The Namboole DP delegates conference of 2005, was my last as a DP. Many others took my path, others just went dump.
Things were not usual and you could predict what would happen to DP, years up front. I therefore can’t be surprised with the emerging fights. They are results of seeds of discord that can only be traced before the return of multiparty rule.
For example, the episodes that were triggered by DP president Norbert Mao’s castigation of Betty Nambooze’s action, are not different from those that preceeded the collapsed DP national delegates conference of 2000, that the then DP secretary general Mariano Drametu had called, but rejected by the then PG – Dr. Semwogerere. The events were later to lead to the sacking of nearly the whole NEC, and a powerful sprinter that laid ground for the creation of the FDC (years later).
At that time, the non Ganda DP believed that DP or any other party was stronger without Buganda. (Could be the reason they behaved the way they did on forming the FDC later. But is FDC any stronger, anyway!) For the DPs then, they argued that without Buganda, DP had won the national elections of 1961. But that was then….
So Friday’s events reawakened a deeper thinking in me, about politics in Uganda, and a thought that I will not delve in today. My issue today is what’s wrong in the DP that has had them return to 2000?
Frustration of not realising regime change is a killing all parties. Just like the frustration that characterised the biblical
Exodus of the Isrealites from Egypt to the promised land, many people in the DP have given up. Their belief that Museveni will go, has eroded, just like a piece of soap. They have thus chosen to either directly cooperate with their tormentors on specific project – the way Hon Mukasa Fred Mbidde chose on EALA; or indirectly through constitutional positions as MPs, thus creating an arrivalism syndrome.
This syndrome creates class objectives for those in positions, different from those of the ground supporters aspiring for regime change.
There is also the death of the intellectual debates and faultlines that naturally grow strong parties. It’s now uncommon for debate in the DP to focus on deeper ideological thinking which would be the ideal foundation for sustainable youth recruitment, thinking and motivation. Such current faultlines like – GOOD and BAD DP, are shallow, limited and at best a deterrent to recruitment of young and energetic thinkers. As such recruitment has taken a simplistic path of Wenfunira, bribery or expectation of quicker returns. Parties like the ANC have had worse challanges than what the DP is going through, but because of their deeper stream of ideology, they always find their way.
Lastly, is the localisation of the National struggle. We fail to know who is a local leader and who is a national leader. You can’t be a national party leader and you spend half of your term in office not having stepped in different regions. How do you expect to win your party support or even make rational decisions. 90% of the key DP leader are victims of localisation and its one of the reasons that party is tightly in the hands of Nobert, Fred and team.
Just ask yourself, the DP is fighting for a seat in Aruu, where its the only party fielding a candidate against NRM. Mao, Dr Siranda and team are camped in Aruu, why aren’t the DP leaders in Buganda bothered (if at all they know about it anyway)?
To most, DP ends at their constituency. Unless they reangage, both the DP and themselves will end up at the messy of the uncouth.
I have known DP quite deeply, and I want to assure you, Mao is by far the greatest national leader you have had for a while. He is a real asset, that DP might take time to replace, the way the once mighty UYD never recovered from a strong Leandre Komakech and a Michael Mabikke. The DP should seat itself down and search for a proactive and accomodative approach. If they don’t and urgently, they might never discover the attributes their president has a strong nationally recognised leader, just like the Baganda of the 60s didn’t see in Ben Kiwanuka.
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