Veteran politicians analyze challenges faced by post-1986 political parties

Veteran politicians analyze challenges faced by post-1986 political parties
DP Secretary General addresses the press

Despite numerous political parties emerging in Uganda after the 1986 liberation war, their common goal of ousting President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni and the National Resistance Movement (NRM) has proven elusive.

Veteran politicians and political researchers attribute these struggles to the parties being founded on weak and outdated revolutionary principles imported from abroad, which they argue are not applicable in the Ugandan context.

Uganda boasts a lengthy list of registered political parties, many of which surfaced after President Museveni assumed power in 1986. Parties such as FDC, ANT, JEEMA, NUP, and CP, all formed with the objective of unseating Museveni, continue to grapple with this challenge nearly four decades later.

NRM strategists argue that they have capitalized on the weaknesses of opposition parties, which they accuse of merely preaching rhetoric like "Museveni aende" (Museveni should go) without addressing the underlying issues faced by the people.

Emmanuel Dombo, a spokesperson for NRM, commented,

"Their only message is Museveni should leave instead of addressing the problems facing the people."

In a series of elections from 1996 to 2021, President Museveni consistently outshone candidates from these post-1986 political parties, defeating figures like Kiiza Besigye of FDC and Robert Kyagulanyi of the newly formed NUP.

Veteran politician Capt. Francis Babu and political scholar Rev. Dr. Simon Feta find this lack of success unsurprising.

"When Ugandans saw revolution leading to a change of power in Cuba and eventually in Uganda in 1986, everyone grouped and formed political parties to achieve this through defiance, not knowing that it can't work in Uganda," remarked Capt. Francis Babu.

Dr. Feta added,"All these parties are seeking to uproot Museveni instead of going out to mobilize the communities."

Over the years, revolutionary programs like "Walk to Work," "Tubalemese," "Red Card," and "People Power" were initiated but yielded little success. Capt. Francis Babu and Rev. Dr. Simon Feta believe that the political parties' failure can be attributed to weak strategies and suggest that a shift towards utilizing legal means and leveraging systems friendly to Uganda might bring about some gains.

"They are confused because they have failed to accept their failures," noted one source, emphasizing the need for a paradigm shift. "The law has to be given six wings to fly like angels to allow parties to address NRM dominance."

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