By Mariam Mavita Mutooro
After Tumukunde’s sudden announcement that he would challenge for the Presidency early this month, The discussions about who could be the political pillers behind the seemingly metal strong political base of the retired army general started taking a center stage. Some media houses started digging into who they thought and believed was for the defecting General on the visibly thorny road to the presidency and a list was circulated to the effect with Kampala’s Mohammed Nsereko topping in the queue.
When asked to comment on his links with the under fire ex combatant, Nsereko told the Observer that he would be willing to work with the embattled Presidential hopeful for purposes of ending the Museveni rule. “If he has joined the opposition,the question would be, what would be wrong with him working with Bobi Wine,Besigye, Mugisha Muntu to achieve unity? He however added that although he had not yet been contacted by the retired General, he would consider working with him should he make any kind of advance.” He has not yet contacted me but if he does so, I will discuss with him with a warm heart just like others,” added Nsereko.
When you read in between the lines, the above statement by the experienced Kampala law maker speaks volumes. Even when he speaks of unity, his relationship with most of the opposition players he names is not one you would actually call cordial. So why come out to expressly herald willingness to work with this new debutant opposition politician!
Having tactically refused to forge any sort of political understanding with FDC or DP, which would have been looked at as a sure gaurantee to his political position in the opposition stronghold Kampala, Nsereko’s alleged connection with Tumukunde would make some political sense. An NRM leaning opposition Member, Nsereko seems to suggest that he has failed to make sense of the different political ideologies advanced by the strong opposition political parties. He feels the movement ideology is understandable to him but only needs some kind of fine tuning. For a person like Tumukunde, who was raised and natured by the system which Nsereko outrightly says has lost truck, it wouldn’t be an expensive political adventure for him to try out.
The secretive underground political strokes of the new Tumukunde politics of late also exhibits a lot of Nserekolism in it. The observer reported last week that General Tumukunde has had his eyes on the big chair from as far as 2016 when his former master – Yoweri Museveni deployed him as chief mobiliser in his reelection bid. He used the opportunity to traverse the country and collect useful intelligence information and create important contacts that he would use in his bid to ascent to the presidency in 2021. These are the very clandestine methods that Nsereko has on two occasions, used to outsmart both FDC and DP in the an opposition dominated Kampala Central.
Nsereko’s open distrust with Kyagulanyi’s People Power Movement, at a time when the Kyadondo legislator has established himself as the king maker in Buganda speaks volumes in relation to the Tumukunde presidential bid. It ought to be recalled that late last year, Nsereko made some careless remarks that shocked many when he said he had never been to Magere and wouldn’t be there any time in future because he had nothing to discuss with Kyagulanyi. He further faulted the Kyadondo East MP for failing to rule over his supporters who had turned the two term Kampala Central legislator into a political punching bag. These remarks, at a time where political cooperations and alliances are an absolute necessity clearly demonstrated that Nsereko’s allegiance was already of the shelf. The question would only be, where and for whom. And now here is Tumukunde with the answer.
It’s also been reported that Tumukunde had planned to gain control over the Country’s legslature, which would former an important nucleous of his national election mobilization team. I don’t find it so hard connecting Nsereko’s deputy Speakership bid 4 years ago. A part from Nsereko, a seasoned hardliner, established deliberator, an orator among orators and above all a dissatisfied NRM prodigy. Doesn’t it surprise anyone that when Jacob Oulanya was asked to give way for Kadaga at the NRM parliamentary caucus, he gave way with no resistance, whereas Nsereko defied Museveni untill he reached the ballot.! Who on earth would defy General Museveni within NRM unless with the backing of another General.? And Mohammed Nsereko did just that.
It’s also been widely reported that Tumukunde’s team is comprised of a number of members of Parliament, mainly from the ruling National Resistance Movement party. Although most of them, just as expected, would not be willing to come out openly to profess their allegiance to Tumukunde, given the volatile political situation surrounding him, the fact that Annet Nyakecho, the Tororo Woman Mp also named among those Tumukunde loyalists within Parliament, was with Tumukunde at the time of his arrest confirms the reports. Nsereko is with no doubt a good mobiliser, having managed to give his party sleepless nights when he refused to stand down for Oulanya in 2016, managing to get over 100 votes in an NRM dominated house was not an accomplishment that simple. He is the man who can ably mobilise to have that number and even more members behind the political new comer that Tumukunde is.
Although asking the vibrant law maker to deliver the Presidency to General Tumukunde would be an almost impossible task, Nsereko’s decade long political experience at the legislative level,coupled with his mastery in calculating the direction of the political winds will most certainly maker his new master a force to reckon with come 2021.