Uganda’s political pressure group For God and My Country (4GC) will launch a campaign in rural areas to educate residents about the government’s failure to tackle the country’s problems, says the group’s leader Matthias Mpuga.
Mpuga, who is also a parliamentarian, said by focusing on rural areas, the group hopes to avoid the government’s often violent crackdowns on protests in the capital, Kampala.
“The change of strategy is deliberate because hitherto, the regime in Kampala was engaged in running battles with us, using propaganda and bans against [our] original group A4C [Alliance for Change], which is in the constitutional court,” said Mpuga.
“What they have been trying to tell the people is that we are a rowdy group intent on causing chaos in the urban markets… but we knew at the core of our group are the very issues that affect the common man. So we say if the problem is Kampala, we will retreat and actually go and attack the very foundation of the regime,” said Mpuga.
Analysts say the large support base of the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) is mainly in rural Uganda. Mpuga said his group aims to erode that base in future elections.
“The regime for the last 20 years plus has survived on [propaganda] in the countryside and by raising false hopes. So, we say let’s take the issues to the people,” he said.
Some observers say the ruling party could feel threatened by the pressure group’s revised strategy and could deploy security forces to stop the activities of the 4GC.
“We are not oblivious to what the regime is capable of and in all that we do, we are weary of what the regime could do. We are planning accordingly, should the regime try to do what they know better,” said Mpuga.
Mpuga disagrees with critics who say the political pressure group will receive little or no media coverage when they embark on the countryside education campaign.
“I can tell you that we move with the media, they follow us… they know where [to find] the big news and that is why they are coming with us. We know that we will be properly covered,” said Mpuga.
The government has banned the 4GC saying the opposition-organized demonstrations and protests have often turned violent, as supporters clashed with police, especially in the capital, Kampala.
Constitutional analysts said the government’s declaration effectively criminalizes all of 4GC’s activities, including demonstrations and its planned walk-to-work campaigns.