The issue of different tendencies, strategies or approaches is no longer a secret in Uganda’s largest opposition political party. In 2011 after the general elections, the party leadership which I was part of agreed to adopt non violence – defiance. However, the party maintained Party development and organisation as one of the core strategic objectives. The reason behind Dr Kizza Besigye’s resignation was with a view of allowing him ample time to focus on non violence – defiance. It’s important to note that well as party development is fourteen years, Non violence or defiance is seven years. Both approaches have not succeeded in kicking out this regime.
In 2012 campaigns based on party development – organization and non violence or activism started to emerge in the party. The delegates at that time chose party development and organization and this was proceeded by the next election for Party Presidential flag bearer in 2015 where voting was based on non participation ” defiance” and participation in elections. Ultimately, the delegates voted for defiance – non participation without electoral reforms. Interestingly, what many political analysts didn’t point out was that the strategy or approach that was not voted for by the delegates is the one which was applied, reason! there were no reforms and the party participated in the elections. One would honestly ask why the campaigns were based on these two tendencies and tension therein yet the party was to participate in the 2016 elections at the end of the day with or without reforms! This matter is not so unique or rather different from the current situation in the party. In the just concluded party presidential elections where Hon. Amuriat Oboi emerged the winner, his team maintained that it was wrong for the Gen. Muntu Party President 2012 – 2015 to appoint the parliamentary leadership ” LOP”.
One candidate Hon. Munyagwa Mubarak said that his first task if elected PP would be to disband leadership in Parliament. He however pulled out of the race in favour of candidate Amuriat on the reasoning that they shared similar plans and manifesto. For consistency and record purposes, is FDC not going to have leadership in Parliament? Those who advance the view of having a leader of Minority in Parliament instead of the Leader of Opposition. Leader of Minority is not provided for in the Parliamentary Rules of procedure and the constitution of Uganda! This requires an amendment both in the Constitution and Parliamentary rules of procedures. This will create a crisis. This honest discussion must begin now to avoid embarrassment when the contract of the current Leader of Opposition and the shadow cabinet elapse. The review is done after two years and half. On defiance or Organisation ” party development” the party leadership must honestly dialogue on these two strategies to avoid further inconsistencies.
I know for sure it’s party development or organisation that will be applied in the party whether deliberately or unconsciously. If the current party leader succeeds in reclaiming the victory in the next three years of his office, shall the party continue to apply “defiance” while in government? This will not be different from NRM which has remained a “Resistance Movement” while in power.
That said, at the end of the day, any sane persons will sit down and ask themselves why there should always be tension during FDC campaigns in respect to these strategies if are not for purposes of excitement!
Lastly, my humble appeal, the party leadership has one big task to unite, to facilitate the healing process because of the nature of campaigns that dominated the party presidential campaigns. In the same vein one wonders if the leaders who believe in party development or organisation have no more space in the party, previously both approaches were accommodated. All this requires tolerance, political maturity and respect for each other. Should victimisation of those who believe in organization continue, there is no doubt chances of winning an election, taking power through defiance will become very slim if not absent. The party leadership should be at the centre of facilitating party cohesion, respect and tolerance than advancing the politics of hate, moles, let them go back to M7, our party is back! This language if allowed to go ahead will not leave the party one and the same. This takes me back to the manner in which we campaigns are conducted internally in party! why hurt, castigate and victimise yourselves? In human nature, there are wounds that remain fresh in the people’s hurt. If they asked my dear wife if am a night dancer “musezi” and she says that she doesn’t know whether I am or not! I will immediately begin to doubt her if she really loves and understands me as a person and a spouse! At least defending me at that particular time point and asking me later would be the logical and an ideal thing to do.
The other day I heard some FDC leaders say that those who want to leave the party should go! That is not the language a serious leader who is still engaged in recruitment of members should use! The party targets to recruit from other political parties, in other words the party doesn’t recruit political virgins only. Those who have studied political party organisation will agree with me that recruitment is not an end in itself but consolidation of members is equally very key. Consolidation in commerce or monetary terms is saving. You can’t recruit and you don’t consolidate, it’s like earning and spending all! You essentially remain a needy and a seasonal person or organisation all through.
FDC must for once decide to avoid inconsistencies. Today there are leaders in the FDC who are discouraging members not to attempt to think or dream about the next election in 2021 before reclaiming the 2016 election victory! Little do such leaders know that even the party in power is already preparing for next election. Such tendencies have been the cause of inadequate preparation for the party explaining it’s poor performance at Parliamentary and Local government levels.
In 2016 elections there are many FDC leaders and members who were disqualified from voting because they were not registered voters on the basis of non participation without reforms. Every after general elections, there is always a feeling of not participating in the next election. Our experience shows that we don’t live by our feelings or what we promise. Let’s style up for once to avoid inconsistencies. FDC can not continue to be unpredictable in the face of the public. One clear and honest massage is ideal.
One Uganda One People
Kaaya Rajab Sema
Adult Educator/Career Politician