UGANDA: DEMOCRATIC PARTY LEADS THE PROCESS OF TRANSITION, WANTS SINGLE CANDIDATE AGAINST MUSEVENI

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DP’s Okidi Christopher (L) and Dr. Gerald Siranda (R) at NUMEC

“DP is to lead the process of transition by ensuring that opposition files a single candidate against NRM candidates in all elective positions throughout Uganda. Where Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) is strong, we shall file FDC candidate against NRM and where DP is stronger in a particular constituency we shall file DP candidate. We want DP to be the engine of change in this country; whether we are in power ourselves or another party it does not matter”

“Look at Tunisia, Egypt and Sudan: those who removed those who were in power are not the ones ruling those countries today. It is not easy to remove a government that has been in power for thirty-three years. We need to complement each other as opposition”

GULU-UGANDA: Uganda’s oldest political party, the Democratic Party (DP) will be celebrating its sixty-fifth birthday on September 27, 2019. The day will be celebrated either in Gulu in northern Uganda, the birthplace of the party, or in Mbarara in Western Uganda, and the birthplace of General Yoweri Museveni’s National Resistance Movement (NRM) party. Mr. Museveni has been in power for thirty-three years uninterrupted.

There is every reason for DP to celebrate its birthday considering the fact that it has not been easy for this party because of the various political upheavals and storms which ravaged this bananas Republic since independence in 1962, including the murder of its founding father, the late Benedicto Kiwanuka by Dictator Idi Amin Dada. He body has been buried in an unmarked grave and the party has so far failed to exhume his remains for decent reburial.

On Thursday August 8, 2019, the Secretary General of the party, Dr. Siranda Gerald Blacks led a group of party faithful to Northern Uganda Media Club (NUMEC) for a press conference during which he announced that the party is to take the lead in the process of transition from Mr. Museveni to the younger generation.

“DP is to lead the process of transition by ensuring that opposition files a single candidate against NRM candidate in all elective positions throughout Uganda. Where Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) is strong, we shall file FDC candidate against NRM and where DP is stronger in a particular constituency we shall file DP candidate. We want DP to be the engine of change in this country; whether we are in power ourselves or another party it does not matter”, he says.

He says the uniting factor is the single purpose of dislodging the NRM party in the 2021 general election. He says the alliance will neither be like the Reform Agenda of 2001 nor the Democratic Alliance (TDA) of 2016, but will be compared to the revolution in Egypt, Tunisia and Sudan where those who led the revolutions are not the ones ruling those three countries today.

“Look at Tunisia, Egypt and Sudan: those who removed those who were in power are not the ones ruling those countries today. It is not easy to remove a government that has been in power for thirty-three years. We need to complement each other as opposition”, he says.

According to the Uganda Young Democrats leader, Mr. Okidi Christopher, his party solicited for funds from a donor he did not name to go to the grassroots in the country to re-energize the party, find out challenges and build capacity of its leaders at grassroots in order to realize the noble cause.

He says Uganda has been having series of issues like economic meltdown, unemployment, poverty, corruption, nepotism, and insecurity and the role of DP is to go to the grassroots to disseminate the right policy and message to facilitate the ouster of Dictator Yoweri Museveni In 2021.

“Coalition is a viable thing. You cannot remove a party that has been in power as a single opposition party. We want to put in place a building block which can unite all opposition parties. Norbert Mao (leader of DP) is like a building block. We need strong allies who can give and take. There are people within NRM who are also tired of NRM but they don’t know where to go”, he says.

This is not the first time Ugandans are forming a coalition in order to achieve power. The first one was by Milton Obote’s Uganda Peoples’ Congress (UPC) party and the Kabaka Yeeka (KY) of Buganda Kingdom which was formed solely for the purpose of defeating DP in the 1962 general election which ushered in independence in October 1962. This coalition fell apart in 1966 in what became known as the ‘1966 Uganda Crisis’; which crisis gave birth to the brutal regime of Idi Amin in a 1971 military coup.

The second coalition was the Uganda National Liberation Front/Army (UNLF/A), formed in 1978 in Moshi city in Tanzania by exiled Ugandans with the sole aim of removing Idi Amin. Although they succeeded in removing Amin in April 1979, the political wing was dissolved following the general election of 1980 which ushered in Obote II. This election gave birth to Museveni’s five bloody bush war called National Resistance Army/Movement (NRA/M).

When the 1995 Constitution was promulgated on October 8, 1995, Uganda held its first general election in 1996 where political parties were free to participate. Uganda Peoples’ Congress (UPC), Conservative party (CP) and DP filed Dr. Paul Kawanga Ssemogerere of DP against Museveni in 1996. Dr. Abed Bwanika’s Peoples’ Development Party (PDP) refused to join the coalition and stood as a third candidate. General Museveni had a field day.

In 2001, Reform Agenda (RA) was formed by disgruntled members of the three main political parties; UPC, DP and NRM with the sole purpose of wrestling power from Mr. Museveni. It later became a political party on its own; The Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) and its founding president, Dr. Kizza Besigye, has been challenging Museveni since then, but without success.

The last coalition was ‘The Democratic Alliance’ (TDA) which was boycotted by FDC and several smaller parties in 2016 election where its candidate, John Patrick Amama Mbabazi trailed when the final results was declared.

It is not clear if FDC and the latest political pressure group, ‘People Power’ of youthful Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine will join forces with DP the block and file a single presidential candidate in 2021 to defeat General Museveni.

It will be interesting to watch political gymnastics at play in 2021.

 

 

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