It beats my understanding and I guess yours too when opposition parties, figures and crusaders of change instead opt for their self interests and forget the interest s of all Ugandans who yearn for change towards, during and after elections.
They always turn against each other yet they all have the same objectives and dream of ending Museveni’s reign of terror, all Ugandans keep guessing if there’s a political force that possesses them to start sprintering and hitting dead ends even before elections.
Drawing vivid observations from the previous general Elections, in 1996, DP and UPC despite a ban on political parties then put aside their long standing differences and under the banner of the Inter-party Forces for Corporation (IPFC) supported the presidential candidacy of DPs Paul Ssemwogerere against Museveni who by then had been in power for only 10 years but he defeated them.
However, without a signed agreement in 2001, the opposition parties namely Conservative Party (CP), the Democratic Party( DP) and the Uganda People’s Congress (UPC) still joined the Reform Agenda, a pressure group like you see People Power Now for those who had broken ranks with the NRM and decided to field Dr Kiiza Besigye who was the new kid on the block then like you see Bobi wine against Museveni in 2001.
The Reform Agenda was met with disdain when big political parties like UPC and UPC felt they are too big to work with a pressure group suffered a set back when their support vanished even before the general Elections.
Born out of a pressure group similar to People power now, the Reform Agenda changed its position to Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) currently Uganda’s strongest Opposition party was registered in 2004 and it’s president Besigye still ran against Museveni in 2006 after the return of multi party politics in the referendum of 2005.
Unlike the two previous elections then, most of the strong political parties fielded Presidential Candidates with UPC fronting wife to fallen president Miria Kalule Obote, DP fronting former Kampala Mayor Dr Ssebana Kizito all against Museveni who still won the splitted opposition.
However towards the 2011 elections, opposition got back to the original script of working together for a common cause and on 5th August 2008 they adopted a protocol of unity and togetherness. Parties like the Justice Forum (JEEMA),CP, UPC, DP and FDC all ganged I the interest of unity against NRM. However as it’s the case DP did not consent to the additional protocol while UPC signed but jumped off five months before elections.
In the recent Elections of 2016, opposition political parties championed by the Democratic Party as always together with FDC developed the concept of The Democratic Alliance (TDA) which according to me was pressure from donors. The alliance failed to field a reliable candidate after Dr Kiiza Besigye pulling out of the process. Shamefully at the end I believe under the influence of money and promises, TDA headed by Norbert Mao ended up handing over the United political favor to the former NRM secretary general and prime Minister John Patrick Amama Mbabazi who had set up a pressure group dubbed Going Forward and didn’t rise a reasonable percentage as a joint candidate.
Drawing a live example from our immediate neighbor in the East, Opposition coalitions have proved a deal and have put up a spirited fight with Unity and beyond doubt they have atleast won an election though denied victory.
In 2017, Kenya’s opposition strong hold Raila Odinga of the Orange Democratic Party moved to unite other Political parties to challenge Uhuru Kenyatta. Political Parties including the Wiper Party, KANU, Orange Democratic Party (ODM) and Musalia Mudavadi’s Amani Congress Party ganged up and fronted Raila Odinga to run against Uhuru Kenyatta’s Jubilee alliance with Deputy President William Ruto and indeed they felt the resistance of a United Opposition and indeed the Supreme Court headed by the Chief Justice David Maraga anuled Kenyatta’s victory and a new Election was organized though Odinga pulled out the race few weeks only to be welcomed to government for a Golden Handshake early in 2018.
The process for unity in opposition in Uganda as 2021 draws nearer has already started craving. The Democratic Party mid this year unveiled the DP block bring together Abed Bwanika’s PDP and SDP together with Bobi Wine’s People power, however with no clear explanation the DP block died at birth and Bobi Wine took another route.
The build up to the 2021 elections have already sparked off government games as usual with Dr Kiiza Besigye insisting Museveni can not go through an election. Besigye has for long vowed not to take part in Elections organized by Museveni but we end up seeing him on the ballot paper.
However, there are some indicators that Dr Kiiza Besigye is in talks with Bobi Wine for a common cause of unity but the Besigye we know can’t leave the struggle to front Bobi Wine and the DP block has already sounded an ultimatum for the two as of December 2019 to strike a deal if not many other opposition candidates will run for the country’s top job.
Now that 75-year-old Museveni has already been endorsed as a sole candidate by the NRM party’s Central Executive Committee (CEC) and the NRM parliamentary caucus, he has already started campaigns seeking to extend his rule to 40 years like any other president in East and Central Africa yet I 1986 he sounded a warning to leaders who overstay in power and also dissed leaders above 75 years of age that their vigor and ability to serve is so law.
This leaves many Ugandans guessing with un-answered questions like Will opposition Unite to field a single candidate, Can Besigye stand behind Bobi Wine or Museveni will pour cold water on all these arrangements and confuse them as usual with cash and empty promises.
The writer is a Content Editor at Opera News and prospective Political Analyst