As 2016 draws near, the race for presidency arguably is getting to concern as political parties prepare to field their preferred choices. But is history about to repeat itself? Could this debate now raging in this country over electoral reforms and political momentum it is generating more so with the parliament’s passing of the “electoral reforms” determine the Museveni succession?
Let us rewind, in the 1996 general elections, the leaders of Multi-party democracy who included Democratic Party (DP), Uganda Peoples Congress (UPC) among others formed a united front which was initially called the Inter-Party Cooperation (IPC) which was later objected by the interim Electoral Commission (IEC)on accounts that political parties were still banned. The members harmonized it into Inter-Party Forces Cooperation (IPFC) and fronted Paul Kawanga Ssemogerere as their joint candidate. He was challenged by the incumbent president Museveni in that election.s 2016 draws near, the race for presidency arguably is getting to concern as political parties prepare to field their preferred choices. But is history about to repeat itself? Could this debate now raging in this country over electoral reforms and political momentum it is generating more so with the parliament’s passing of the “electoral reforms” determine the Museveni succession?
In 2011, the opposition attempted to rally behind FDC’s Kiiza Besigye under the IPC but failed due to differences in the individual parties. The failure at the time stemmed from disagreements on whether to participate in the elections or not to. Where some section of members were against a move to participate in the elections arguing that the EC was incapable of running a free and fair election. Members ended up splitting the coalition.
With the 2016 general elections setting in, Ugandan political sphere is seeming taking a new shape with a new development of The Democratic Alliance (TDA) where the amalgamation of various political parties have all been brought under this same Umbrella including the recent inclusion of the former Prime Minister Rt. Hon. Amama Mbabazi as an independent candidate under the eminent persons.
Despite all this, there are issues rotating around the 2016 general elections that we cannot let go minus talking about. Of course, as the opposition prepares to front one candidate, the ruling party National Resistance Movement (NRM) which arguably remain the dominant political force in the country already has its sole candidate in President Museveni, the opposition must speak one voice in order to win the ruling party which enjoys among other privileges, the state machinery including the army, police, access to the national treasury etc.
Already, Democratic Party’s Mao knows he cannot win an election with his party and the only way to win is in the forces and maintain the relevancy of DP in the national politics.
Besigye joins TDA as a continuation of the failed 2010 IPC and he is fully aware that it will be one candidate perhaps fronted by the opposition if they are to win an election.
Amama Mbabazi has gone to the campaigns where he has already declared that at the end of everything, he is going to be president of Uganda. In his insinuations, he has already undermined the choice in TDA by stating his position. And this posse a question in TDA perhaps to answer of whether we can bow down to you or you can bow down to us. It is a question of ego. The FDC fears that Amama cannot just walk over from the ruling party and takes over the opposition. He says he has already launched the go forward campaign and further thinks it is his time to contest against president Museveni. And he is using TDA as a platform to foster his position that he has a backing of the Besigye supporters.
But as these internal disagreements continue to emanate, one wants to ask, does the opposition and TDA have an agenda? If their main agenda is making sure that Museveni is not the next president of Uganda, then these TDA aspirants should get to harmonize their positions themselves and decide on who the candidate should be. Then there shall be a consensus built on influencers.
When he comes to the TDA, Amama has no justification to associate with the opposition. The reason for this one may want to argue he has been the castigator of the opposition and at the center stage of all sorts of evils done by the current government and thus cannot fit in the shoes of the Opposition.
However since he identifies himself with the opposition, one thing that the opposition must embrace is fronting the issues that at the moment, this country needs change not based on the personality. And I think when he preaches that, he will definitely buy from the opposition as well as in the ruling NRM that believes in him.
Now another question that still haunts the opposition is the electoral commission and whether it is independent or not. There is a lot of plunder as well as blunders being committed by EC. In the first instance, Badru Kigundu (the EC boss) is not an implementer of the law, first he is not parliament, he has no powers to interpret the law and he has no powers to make the law. His duty therefore is to set guidelines that aspirants are going to follow in the elections.
However from what we see, because he has no powers, other key stakeholders including the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Gen. Kayihura and the Attorney General Fred Ruhindi can only come in to sit on his sides in order for him to be comfortable to address the presidential candidates that Amama Mbabazi is only doing rallies instead of consultative meetings.
The police boss uses his authority as IGP and he wants to stop the rally but he doesn’t have any way to do it. This is why he uses Badru Kigundu to carry out an illegality of stopping Amama. While our constitution is very silent about the nature of consultative meetings. All our laws don’t describe what should constitute of a meeting. It is only Public Order Management Act (POMA) that talks about.
The police’s involvement is of course portrayed as sectarian and seemingly preparing for the 2016 general election. This is manifested in the massive recruits of many youth in the forces as crime preventers, and other militia groups being trained such as the infamous Kakooza Mutale’s