The National Delegates Conference of the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) can be described as a success, given the level of maturity and tolerance exhibited by those who contested for party positions yesterday.
In the past the FDC elections have been a show of intolerance, back-stabbing and malice, making the biggest opposition party in Uganda a disreputable organization, unable to provide alternative guidance to the voters. World over opposition parties are supposed to hold the respective governments accountable to the people and also act like a government-in-waiting, initiating policies that are relevant to the electorate. This therefore, means that their personnel should be above reproach, while the party’s integrated activities are supposed to be credible.
But before the just-concluded FDC elections what we have been seeing is the opposite; internal in-fighting and lack of party cohesion at almost all levels of top leadership of the Official Opposition, almost culminating into stagnation of the party activities.
Indeed, to better understand the problems that dog Uganda’s opposition parties, a sneak peek into the recent elections of the Uganda Peoples Congress will reveal the rot that characterizes most other parties. Even before the UPC delegates conference, there were obvious divisions, with the most vile pitting former president Dr Olara Otunnu against president-elect Jimmy Akena and party stalwart David Pulkol.
In the Democratic Party, the situation is no better; there are in-fights at almost all levels of leadership, with claims that the party leader Norbert Mao had to abandon office
Also, the once-bitter-but-now-receding divisions in the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) party that pitted the Chairman against his erstwhile Secretary General should be of concern to the populace since it is the organization in charge of the day-to-day affairs of state.
Such scenarios beg the questions: How can a party with a Constitution to boot fail to resolve internal differences? Secondly, how can party members simply look on as individual egos derail the activities of a party?
It is only genuine answers to these questions that can provide a glimmer of hope for political pluralism in Uganda.