By Wilberforce Seryanzi
The recent betrayal of the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) by the Democratic Party (DP) and the Uganda Peoples Congress (UPC) and the ensuing drama during the East African Legislative Assembly elections was so absurd but a blessing in disguise.
As a member of the FDC, I have sharply disagreed with some of our leaders that cooperation with other parties must be done with a lot of scepticism if at all. My argument being that for a strong democracy to shrive there must exist a strong opposition, but to have a strong opposition we need strong political organisations based on ideology, strong leadership, transparency and accountability among others; that without building our own political parties into strong and sound organisations, a viable democracy will remain a dream; that the other political parties are too weak and too disorganised to add value to the opposition. DP can only operate in a few areas of Buganda just like the UPC in Lango sub-region, forgetting that what Ugandans need are not regional/ethnic interests but national unity, justice, accountability and equitable distribution of wealth. These parties are too fractionised to know which faction to deal with….Mao or Namboze faction? Is it the Otunnu or Rwanyarare faction?
Some leaders in these parties are opportunists who want to use FDC for personal gain, akin to a skater who skates smoothly on a slope and on a hill they hold onto a vehicle for a free ride. That is why, during elections, they negotiate with FDC to withdraw its candidates where they have a candidate. I was afraid like a farmer will fear to hire an infected bull to mount his cows as it might infect the whole kraal. Merging for an election was therefore myopic because the big picture of politics is not just removing a government but transforming a nation into a free society with accountable leadership. Politics is not an event but the road to a better political, social and economic environment for posterity. Uganda is better off with one strong opposition party than a conglomeration of weak political parties calling itself the opposition.
The dishonesty during the EALA elections hugely cost FDC, but must be used as an opportunity to build the party as it has shown that the political divide in Uganda is between the ruling NRM and themselves. Serious questions as to what value the alliances in IPC and with Suubi added to the opposition must be analysed. That the leader of opposition intends to deal with individuals from these parties is another trap that must be skipped. These individual should rather be given time to rebuild their parties. Ephesians 5:15-16…look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, because the days are evil.
It is quite absurd that FDC was treacherously edged out but the charisma and energies that the candidates used during their primaries should be directed towards strengthening their party. The vacuum created by Dr Besigye’s departure as party leader and his dismal participation in the party activities in favour of the walk-to-work must be filled immediately.
There is need to carry out the party national elections as soon possible and start planning and strategising for the future. It should be built into a mass party that is bigger than its leaders, with national character and strong leadership for there are many Ugandans if not majority who lost confidence in the old political parties and have lost faith in the NRM government.
The writer is a lawyer and former FDC candidate for Entebbe Municipality