By Andrew Baba Buluba
Kampala: Many Ugandans at the moment strongly believe that Presidential Candidate John Katumba becoming the next president is harder than a childless woman conceiving past menopause. And that much I believe too.
I have however watched the not so generously brained Presidential hopeful in utter amusement after he successfully jumped all the numerous hurdles to finally appear on the Presidential ballot, and attain a dream of a life time.
At a time when the likes of former spy chief Charles Rwomushana jumped of the ship after failing to fullfil the tight Electoral Commission requirements, Katumba, who many look at as a joker has managed to go this far!
What if he accidentally pulls another miracle into the State House and reigns over the country for the next five years?
Thinking about that possibility ( highly unlikely anyway, I have kept awake a couple of nights trying to explore any possible avenue for that nightmare to ever happen.
Katumba as the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces, the number one citizen of Uganda, The head of the Executive arm of the government and his unknown girlfriend the first lady!
I only found the likelihood of such a situation in an American political drama – the Designated survivor.
Designated Survivor is an American political drama written by David Guggenheim.
It stars Kiefer Sutherland as Thomas Kirkman, an American politician named as the designated survivor for the State of the Union address, who suddenly ascends from the position of U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development to President of the United States after an explosion kills everyone ahead of him in the presidential line of succession.
Kirkman deals with his inexperience as head of state while looking to uncover the truth behind the attack.
At the time of the blast, Kirkman is kept out the Union address due to his not so good relationship with the Head of State who is contemplating sacking him from the cabinet. This means that he is looked at as the expendable absentee at the national event.
However, he ends up becoming the president of the United States instead!
In the movie serries, there is a law which provides for keeping at least one member of the Executive from such collective meetings so that should there be a mass death of those in attendance, such a member – called the Designated Survivor automatically becomes president. Such is not there in Uganda though.
But let’s try to fantasize a situation where a similar situation happened at the presidential election.
Lets assume all the other ten contestants at the presidential level were to die, with a law in place that would call for the remaining survivor to automatically become the President.
And let’s say, at a meeting with the Electoral Commission or for the Presidential debate Katumba’s car got a flat tyre and he had to arrive late at the venue. But before he arrives, Alshabab strikes or the building collapses and claims all the lives of the inhabitants. And it would call for Katumba to be taken straight to State House as President untill 2026 or untill a nother election is held.
What would it be like?
Katumba would become the youngest Republican Head of State in Africa and possibly in the whole world.
At just 24 years, and 52 younger than the current president – Yoweri Tibuhaburwa Museveni, not even the continent’s youth president’s like Libya’s Muamar Gadaffi and Joseph Kabila would match him.
The scenario would also bring Bobi Wine’s original dream of a new Uganda free of party politics.
Being an independent candidate, Katumba would mean a new era where the leader of the executive would be someone with no attachment to any political party. Proponents of this type of leadership have argued that it would provide for national Unity and efficient resource allocation without political biase.
The situation above is however just imaginary though. There is no legal provision that would permit one to become the President even if all the rest died.
The only scenario that would alter the current status of next year’s elections is if the incumbent died between now and Jan 14 next year. Here, the EC would organise for fresh nominations.
But if any of the other contestants were to die, elections would go an as planned.
The writer is a journalist and a seasoned political analyst. Reach him on firstname.lastname@example.org or +256772342782 or +256754269719