FDC licking Wounds again after EALA Elections

Ofwono Opondo

March, 2, 17

The opposition firebrand party, Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) is gnashing teeth again after losing out on slots to send at least one representative to the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA), largely on account of its hostility, intransigence, and lack of strategy in dealing with the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM). Or perhaps some FDC leaders believe that hostility and inflexibility constitute a winning strategy. With NRM having 298 out of the 431 MPs, and additional support by 66 independents, it’s inconceivable how FDC ‘strategists’ hoped to triumph in a democratic vote using hostility when it has just 36 MPs some of whom it cannot even account on. The rejection of FDC candidates speaks against the defiance campaign to bring policy options instead of trying to bring Uganda to a standstill.
This is the second time in a row that the FDC will not be having representatives at EALA having refused in 2011 to cooperate with the NRM, as well as the other opposition parties the Democratic Party (DP), Uganda People’s Congress (UPC), JEEMA, and Conservative Party (CP) that had MPs in the 9th Parliament. FDC leaders ought to be reminded that time and society wait for no man who is unwilling to move forward, as indeed physics teaches us that nature abhors vacuum.
FDC leaders, particularly those following the four time presidential candidate loser, Dr Kizza Besigye, should that there a long and useful history in the politics of Uganda that blind hostility and intransigence in unhelpful for both the principle antagonist and the country. Way before the British granted Uganda independence, the ruling group at the feudal monarchy at Mmengo in Buganda tried to use the same strategy and tactic, and became sidelined. By the time they returned into mainstream independence politics in 1955, the DP, UPC and Uganda National Congress had planted a deep root in Buganda and throughout Uganda, thereby making Mmengo play a third fiddle, and the consequences have lived with us till today.
Most recently in 1986, when the NRA/M captured power from the UNLA military junta of Tito Okello Lutwa, the UPC which had itself been thrown out in a coup, refused to participate in the initial politics of the NRM, including barring its members from joining the Resistance committees, and National Resistance Council (NRC), the interim parliament. The UPC led by its Secretary General Mrs. Cecilia Atim Ogwal, the “Iron Lady,” refused to contribute views to the Justice Benjamin Odoki Constitution Commission towards the writing of a new national constitution. Ogwal was later dismissed by Obote for participating in the CA elections contrary to UPC position.
Cecilia Ogwal, was such a hostile firebrand living in the middle of Kampala city at Uganda House, although listening to the dictates of the deposed president and UPC leader Dr Apollo Milton Obote then in Lusaka, Zambia, and would make Kizza Begye pale by comparison. Ogwal couldn’t accept the sad reality that the NRA/M was here on a very strong basis bolstered by the very bad history of the UPC as a party that had ruled Uganda twice, and introduced extremism partisanship, one party state, fascism and bloodshed into our politics, and Ugandans broadly were yet unwilling to listen, to the UPC nonsense! Uganda was dripping with tears and blood.
It was on account of that UPC collapse, and intransigence, that the NRA/M succeeded within a relatively short span in mobilizing the country into its fold, supported by a weather beaten Democratic Party then led by Dr Paulo Kawanga Semogerere. In fact, Ssemogerere brought into the NRM government leadership the entire DP membership and leadership too including Sam Kutesa, Gerald Sendaula, Kisamba Mugerwa, Kafumbe Mukasa (RIP), Victoria Sekitoleko and Dr Sepeciosa Wandira Kazibwe to mention just a few, and they have never walked back to join Ssemogerere who has faded with the passage of time and age.
It will be recalled that when Ssemogerere s walked out of the NRM in 1996 to try his second bid as a presidential candidate, upon a decisive defeat, he asked all DP prospective parliamentary and local Council candidates to boycott the subsequent elections, and in their places new set of leaders emerged. Although Ssemogerere’s bid was supported by the UPC led by Ogwal, both parties had lost credibility which continues to haunt them to-date even though leadership has changed overtime.
Actually, it was on the ashes of Ssemogerere, DP and UPC that Besigye initially built his Reform Agenda in 2001, which has since metamorphosed into FDC, and perhaps no wonder, the politics of hostility, belligerence, factionalism, spreading hate, false alarm and calculated lies continue to be the dominant features of FDC. While the stage is set for a major confrontation within FDC between the radical malcontents, and a more reasonable faction led by Mugisha Muntu, it’s clear, Ugandans are tired and won’t accept an over-bearing group. We must seek ways of building the politics of moderation and accommodation which President Yoweri Museveni is trying to do but usually misunderstood as bribery by his opponent, or not caring by some within the NRM who accuse him of hobnobbing with the opposition.