Minister Kitutu, Raila Odinga, Donald Trump and the law of gravity

By Ofwono Opondo

Finally, Karamoja affairs minister Mary Goretti Kitutu fell to her greed and sloppiness. Kitutu, her brother and personal assistant were last week arraigned before the Anti-Corruption Court for abuse of office in relation to the diversion of relief items for the economically stressed Karamoja region instead benefiting some ministerial colleagues. Since the scandal broke out in late January Kitutu has been elusive including evading the police in a futile hope she would find a political round-about.

In Kenya, Raila Amolo Odinga, with his provocative content, bare-knuckle style and populist message, in many ways mirror the broader discontent Kenyans may be having which he is exploiting to recruit followers of passion willing to further his fight. But in the two weeks that he tried to overrun President William Somoei arap Ruto, Baba sadly discovered that he cannot be in control of political events all the time as protestors he has been egging on turned into violent, destructive, and looting mobs even willing to kill.

In neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo, President Felix Tsisekedi had truce and brought his former arch rival Jean-Pierre Bemba into his cabinet as ministers of National Defence. It will be recalled that in 2004 Bemba was charged at the International Criminal Court with two counts of crimes against humanity; murder, rape, and three counts of war crimes; murder, rape and pillaging committed in the Central African Republic. Initially convicted but acquitted on appeal.

Therefore, by agreeing this week to call off the street protests he engineered should be a welcome turn-around for a 78 year old man whose entire political career has been more in controversies which should probably offer some useful lessons to the current political opposition in Uganda that you cannot always have your way.

Kizza Besigye and Robert Kyagulanyi who have demonstrated that they have exaggerated views of themselves need to learn that speaking to president Yoweri Museveni and ceding ground in national politics isn’t capitulation and surrender but a necessary step to reach an agreeable position with a worthy opponent.

As for Besigye, among his willing loyalist fighters are MPs Semujju Nganda, Nandala Mafabi, and Kampala’s Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago. They are fighters who love the fight and the scrum that goes with it. Those who have followed their rallies and crowds have witnessed so many provocations and heated confrontations whose cumulative effect is a sharp sting and can be numbing.

But what strikes most is the frequency with which some of Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) and National Unity Platform (NUP) supporters use coarse, vitriolic, even violent language. The epithets they shout and chant, the signs they carry, and the songs they compose are patterns not seen with other political parties, and yet they don’t get rebuked. The political soothsayers both in Uganda and Kenya had for long in their fantasies argued that destructive belligerence strengthened Odinga and Besigye into political martyrs. They falsely believed that Odinga and Besigye were immune to the law of gravity, no matter what Isaac Newton said centuries ago.

Earlier on Tuesday, the old showman Donald John Trump, former, and probably the next president of the United States of America brought himself to a court in New York to face thirty-four felony charges relating to financial fraud. From the television appearance he looked angry and dull because contrary to expectations he didn’t make any rallying cry or verbal defiance although he was visibly grieving from the multiple legal problems he’s currently mired in. Trump continues to cry foul that he’s a victim of a witch-hunt and persecution by what he calls the “corrupt and radical left” within the US government considering that he has been under multiple investigations since he entered the White House in 2016, and then the two impeachments.

It was also a mark of Trump’s enduring grip of America’s politics currently, and not least the overdrive publicity around the case had also helped re-energise his political fan base especially so although even not being a lawyer, I think that the charges are too obscure, too thin and too trivial making Trump to wear them like a badge of honor in his quest to regain the residency.

That said however, it’s not to suggest that Trump or any ex-president should be allowed to be above the law of a country. In that respect, the decision by prosecutor Alvin Bragg and the grand jury to charge Donald J Trump is a triumph, and not a shame or tragedy.

And regardless, Trump presidency is the best thing that ever happened to expose how shallow, corrupt and decadent the US political system really is, and for the shithole countries, it would be very good if Trump gets re-elected as president in 2024 as he will be a criminal defendant. Trump will surely shred to tatters his opponents now tormenting him, and screw up the US profile before the whole world which should be a good episode for the rest of the world except perhaps NATO allies, Canada and Australia.

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