Death of traditional political parties; A bleak legacy

Death of traditional political parties; A bleak legacy
Can NRM live up to its promises?

As the National Resistance Movement (NRM) completes its 38-year reign, the once-vibrant traditional political parties find themselves on the brink of closure. Struggling to collaborate with the government they criticize, these parties face an existential crisis, prompting a closer examination of the factors contributing to their demise.

In 1986, the NRM, driven by the principles of building, strengthening, and maintaining the rule of law, democracy, and good governance, captured the hearts of Ugandans. While multipartyism was not initially a priority, the government eventually granted it in 2005. This marked the resurgence of traditional political parties such as the Democratic Party and Uganda People's Congress, as they embarked on a journey to garner support across the nation.

Despite over 20 years under a movement system, the political support, strength, and momentum of these traditional parties remained seemingly unaffected. However, the reintroduction of multipartyism proved to be a turning point, as the parties began to experience a gradual decline in their influence. Now, after 38 years of NRM rule, these parties find themselves faded shadows of their former glory.

Kennedy Mutenyo, Chairperson of the Electoral Commission for the Democratic Party, and Fred Ebil, Secretary-General of the Uganda People's Congress, acknowledge the decline but attribute it to the actions of the NRM government.

Mutenyo and Ebil claim that the NRM misled Ugandans by accepting the return of multipartyism while simultaneously suppressing its opponents. In response, the NRM government dismisses these allegations, expressing bewilderment at receiving only blackmail from those it supports.

Dr Chris Baryomunsi, the Minister for ICT, criticizes opposition parties for their failure to build strong ideologies that would sustain them. The blame game between the government and the opposition intensifies, creating a stalemate.

Political analyst Prof. Sabiiti Makara, however, places responsibility on the traditional political parties themselves. He questions why these parties engage with their oppressors and suggests that they backtrack to save themselves from complete dissolution.

Prof. Makara asserts that the NRM only reintroduced multipartyism due to pressure from democrats, lacking genuine commitment to the principles it entails. He warns traditional political party actors to brace for the worst if they intend to survive under the same NRM government.

As the spotlight remains on traditional political parties, the nation watches with bated breath to see if they can navigate these challenging times and salvage themselves from ultimate dissolution, a fate that would consign them to the pages of history. The death of traditional political parties looms large, leaving a sombre legacy in its wake.

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