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The Cost of Loosing Powerful Political Insiders

There is a pattern in regional politics through which some individuals at the center of power seem not to be noticing but one that is eating into them and one that has become their best existential threat. This is the situation of losing powerful insiders who then mutate into powerful rivals. I mean we have examples all over.

In Tanzania

Edward Lowasa emerged from Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) to become an existential threat to Tanzania’s CCM, nearing sweeping the ruling powerful machine out of power. Never again has CCM experienced such a competition as it did in the just concluded elections. 

The Lowasa factor shapes Magufuli Presidency  

Even has the current newly elected president has resorted to acts that can be viewed as populist in nature, he knows very well that he has no option but to consolidate his power and by extension salvage the wounded image of CCM. He has to travel a mile further otherwise the fragmentation that was experienced in the October 2015 elections eats into the very core of CCM. The idea that the constitutional referendum could be coming soon does not make President Magufulu's leadership a walk in the park. With Lowasa in the opposition, the President knows just well what he can expect. He simply must do things that appeal across board. Somehow it is good for the nation but politically nasty I must say. 

The Uganda situation 

The narrative in Uganda does't fall any far. Amama Mbabazi, a longtime confidant, comrade and Museveni's right hand man recently fell off, or did Museveni throw him out? Whichever the case, Mbabazi has become one of Museveni's major 'problem'. A political problem, far bigger than Museveni might have thought when he sacked his former Prime Minister. Museveni might have thought Mbabazi was only a threat within, after all, it is believed they had a succession pact which the president doesn't seem to want to honor. Uganda's strong man seems to have acquired new arousal and appetite for power with no known intention to let it go. He seems to have thought that Mbabazi was the most important threat within NRM, to his bid to rule, maybe for life, and so he sacked him, but the old man may have goofed. Mbabazi has mutated to emerge as Uganda's most powerful opposer of the Museveni rule and a thorn in the flesh of NRM. 

I do not understand whether Museveni seems to know what he exactly needs to do with his former friend turned political foe. At least Museveni has not unleashed his best known tactic of using the police and and the military to brutalize Mbabazi just has he does to people like Kiza Besigye. Of course Mbabazi has suffered few police harassments here and there but, generally not to the best of the known Museveni style. It only tells you that the President is somehow 'scared' to press some buttons when it comes to Mbabazi. What can we say? Let's wait and see. No doubt Mbabazi who was until recently an insider is now an arch-rival and important force for NRM and Museveni to reckon with in the February 2016 elections. 

The case of DRC

I am seeing similar trend in the politics of DRC after Kabila lost Katumbi. After all Kabila's quest for another term doesn't fall far from that of Burundi's Pierre Nkurunziza. But coming to our topic, it appears that in his quest to extend his grip on power, Kabila's faltering has started with losing a powerful insider in the name of Katumbi. It is a space to watch, certainly the president must brace himself for challenging political battles. Could he have done better political machinations with Katumbi in his camp? Many would say yes. Meanwhile we hope to see how the power needing president will navigate in the ongoing political struggles. Unfortunately, not the politics of bettering DRC but the one of regime survival. 

Learn from Kenya 

This narrative can go on, after all examples are numerous but methinks something can be borrowed from Kenya. The current opposition heavy weight Raila Odinga is known to have destroyed KANU from within. It remained a puzzle when Raila Odinga joined KANU, and Moi, a party and a man who had brutalized him for many years. Not until KANU came crumbling down in 2002. That is the time that eyes of many Kenyans seemed to open to the reality that Raila had actually chosen to join KANU and blast it from within.  Frustrated by Moi's politics of dirty tricks, many Kenyan politicians appeared helpless and desperate in the eyes of KANU, but a "go in and work it out" tactic by Raila Odinga seems to have been magical. 

Moi can give testimony that there is a danger in loosing a powerful political insider, perhaps if he endorsed Raila for the presidency with a KANU ticket, things could be different today, who knows, may be KANU could be in power still. 

The Cost of Loosing Powerful Political Insiders The Cost of Loosing Powerful Political Insiders Reviewed by Ibrahim Magara on December 16, 2015 Rating: 5

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