By Mulengera Reporters
Three weeks ago, a key leader of the DP Bloc appeared for a talk show at one of the Balokole-owned radios in Kampala. During the commercial break, the Block leader contemptuously said something unflattering about Bobi Wine. “He thinks he is too big but its us who made him MP when everyone else had shunned him. He would be nothing without us but these days he doesn’t pay allegiance to us anymore. He even refuses to take our phone calls or even reply text messages DP leaders send to him thinking he arrived but we shall see,” the DP Bloc leader told the moderator as they waited to resume the show back on air after the ad break. Unknown to the DP Block official, the moderator phone-recorded everything he said.
The Block leader went as far as saying Mr. Wine was taking them for granted and was even conducting himself at the reunion events in a manner that was complicating their fragile relationship with Norbert Mao the DP President. That by insisting on always arriving late coming last when everybody else has long sat and taken their positions already, Mr. Wine (who ordinarily is supposed to be below Mao) was creating protocol nightmares for the organizers.
The leader explained that ideally at such functions, Mao being party president (who also funds the reunion meetings) must always be the last one to speak yet Mr. Wine’s handlers are never comfortable with that. The leader added that as architects behind the DP Bloc politics, they need both Mao and Mr. Wine but they need the former more because he has a structure into which he has allowed them to play critical roles. In contrast, Mr. Wine is keeping his cards close to the chest leaving them unsure of whether they have any significant role to play in his PP Movement. That whereas Mao always consults and permits them prominence at his media briefings, Mr. Wine has proved ambivalent and never even invites them for his press conferences.
That they are uncomfortable he trusts and confides in Nubian Lee and Eddie Mutwe more than any member of the DP Block. That he is the reason their One to One strategy for 2021 became stunted because when they went to discuss it with him, Mr. Wine said he wasn’t interested in it. All he prefers is for leaders to go and popularize themselves on the ground as for him will only associate with the strongest in all electoral areas.
The DP Block expectation was there would be a list of joint candidates that Mr. Wine would declare to be his favorites in the hope that even political failures (the political kikonywas) will be able to cruise to political victory under his endorsement just like was the case with Asuman Basalirwa whom he transformed from Kikonywa (political failure) to political victory. That Mr. Wine refused saying as someone having to campaign in the whole country, he would only support candidates who are shown by his own research to be the strongest for the respective positions regardless of whether such leaders appear on the DP Bloc list or not. Its only those that would be permitted on his political platform the day he campaigns in that particular constituency. He won’t permit the confusion of so many contenders for the same seat coming to fight at his rally, something which Besigye has been contending with for many years.
Key Mr. Wine assistants are also uncomfortable that DP Block leaders haven’t been frequently consulting him regarding their partnership with Jose Chameleon and have instead opted to work with Eddie Yawe (and not his political commissar Fred Nyanzi) to create an impression that the PP top leadership is unanimously behind the Chameleon project whereas not. That despite remaining conspicuously silent, Mr. Wine is claimed to have very damaging info regarding some DP Block actors including 5th columnists trying to use the PP struggle to make quick buck from State House functionaries.
Working with Kiiza Besigye and holding meetings with his emissaries without alerting or seeking views of the DP Block is another cause of uneasiness. Besigye, Erias Lukwago and Betty Nambooze are traitors who are supposed to be fought and annihilated as far as Block leaders are concerned. Yet Mr. Wine has been dialoguing with the People’s Government the trio represent without updating the DP Block bosses (who consider themselves to be his mentors) about what is being discussed. They wanted Mr. Wine to follow up on his Hotel Africana rant on KB and keep demonizing him publicly, a thing the man from Magere wasn’t comfortable doing. Instead he has been having his team meet that of KB in total secrecy and his delegation hasn’t had anyone from DP Block not even Abed Bwanika who claims to be the chairman of the PP High Command.
This is something the DP Block fellows (who are increasingly realizing they can’t count on the Bobi momentum to get elected in 2021) are extremely uncomfortable about. Some say they are looking forward to a DP party activity that can be very successful and attract mammoth crowds without being graced by Mr. Wine. They hope Chameleon can draw crowds to the subsequent party activities, something that can send a message to Mr. Wine that “look by the way DP can have vibrant functions without you being present.” This is why the mood in Mr. Wine’s camp about the Chameleon has been one of caution and apprehension.
The Block fraternity have been having consultative meetings in Rubaga Division including in Kato Lubwama’s Rubaga South where five DP youths, including Kevin Nsubuga, stepped forward to denounce Lubega Mukaku’s sole candidature. They insisted there must be primaries before Mukaku can become the DP/PP candidate and the meeting at someone’s home ended in chaos. When the young people at the subsequent meeting came wearing PP caps and showed contempt for older activists from DP Block, a one Evelyn Nakiryowa suggested PP caps should be discouraged at future DP meetings. Indeed, there has been a remarkable decline in the visibility of PP colors at subsequent DP gatherings. At the Rubaga South meeting, a one Mumbejja Nassolo warned of the possibility of DP being swallowed once again by PP if its leaders don’t become cautious between now and 2021.
In Rubaga North, the supporters of James Mubiru (one of the Bobi Wine private lawyers) bitterly clashed with DP Block activists during a meeting at which they tried to discuss the possibility of getting Mr. Wine back any other candidate for the area MP Seat for which Mubiru has for long been campaigning. In Lwengo, Abed Bwanika has been holding meetings trying to identify candidates and the meetings especially in Bukoto Mid-West have sometimes ended in chaos as supporters split into two rival camps one professing DP/PP and another purely PP and saying they have nothing to do with PD. One of the leaders tried to ring Mr. Wine to get him speak to MP aspirants Asmat Nabalamba and a one Kagumba (Mengo Lukiiko member) but the Kyadondo East MP didn’t pick. Neither did he reply messages prompting the DP Block official to tell those around him “this man thinks he arrived and now treats us with contempt but he will soon discover he needs us more than we need him.”
The appointment of Joel Senyonyi, as the only spokesperson for PP also left many in DP Block feeling deflated and isolated. Mr. Wine, who insists is an independent actor ready to work with all change-seekers, never even had the courtesy to consult or notify partners in the DP Block. Indeed, this exclusion is something over which Betty Nambooze has been mocking Abed Bwanika during the CBS Saturday program wondering why he never seems to be part of the decision-making in PP yet he maintains he chairs its high command.
Last Wednesday, there was a high-level meeting in Namugongo between PP and People’s Government to concretize some of the joint defiance activities KB and Mr. Wine will be undertaking. Mr. Wine sent 20 delegates who sat and discussed things with KB’s 15 delegates. Every thing has since been kept confidential to neutralize information leakages through would-be 5th columnists, leaving the DP Block leaders feeling betrayed and incapable of determining which role they will be playing in the upcoming joint defiance activities between PG and PP.
Nambooze once again mocked Bwanika saying if he can’t be privy to high level decisions taken at such meetings, then he is a nobody in PP. Its increasingly becoming clear that without Mr. Wine’s unambiguous endorsement, many of the political rejects in the DP Block stand very limited chances at getting elected into political jobs in 2021, a scenario that is too painful for many of them to ponder. It’s the reason they are beginning to count of Jose Chameleon for plan B in case Mr. Wine continues insisting on an independent path while totally rejecting being docile to their 2021-related wishes and aspirations. The hostilities Mr. Wine’s diaspora diehards (like Fred Lumbuye of the Ekyooto platform) have lately been directing at the DP Block adherents is another very complicating factor creating a lot of nervousness.