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The East African : Dec 29th 2014
18 The EastAfrican OPINION DECEMBER 27, 2014 - JANUARY 2, 2015 LAST WORD Me≥≥y Ch≥ishmash, all twolegged c≥eatu≥es g≥eat and small. Woof. Hic... It was also Christmas for Joachim Buwembo My p≥edictions fo≥ the Museveni succession – in 2021, of cou≥se P olitical prediction are not my thing. But when a prediction is easy and the chances of being proven wrong are slim, it be- comes hard to resist the temptation of playing Nostradamus. So here we go: After President Yoweri Museveni emerged as the sole bull in the NRM kraal in the ruling party’s mid December delegates’ conference, while the opposition parties were tearing themselves apart with internal rivalries they claim unconvincingly to be healthy, it was a foregone conclusion that “the old man with the hat” will retain his job in State House come elections in February 2016. That is not a prediction. My predic- tion is that immediately after the elections, an unprecedented competition for the party’s leadership will kick off. It has hitherto been considered bad manners, even politically risky, to exhibit ambitions of taking over the ruling party because it amounts to overthrowing Museveni, even if democratically. But since the man himself has stated unequivocally before that he will not seek a constitutional amendment to remove the age limit for the presidency, it can be assumed that he is going for his final term in office and another Ugandan must necessarily take over come 2021. There will be an obvious push for a youthful candidate on the argument that 70 per cent of the country’s population are aged be- low thirty. The problem with finding a youthful candidate is that there are so far no known young men and women who can impress. There is nothing original about the prominent youthful politicians in NRM as their only claim to fame is fierce but opportunistic loyalty to Museveni the man, and readiness to attack his perceived or real rivals. What made Museveni stand out in his youth was being his own man, opposing the status quo from a very early age and going ahead to put his life on the line for two decades in armed resistance to dictatorships. His colleagues, who are known in Uganda as “Historicals,” did the same. None of today’s youthful NRM politi- cians has exhibited any character besides praising the old man with the hat. So succession in the NRM could end up as a battle of the generations. But the youth may lose out in the market of public support because they suffer the same problem facing the opposition parties – failing to articulate any alternative to tackling the country’s problems. NRM’s openly stated ambition is to become Uganda’s CCM or ANC – one that retains power perpetually and only changes the person at its top, who is also the national president. Don’t be surprised if the ex-premier/outgoing SG Amama Mbabazi remains a steadfast party member and plays along with everybody else to strengthen the party so that he can take another shot at its leadership. In 2021, Amama will be 72 years of age, within the limit to contest for the presidency. Even then, there is a possibility of Illustration: Joseph Ngari 2021 separating the party chairmanship from presidential candidature as is already the case with the opposition FDC, and settling for one of those posts is a likely compromise. And Museveni’s role in all this? He was reported as saying that Mbabazi is Ok but for “those girls near him,” meaning his wife and sister-in-law. The old man with the hat could still back a disciplined and contrite Mbabazi as someone he can rely on to protect his interests as he enters the sunset of his political and natural life. dogs! A seven-month-old dog required emergency veterinary treatment after drinking a litre bottle of Christmas advocaat in London. German shepherd Bella was found struggling to walk and bumping into walls after she drank alcohol at her home. She managed to knock over a bottle on the table, then lapped up the contents from the floor. Her owner, Rachel Day, returned to her house and discovered the smashed bottle. The dog was rushed to the Blue Cross animal hospital in Victoria, Central London where vets put her on a drip to try to flush the alcohol out of her system. She was kept in overnight to sleep off her drinking session and was allowed to go home the next morning after making a full recovery. “I think she just wanted to enter into the festive spirit but she evidently didn’t know her limits,” Day said. We wants our country back, says Union Jak The owner of a house in London sparked uproar by erecting a huge sign with a seemingly anti-immigration message on the side of the house. The message, adorning a Union Jack flag, reads: “An urgent message for Father Christmas, all we wish for Christmas is our country back!” While some have alluded to the anti-immigration undertones, a large amount of users were keen to point out the inaccuracies in the Union Jack. Help, my wife is a 15-year old boy! Balak Ram, 37, of India got married but on their honeymoon got the shock of his life. “When I first met Raj it was love at first sight, for sure. We spent some time together and I realised that she was the one for me. She has beautiful eyes, a demure smile and a sparkling personality and her whole being radiated goodness,” Ram said. After a romantic first meeting, the besotted Ram, from the state of Uttar Paradesh in North India, rushed to get the wedding finalised. But, “My so-called 29-year-old wife was a 15year-old boy.” Furious Ram has since annulled the marriage. In Kanpur, monkey see, monkey come to rescue Onlookers at a train sta- tion in North India watched in awe as a monkey came to the rescue of an injured friend — resuscitating another monkey that had been electrocuted and knocked unconscious. The injured monkey had fallen between the tracks, apparently after touching high-tension wires at the train station in the city of Kanpur. His companion came to the rescue and was captured on camera lifting the friend’s motionless body, shaking it, dipping it into a mud puddle and biting its head and skin — working until the hurt monkey regained consciousness. Crowds of travellers watched the scene in amazement, filming and snapping pictures. Nutty ai≥line big shot delays a flight ove≥ a bag of nuts South Korean prosecu- tors are seeking to arrest a former executive at Korean Air Lines who forced a flight to return over a bag of macadamia nuts and a current executive for attempts to cover up the “nut rage” case. Cho Hyun-ah faces charges including in-flight violence and changing a flight route. Cho, the daughter of the Korean Air chairman, earlier resigned as vice president at the airline and all roles from the airline’s affiliates as public outrage mounted over her behaviour. She forced a plane bound for South Korea from the United States to return to a gate and kicked off a flight attendant because the nuts were served in a bag, not on a plate.
Dec 22nd 2014
Jan 5th 2015