Without a known structure to infiltrate, Bobi Wine is proving a hard nut to crack. Meanwhile his influence continues to spread all over Uganda.
Where has government gone wrong? Where have the political architects miscalculated? Did they not see this coming?
Robert Kyagulanyi Sentamu a.k.a Bobi Wine’s best moment to silence was when he released the song “Jennifer”. That should have been a sign but government’s political architects were led to believe he was just the usual ‘ganja man‘ singing to get public recognition. Secondly, Bobi’s going back to school should have been the final nail to awaken government but they ignored thinking he could never go past the mark. Little did government know that Bobi Wine had kept them off-balance and in the dark by never revealing the purpose behind his series of actions. The government had no clue of what he was up to and they could not prepare an effective counter strategy. Bobi Wine guided them far down the wrong path and enveloped them in smoke until it was too late.
Moments later, Bobi Wine enters the political scene. He announces his intention to go for the parliamentary seat and government handles his issue lightly thinking no right thinking citizen could vote for him. Ragga Dee (NRM candidate) had failed and they never expected Bobi Wine to make it.
The shocker comes – Bobi Wine makes it through! Bobi Wine played a smart role. He made the government feel smart and not just smart, but smarter than he was. The government was convinced of this and they never suspected he had ulterior motives.
Bobi Wine has mastered the art of creating a cult-like following. Naturally, people have an overwhelming desire to believe in something. Bobi Wine decided to become the focal point of such desire by offering them a cause (which was OTT tax), he gave them fresh faith to follow (People power, Our Power). He kept his words vague but full of promise. He emphasized enthusiasm over rationality and clear thinking. He gave people rituals to perform (wearing red attire and signature caps) and they automatically found themselves doing sacrifices on his behalf (viral international protests and demonstrations). In the absence of an organized or known structure to government, his new belief system is bringing him more and more power and international recognition, and this has made him a hard man to crack with each day that goes by.
Bobi Wine had to accept the fact that for him to be where he wants to be, he had to forge a new identity. Which he did successfully. Transforming from a known ganja-man to a father, then to a community transformer by helping police to educate youth about dangers of weed, then to a charity man, then to an activist, then to a Member of Parliament and now being viewed as the messenger as described in a new song by one Asher Namata in which, the lyrics say, “We want the messenger, dont kill the messenger, never block the messenger, our hope is in the messenger.”
Right now several sections look at him as a potential President of Uganda in that some people now see him as rising or taking the route to becoming the new “African Mandela”. The international community and Ugandans in the diaspora see him as the new face of opposition. Bobi Wine has been able to recreate himself by forging a new identity that commands attention and never bores the audience.
He has mastered the art of keeping his hands clean and disguise his involvement in anything the government can use against him. For example, with the riots and alleged attack on the president’s convoy and alleged possession of weapons in 2018, the government had no option but to withdrawal charges against him or at least take them to civilian court and not military court. Pressure was too much.
By the time Bobi Wine penetrated the political sphere he had a plan and a sure structure in place. He learnt from the mistakes of his predecessors like Besigye that, with a visible plan and structure, government can infiltrate and crack you. So his only visible tool was boldness. Everyone admires the bold. No one respects the timid. The boldness of Bobi Wine is backed up with a plan and structure. The problem is that it’s invisible to the government.
In any plan, the icing is everything. Bobi Wine has planned all the way to it, taking into account all the possible consequences, obstacles, and twist of fortune that might reverse his hard work and give glory to others. He has planned his way to the end so that he does not get overwhelmed by circumstances and he knows when he will need to stop if he ever needs to.
He has looped the government into thinking his efforts are so effortless. His actions and support seem so natural and executed with absolute ease and voluntarism from the masses. All the toil, practice and clever tricks embedded in his plan have been concealed for he knows they can be used against him.
Bobi Wine has learned to control his options. He has learnt the art of deception that seems to give the government a choice. The government feels in control but he is actually slowly pushing it into a position of becoming his puppet. He has seemed to give the government options but when you think about it clearly, whichever they choose, will turn into his favor. He seemingly has put options for the government on table to choose between the lesser of two evils, both of which serve his purpose. The government is gored wherever it turns.
