DAVID MAFABI: The strongest man is the one who controls his anger; Mr Ofwono Opondo

NBS TV’s Thursday night Frontline political talk show came to an abrupt end when the producer cut what would have been a very unfortunate live incident. There was an altercation between Kampala Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago and government spokesperson Ofwono Opondo that was cut as Ofwono charged for Lukwago (PHOTO /Screengrab)

MBALE —The 28 July evening altercation between the media center boss Mr Ofwono Opondo and Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago on NBS during a talk show has left a lot to be desired.

Although NBS Television issued a statement condemning the incident on their weekly talk show “Frontline” describing it as unfortunate, this incident does not only violate editorial policy and minimum broadcasting guidelines it also speaks volumes about the caliber of people NRM is has at the helm.

It is unfortunate that on the frontline, there was also the Minister of ICT and national guidance Dr Chris Baryomunsi, who did not and has not come out to condemn the behavior exhibited by Mr Ofwono during the talk show; could this be an acceptable position of the NRM?

And apart from a few opposition members who have described Mr Ofwono’s behavior as undeserving, none of the top government officials has come out to condemn it, an indication that suggests that it is acceptable behavior in the NRM government.

While many Ugandans feel excited about this, there are those like me who feel Mr Ofwono either missed a point or his manners have now gone down the drain.

Ugandans, I think you saw on television the people we employ to work in our interests behave in a way we don’t tolerate in our own small children, and sadly at a time when trust is so low, contempt so high, it appears Mr. Ofwono does not even try to get better.

Mr Ofwono you need to understand that trust is what we give you when you earn it, not what you get because you are where you happen to be.

My Grand Mother [RIP] told me that there is no doubt that many of the badly behaved people have held positions for a long time and in turn make unacceptable behaviour seem okay, could this be the reason why you behave the way you do?

And she occasionally added my grandchildren learn from this proverb; The strongest person among men is not he who fights everyone but is he who controls is anger. Maybe Mr Ofwono can get some lessons from this.

And this kind of behavior done with impunity should not surprise Ugandans of goodwill; we have seen traffic officers abused and slapped, we have seen party members labeled rebels, and we have seen people abused as bean weevils, poisonous mushrooms, Kawukumi, Pigs etc without anybody raising a finger within the party.

When our leaders use platforms to insult each other, the crowd often cheers in excitement, hurling additional insults but it is deeply disappointing to learn that most leaders care less about their conduct and get away with being awful humans right before our eyes.

I want to categorically tell our leaders, especially those from NRM that decorum must be inculcated into the political culture and it is shameful that some leaders in society think that derogatory language is the way of politics.

In NRM criticising President Museveni, and going against the “party positions” in Parliament, many MPs have been labeled “bad boys” and if I may pose a question here, is there anything like a party line? I am not talking about the bush war ideal, please.

Mr Ofwono your behavior shows that in NRM there is the presence of toxic leaders or bad bosses—leaders with undesirable and counterproductive leadership behaviors—who have continued to have a significant negative impact on individual and NRM party performance.

Mr Ofwono regardless of where it occurs, the short- and long-term effects of these forms of leadership behaviors have destructive and potentially disastrous effects on a plethora of individual and party key performance indicators.

From Shoplifting to intimidating and harassing people, Mr Ofwono when will you get tired of bad behavior as a political culture? And I am also wondering why the media continue to give badly behaved people space to publicly embarrass themselves and more so, us.

The 1995 Constitution outlines the conduct of a public officer which I am sure Mr Ofwono has read well but It’s deeply disappointing that our leaders care less about their conduct and get away with being awful humans right before our eyes.

Ugandans especially our children should be made to understand that politics is about debating issues and when disagreements arise, they need to be handled without engaging in verbal conquest abuses or threats.

Mr Ofwono, I have refused to accept that the only way that we can engage in political discourse is by displaying ghastly manners, NO, as Ugandans we demand to be represented by leaders who respect themselves so that we the people they represent can equally feel respected.

Mr Ofwono, your party has governed this country for 36 years, let selfish interests and the lack of tolerance for divergent views — especially from the opposition, parliament, and civil rights groups — taint your image in the eyes of many Ugandans.

And what seems evident is that you the government cadres practice abuse, arrogance, intimidation with impunity you disregard the rules and regulations knowing that when you bleach them nothing will happen to you, or if anything happens it will not be serious.

Mr Ofwono Ugandans say this in their traditional nasty proverbs; The day a mosquito lands on your testicles is the day you will know there is a better way of resolving issues without using violence and threats.

We started well under President Museveni in 1986 but failure to address cadre atrocities over decades in Uganda has created an environment where impunity thrives, today, it is very unfortunate the president is patronizing over a regime of serious rising impoverishment of Uganda in terms of moral, ethical, social, political, cultural and economic development. This is the socio-political reality: take it, leave it.

I wish @nbstv could give us the full clip consisting of Ofwono Opondo’s criminal behavior on 28 July, so that he can be made to “pay” for his crimes and the record of his disgraceful behavior kept for future generations to see.

I think it is important to know that integrity and ethics have long been sacrificed at the altar of politics and this trend needs to be reversed by compelling political parties to stop giving nominations to individuals whose credibility has been put to question.

Mr Ofwono, you ought to get lessons from this; Dr Martha Nussbaum’s new book; Would Politics Be Better Off Without Anger?, advises that “Not only is anger bad because of its consequences—alienating political opponents, breeding revenge and violence, inhibiting progress—it is also a bad thing in itself, and For the immoral and incoherent way of responding to the people.”

I want to ask Mr Ofwono to take this advice but also learn from a Bugisu proverb that; “holding on to anger is like grasping a hot stone with the intent of throwing it at someone else; yet you are the one who gets burned.”

Mr Ofwono, your behavior is not merely an ethical problem, which erodes the moral fiber of society; it is not only iniquitous but also undermines the social fabric of society as a whole.


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