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The Ugandan Opposition politician rule book

DIRTY GAMES: The political season is upon us and as you may have already seen, the games have started. To be a perfect politician in Uganda comes with some mastered tactics though.

It is a skill to be an Opposition politician in Uganda. But when you play the game just right, you do not have to keep worrying about the next steps. If you learn the rules of the game, you will go on rocking.

The first rule is to never agree with the government. And by government in Uganda, we also mean the President. You must always detest anything Museveni. Always find fault in government’s proposals. Before you comment on anything, seek out the government’s position then argue on the contrary. If the government wants to buy radios for students, wonder why the government has not invested in iPads. If the government buys hoes for farmers, at least find fault in the procurement process.

As an Opposition politician, you must know that the government is always wrong. Never be seen around the man in a hat. In Uganda, Museveni is a taboo for an Opposition politician. Pretend like you can never even look at him, act like if you had to choose between the devil and Museveni, you would choose the devil.

The second rule is to never get out of the media. The media is your friend as an Opposition politician. Whether for good or bad reasons, there is no bad publicity for an Opposition politician. If journalists are not approaching you for a comment, show up at their offices. Show up at the talkshows.

Just have something to say every week. Silence is haram in the Opposition. If the media is still not showing up, cause some havoc. Find a reason to get onto the streets. Protest the poor quality of food the government is distributing to your constituency.

Once you are in the media, also remember to never take the blame for anything. An Opposition politician is always right. If you are caught stealing something, shift the blame to the government. Describe all your flaws as some sort of political witch-hunting. Blame it all on Museveni and his government, how they keep constraining political space in the country. Kidnap yourself occasionally, show up in the morning with bruises, blame it on elements within the government that are keen on destroying you.

You must remember that teargas is your friend. Prison is your friend. If police come to pick you, bribe them to rough you up. Request the photojournalists to get the perfect pose, that moment when all your clothes are torn and you are all in tears. Do not be bailed out just easily. You should exhibit your suffering to the public. Show them the cost of trying to liberate them.

Pick a brand. You must be known for a thing as an Opposition guy. If you harbour boudoir thoughts, then going nude should be your brand identity. If that does not work, pick a special type of hood. If that too does not work, then throw around some bombastic words. If that too does not work, become a sophist. Become a Mao, play with words, use them to score points and get away with anything. Brand is everything.

You should be a good student of the trends. You must know what is trending and jump onto it. If you realise Besigye is losing that ‘it’ factor, and Bobi Wine is the new hit song, then jump onto the Bobi Wine wagon. Find all kinds of praises for Bobi Wine. Tell people that if someone cut your belly, Bobi Wine blood would spill out. If red berets are the trend, then tell your designer to adapt and produce only red artefacts. This is a game of tactics. You must never let the trends go past you.

When it comes to issues of salary, you should always compromise. If it is to do with bigger allowances for Members of Parliament, you are allowed to fully agree with the proposal. You always have a way out. Tell the voters that it does not make sense to leave their money to be stolen by the government.

If the government gives out money, pretend you are against it and that you will be returning it. Fill out a dummy deposit slip, take a photo, write a diatribe on your social media pages, and then proceed to not return the money. Act like an angel in public, and in private, eat the money. Remember, it is all for the camera. Whenever you see the camera, put up a show.

Finally, when it is time to cross to the ruling government, find a way to justify your crossover. Blame your fellow Opposition politicians for being worse devils than Museveni. Blame them for intolerance, for not allowing you to criticise them. Blame them for not keeping their promises.

Blame them for every failure, then comfortably move on to praise your newfound love. Assure your voters that this decision was taken in the best of their interests. Or like Kato Lubwaama, remind them that it is now time to eat together. Don’t you also ever forget that funerals are campaigning platforms. Attend to them as often as you can, especially when an election is nearby.
That my friend, is how you rock the world of Opposition politics…

Twitter: ortegatalks

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