20.01.2024 Feature Article

Nupian’s Blind Loyalty Is Bad For The Opposition

Nupians Blind Loyalty Is Bad For The Opposition
20.01.2024 LISTEN

Blind loyalty is when one is loyal to a person or cause despite the damage the person or cause does to himself or herself or others.” - Urban Dictionary. Another definition (my own) is when someone follows someone else without giving proper judgement to his or her actions. A lot of Bobi Wine’s supporters follow him blindly without scrutinising his mistakes.

For instance, while on BBC last year, Bobi wrongly said that Museveni brought the homosexuality bill to target him and the opposition, but later he claimed that the same Museveni was using Andrew Mwenda, Nicholas Opiyo, et al, to get rid of the same bill. So, Museveni is trying hard to get rid of something that would have made Bobi’s life hard? Huh! You see how his claims are so disconnected, but those blindly following him find it convenient to turn his rubbish statements into ‘juice’, and it’s very unfortunate.

In the same interview, he said that opposition MPs working for Museveni brought and supported the bill. I kindly reached out to Asuman Basalirwa who brought the bill, and he had this to say, ‘The office of the speaker received two bills. One was drafted by me and the other by father Onen. Mine was the first to be received by the office of the speaker and the other came days later. So, the meeting with the Speaker that Serwanyi was referring to was to decide that since my bill came earlier, it must be the one to go on the order paper and that instead father Onen becomes a seconder to my bill since it was even more comprehensive and had more punitive measures.’’

But you find a lot of Nupians still blindly insulting Basalirwa just because of Bobi’s careless statements on BBC. I think some people are just far more gullible, easily influenced, manipulated & fully committed to particular people they view as grandiose, special, godlike, or perfect. It's difficult to be objective or see someone as flawed, when you truly believe they are otherworldly special enough to create blind loyalties. Don't get me wrong, it's not like some FDCs aren't guilty of this too, but not even close to the level of the Nupians.

There’s still a lot we don’t know about NUP’s future and political direction. The irony is that their supporters calling others names purport to be fighting for free speech in Uganda where everyone is entitled to the freedom of expression regardless of their views. Recently, I concluded that the freedom they talk about is pandering to their crappy narratives with no rational judgement.

The opposition has basically built a dictator who claims to be fighting a dictatorship. When you say anything against him, his supporters label you a Museveni mole, yet Bobi reportedly owes most of his wealth to having been close to government officials.

Being in the position of leadership does not mean that one automatically 'derives' respect and loyalty as a by-product of the 'position' in the organizational hierarchy. There are many people who are sitting in the top positions thinking that people respect them. The truth is that this is not something one receives by the virtue of the 'title' that he/ she holds. Just because you’re called ‘Principal’, it doesn’t make you anything more than just a president of a small party.

The bling loyalty among Nupians could possibly be compared to that of General Friedrich Paulus, the leader of the 6th army of Stalingrad – he was a “yes" man and Hitler wanted “yes" men above all.

Paulus’ case was very special - he hadn’t had that much experience fighting before his appointment as Sixth Army commander - by many accounts - he felt more comfortable behind an office desk than he did on the battlefield. Were it not for Walter Reichenau’s sudden death from a heart attack, and Hitler’s doubts about the loyalty of the higher-ups as the initial momentum faltered, it’s highly unlikely he would have commanded any army during the war.

The one-time Paulus gained enough courage to resist Hitler was, surprise, just before surrender when he was, ultimately, encircled in Stalingrad. The whole reasoning behind him being named Field Marshall was that in the illustrious fighting history of the Wehrmacht, no field Marshall had ever been captured in battle - Hitler’s expectation was that Paulus would commit suicide just before capture, but Paulus, with his life being on the line this time, refused to budge.

In early October 1939, Heinrich Himmler reported to Hitler on the actions of the Einsatzgruppen in Poland, but Hitler told Himmler not to brief him anymore. The subject of concentration camps was not to be discussed in Hitler’s presence unless he mentioned them first. This was typical for Hitler: the man did not want to be confronted with the repercussions of his actions. He always fled into a dream world when bad news was announced.

He had special blinds installed on his train and curtains in his cars, so he did not have to look at the devastation outside when he travelled in Germany. He never visited a bombed area, a destroyed factory, a damaged school, let alone a concentration camp. The man simply did not want to know what was being done in his name. He gave very general instructions and left the rest to others.

In Germany, there was this principle called “Dem Führer entgegenarbeiten” meaning “Working towards the Führer”. Hitler's instructions would be interpreted by those below him without fully briefing him about what was going on. The lower echelons had to anticipate what they believed Hitler meant. That’s why Bobi can find it easier to deny what Fred Lumbuye does online even if he’s doing it in his name.

If anything, it's much easier to fool the general public today than it was before WW2. The very access to mass media makes it much easier to consume propaganda when lacking the tools for critical thought. And let's face it, we've had a deficit of critical thinking in Uganda for many years. That should make anyone who's paying attention worry about the potential for the situation to get out of control. It's our duty to remain vigilant and call out unconstitutionality whenever we see it.

Blind loyalty for anyone is a very toxic thing. Ultimately, there's only one real reason why a person is blindly loyal to another person - the inability to think for themselves. The reliance on others to tell them what to do, how to act, who they should ultimately believe in. For example, If Besigye alone had told Nupians to plant banana trees in the middle of bad roads, they wouldn’t have done it, and this is one of the exact reasons why he’s compelled to work with Bobi.

Blind loyalty can be attributed to several psychological factors. One such factor is the need for belongingness and acceptance. Individuals may feel a sense of security and identity by aligning themselves with a particular group or person, leading them to exhibit blind loyalty. Additionally, cognitive biases such as confirmation bias and bandwagon effect can play a role. People tend to seek information that confirms their existing beliefs and may follow the crowd to avoid feeling left out or different.

When a person leads with their heart and not their mind. They would ignore the red flags when they hold someone to a high regard. Bobi has shown Ugandans that he barely has the capacity and capability to take on Museveni, a man that he found already weakened and exposed by Besigye.

A healthy democracy must have a system of checks and balances where leaders are held accountable for their actions. Demanding unquestioning loyalty is an authoritarian tactic that undermines the principles of democracy by stifling critical thinking and discouraging independent judgment.

There’s nothing unpredictable about Bobi. He venerates NRM and Museveni and will hand the 2026 elections to him or his son on a platter. Fool me once - shame on you, fool me twice - shame on me.

When Bobi goes to sleep at night, if he can, I wonder what he’s thinking about? Bobi is literally opposing for money, not his legacy as the face of the opposition, which now can be found at the bottom of a dumpster, and he knows it. He will fight anybody, including fellow musicians, who has received money from the government without his 'cut' or prior knowledge. So far, he’s managed to bamboozle the young people but for how long?

As for the extent of NUP’s continuing ''resistance'', the fat lady hasn’t sung yet, she hasn't even put on her makeup, but I believe they will be around as long as Museveni and NRM wants them to be.