The Forum for Democratic Change’s process of selecting a 2021 election flag bearer was concluded a few days back with the party’s President Hon. Engineer Patrick Oboi Amuriat edging out seasoned diplomat Ambassador Wasswa Biriggwa to become the party’s flag bearer in the 2021 presidential election.
What is it like in other parties?
Having gone over the tag of the party being a ‘Besigye party’ as those who didn’t support him often retorted, the FDC caught all the country’s major political parties off when Col. Besigye chose to stay away.
While the FDC over came this sole candidature hurdle without a lot of hustle fellow opposition parties NUP, DP, ANT and UPC seem to have fallen straight into the sole candidature trap.
The almost dead UPC once the party in power during the country’s early days has a party President who can not relinquish his seat even when the courts let him know he is occupying it illegally. Even though Hon. Jimmy Akena won’t be standing for the country’s Presidency any time soon, he seems to be sure about one thing, he will be UPC’s sole President as long as he lives no matter what happens. And unless God in Heaven himself intervenes personally to save the once mighty People’s Congress from the ‘first son’ who seems determined with external support to see his personal interests with in and outside the party supersede those of UPC even when they seem to be killing it, the party is properly dead and rotting with him as sole President.
Enter Democratic Party and things are just slightly better. If UPC is already in a morgue waiting to be taken for burial, DP remains in comatose state and may be just may breathe away from demise. Having had Hon. Nobert Mao bounce back as President in a DP delegates conference in his home turf of Gulu recently nothing new is expected of him besides appearing on the ballot paper come 2021 to lose miserably again having stifled any real competition in the party completely and effectively. This leaves him a ‘happy’ sole presidential candidate of DP until further notice given the core of the Baganda elite he was fighting opted to leave.
New kids on the block National Unity Platform seem to be drinking from the same cup when it comes to stifling internal democracy. When controversial journalist Andrew Mwenda picked forms to stand against Kyagulanyi for the party’s Presidency a few months ago, he was lambasted for trying to bring his gimmicks into serious issues and told off handily by the NUP social media army. While Andrew Mwenda wasn’t really serious about his bid, the message was clear to whoever was interested in competing for Kyagulanyi’s seat, he is NUP’s sole presidential candidate until further notice.
ANT has not been any better either as we have hardly seen any competitive process take place within the young party in spite of the fact that many of its founding members left FDC in the guise of searching for favourable space to engage in more fair and competitive politics. Mugisha Muntu will definitely turn out their sole candidate for the next few presidential elections unless they shock us and follow the FDC route which seems unlikely given the party bosses can’t stand losing and that’s why they ventured out to form ANT.
When it comes to the NRM, internal dynamics in the party have clearly shown to all sundry you can touch anything else and enjoy some form of democracy there but don’t dare challenge the Party’ National Chairman and consistent sole presidential candidate for his position. The unwritten rule remains, the big man’s chair is a no go area leaving FDC the last one standing when it comes to democracy at the helm.
And while the emergence of NUP seems to have gotten FDC on its back foot, allowing systems and democracy to flourish internally will most likely leave the party going strong in the long term while the rest of the pack will crumble due to lack of real internal democracy.
The Author is senior analyst and media strategist at Consulting Firm Brothers Intelligence LLC
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