Bobi Wine has mastered the art of timing. He does not seem to be in a hurry because rushing portrays lack of control over oneself and over time. Bobi Wine is being patient because he knows everything will come to him eventually. He has become a detective of the right moment, sniffing out the spirit of the times, the trends that will carry him to his intended destination. He knows what it means to stand back when the time is not yet ripe and how to strike fiercely when the time has reached fruition. He mastered that for most of year 2018 and hit the government in the abdomen. Government will either strike back or vomit what he wants it to vomit.
He has learned the art of disdain for things he cannot have. He knows that by acknowledging a petty problem, he gives it existence and credibility. It’s why when a one Bryan White attacked him, Bobi Wine ignored until Bryan White was finally put on the spot by the masses especially in Arua. Bobi Wine knows that the more attention you pay an enemy, the stronger you make him. So, sometimes it is best to leave things alone. If there is something you want but cannot have, show contempt for it. The less interest you reveal, the more superior you seem.
Bobi Wine knows the art of thinking as he likes while behaving like others. He knows that if you make a show of going against the times, flaunting your unconventional ideas and unorthodox ways, people will think that you only want attention and that you look down upon them. They will find a way to punish you for making them feel inferior (this is where Bryan White went wrong). Bobi Wine knows it is safer to blend in and nurture the common feel.
Bobi Wine knows how to stir up the waters so that he catches the fish. He knows that anger and emotion are counter productive, he knows he must always stay calm and objective. Similarly, it is the technique General Kale Kayihura used after his arrest. He stayed calm and did not fight back by suing the government for his illegal detention beyond 48 hours. He rather advised his lawyers to stay calm and not fight back. Bobi Wine has mastered that art of staying calm and objective amidst anger and emotion too.
On the other hand, government has failed here. So much panic and expression of anger and emotion yet forgetting that people are getting used to such approach which creates the motivation to respond in kind with time. Bobi Wine knows that if he can make the government angry while staying calm himself, he gains a decided advantage. That way he nudges the regime off-balance.
Bobi Wine has mastered the art of despising free lunch. He knows that what is offered for free is dangerous. He knows it usually involves either a trick or hidden obligation. He knows that what has worth is worth paying for. And if it’s a “belief of freedom” it’s worth anything. He knows that by paying his own way, he stays clear of gratitude, guilt and deceit. He also knows it is always wise to pay the full price.
It is dangerous to step into a great man’s shoes (like Museveni and his war comrades), surely that is at the back of Bobi Wine’s head. However, he also knows that he can establish his own name and identity by changing the course, slaying the overbearing father, disparaging his legacy and gaining power by shining in his own way.
He has learned the art of working on the hearts and minds of the masses. And this is where the government has terribly gone off course. Of course, when you go off course on this, even the youngest generations will grow to hate you regardless of your past achievements. There’s not much to add to this.
Most important of all, Bobi Wine knows it is important to assume formlessness in everything. He knows that by taking a shape or having a visible plan, he opens himself to attack. He knows that in Uganda, no law is fixed, so the best way to protect himself is to be as fluid and formless as water. This is why despite his arrests, protests and demonstrations broke out from several parts of the country. Even in other countries like the neighboring Kenya a concert was held in his name. We also saw some Kenyan MPs plan to walk up to Uganda in protest. Other occurrences happened in South Africa, USA, Denmark, Sweden and other countries all in his name. The government never saw that coming. This showed that even in his absence, his impact can be felt.
The questions to ask are these below. To an arrogant mind that always underestimates their enemy until it’s too late, they might seem over rated but they are worth asking;
1). What is Bobi Wine’s thumbscrew?
2). What is Bobi Wine’s structure and ultimate plan?
3). What is the cause of Bobi Wine’s motivation into politics?
4). Is Bobi Wine about to back off and cool down? .
5). Can Bobi Wine be broken?
6). Does Bobi Wine have the influence to destabilize Uganda’s government?
7). Will Bobi Wine be president?
8).What should government do?
These are questions whose answers can’t be easily disclosed at the moment but time will tell because every question has an answer to it.
Thoughts by Belguin Prosper L. He is a Competitive Analyst and Author of the book “Games CEOs Play”. He is also the CEO – Young & Free International Limited a competitive intelligence company that specializes in complex event analysis of political and business nature.