It can be extremely troubling to understand the dynamics, rules and divisions of politics. For one, political dynamics are ever-changing and the existence of rules is debatable, but the divisions are the most intriguing there is to know about politics.
I’ve taken a more nuanced look at the demographic divisions in the politics of Uganda and how these play into the dynamics of our nation. At the end of this column, one should be able to pinpoint exactly where they fall.
The Bigger Picture
The adult population is divided into two groups; the opposition, and those that support the incumbent.
You belong to the opposition if your political affiliation antagonizes the incumbent, and to the incumbent if your political affiliations align with the status quo.
In the following paragraphs, I unpack these two groups to reveal the commonly overlooked detail that makes them. This might call for disagreement, on the grounds that someone could exist without any political affiliation. I disagree, and the nomenclature below should put your mind to ease.
1. The Crowd
This group encompasses all the individuals that speak up, for or against. Those that participate actively in campaign rallies and online political dialogue.
Their political ideas are backed by vigorous action. Bebe Cool and other noisy NRM youths make the cut for this group. For the opposition, this group was baptized ‘hooligans’ to represent those who are ready to risk their lives to take to the streets and set ablaze car tyres in the middle of the roads, holding People Power placards and wearing red berets. They make the loudest noise, but often effect the least impact.
2. The Silent Majority
While this term has been used by the NRM camp to represent their subtle, but rather potent support across the country, the same can be co-opted to describe the opposition.
The silent majority, just like the name suggests, is silent and makes the majority of both the opposition and the incumbent supporters.
Everyone that watches the news to keep-up with what is going on in the country and then quietly slips back to their comfort, pondering how lost their nation has become lies here.
Even one who scrolls through Twitter liking and at best, retweeting the #FreeBobiWine hashtags, offering subtle and covert rebellion against the status quo lies in the silent majority in my book.
3. The Elites
Learned and educated. Degrees and doctorates in commentary. The most accurate analogy I can use to describe them is of that one friend that speaks tons about football, but cannot play.
The Elites prefer to watch the world get torn apart from its core intervening only to give their ‘much needed advice’.
If it wasn’t for the patronizing attitude they express towards ‘The Crowd’, maybe their opinions wouldn’t be so unwelcome after all.
Regardless of their image, they play a crucial role in any democracy. They are like theoretical physicists. The greatest practical scientific breakthroughs and discoveries are often arrived at from their points of view.
4. The Objects of the Wind
Please allow me use a very simple but elaborate analogy. Ever moved out on a windy evening just before the rain? The motion of the clouds, the swaying of the trees, the swirling of the dust and the fluttering of ‘kaveera’ (polythene bags). Clouds, trees, dust and kaveera; all these are objects of the wind. They follow, without question, wherever the wind wills to blow them.
5. The Ride or Dies
These are strangers to rational thought. However, they are not strangers to the criticisms and misgivings about the side they support (they might even have some of their own), but that alone is just not enough to waver their faith.
Our fathers and mothers belong here. They witnessed the transition from anarchy to stability with the arrival of Museveni and to them, Museveni remains the best thing that has and can happen to Uganda. They ride with him through thick and thin.
But one can say the same for the opposition. For the young generation, evidence of acts of ‘hooliganism’ and incompetences is not reason enough to antagonize/criticize their ‘messiah’ candidates.
6. The Complicits
This group benefits directly from the status quo, and are therefore obliged to support their political affiliations to protect their own interests. They are determined to go to lengths protecting their personal and family interests. These interests ranging from monetary value and ambition to their own security. Majority of the politicians make the cut with this one.
7. The Powerful Minority
THE POWERFUL MINORITY. The other 9% at the top of the food chain. With this category in most cases, the scale tapers to the incumbent faction. They make the least noise, but effect the most impact. These do the dirty work. However, some, like the security operatives, are simply trapped in a broken system.
AGAIN: There is no such thing as an adult without a political affiliation.
Then comes the unfortunate fate I have to face with every article I write, my eminent demise due to limited space, to which I say, TILL NEXT TIME COMRADES.
The Writer is a Columnist with The Ugandan Wire.