By Mike Ssegawa
It’s not news anymore that Democratic party leaders particularly party president Norbert Mao and Fred Mukasa Mbidde his deputy, have proved they are not democrats, rather they have all along admired the methods of the oppressor only that they were not in position to use those methods.
The duo ruthlessly stopped one of their own Betty Nambooze from holding a regional conference fearing she wanted to turn the party against them.
Fate is a bad joker. Who ever thought DP leaders can use the brutal hand of the police to beat other members into submission? These were methods of UPC against DP, which have been also employed by the National Resistance Movement.
How days fly so fast! Democratic Party and Uganda People Congress were for more than two decades the two big boys in the country. DP however was viewed as non violent, always peaceful, that when they were rigged out in 1980 elections, they sat with the thief to pursue peace over blood.
Yoweri Museveni, however, picked guns and waged a war on behalf of DP. After causing death and destruction, Museveni came to power in 1986 but had demonized UPC whose leaders were called names such as greedy, killers, swine, and ruthless. Who ever thought DP too would one day have leaders who could be described in the same breath. Now you have Mao and Mbidde.
Well, UPC is to blame for mothering two other leaders that have made Uganda cry like helpless orphans. The first was president Idi Amin who overthrew his boss Milton Obote in 1971, and supervised over a reign of terror on the population before declaring himself president for life. Now Uganda has another UPC son in President Yoweri Museveni who also waged war against his former boss Obote, and has been in power for 31 years and the country isn’t seeing his exit, anytime soon. Amin and Museveni share in common their failure to appreciate that the country called Uganda is big enough for everyone…and not being president is an option. So they both rule by the gun and have banner political parties as vehicles for power sharing or transition. Do Mbidde and Mao share this approach as a means of gaining and keeping power? From the look of things, they do.
So Amin banned political parties, and Museveni too outlawed them until he couldn’t hold on any longer. However, he resolved that multi parties will not flourish under him. So, he has invested a lot in disorganizing them to his advantage.
So he fishes leaders from UPC and DP, weakening or dividing them by compromising their leaders. Parties which once flourished are now shells of their former selves.
The person who loathes political competition, in form of political parties, will go down to suppress any emerging dissent from their party, like we saw Museveni doing to Amama Mbabazi. Isn’t this what Mao and Mbidde are doing?
Today, the two once powerful parties find themselves on the same side, fighting for survival in the rough sea which can swallow any of them or both if nothing drastic to save them takes place. If Mao and Mbidde love DP more than their positions, they would see Nambooze’s meetings as good for causing a debate in the party, and so its vibrancy.
However, something terrible has happened in Ugandan parties. They too are captive.
The two oldest parties in the country face a rival who confesses he has belonged to both, but despises them from the bottom of his heart. For Museveni knows he’s smarter than the other managers of political parties in Uganda and that was reason he’s president for over three decades, after the two parties lost their opportunity to lead.
The agitation for political parties space which characterized the first years of Museveni rule who had banned multi parties gave rise to NRM which in its core and DNA was organized as a one party state.
There could be a semblance of democracy in the country though recent events point to something else.