtain the benefit of the indulgence.
Unknowingly, the ruling party also sees no remorse for their staggering performance in its 30 years reign at the helm of power.
Even, their protagonists are short of evidences to demonstrate and justify their quest for another rap. They have resorted to campaigning in poetry.
But, when it comes to issues of governance, accountability, reducing high maternal and child mortality and combatting corruption, they do so in pros.
Unless a progressive agenda of equalizing opportunities for all is instituted, denizens will be too prone to listen to sirens luring the country onto the rocks.
Centrist will join in supporting opposition’s new progressive consensus because they have nowhere else to go. The sooner they join the better.
Uganda is not at ease. Romantic economists say the country is growing and yet it’s stagnating and its economy has been cornered into a few people’s pockets.
Inflation is rife, an additional tax on denizens. Tax exemptions to investors and multilaterals continue to rob the country off its revenue.
A mouth – watering 75 billion shillings is being spent on treatment of VIPs abroad annually. This money can be used to build and equip hospitals and pay health workers a decent salary.
Electorates can consider resisting these demagogues and regain their freedom. They can do this by overcoming their personal fear and vote for an alternative policy arrangement and NEW set of ideas.
As the theologian Kirkegaard put it, anxiety is part of freedom. It is the price we pay for liberty and can be a sign that we have it.
Walter Ochanda, the author is an International Development Specialist