By Michael Woira
Political parties are at it again!, Instead of being genuine organizations and vehicles for influencing government policy and development agenda, they are fast turning into tribal enclaves. While the path to ethnic orientation of parties is deeply rooted in Uganda since Independence, different parties belonged to different kinds of people. Democratic party belonged to the Catholics and many if not all of its followers were Catholics and mainly Baganda and the same was for Kabaka Yekka (KY).This couldn’t happen again at this moment when the president is trying as much as possible to make sure that we have a united and peaceful country that can stand the test of peace, unity and democracy.
From the past, the Democratic Party was led by Paul Ssemwogerere for 25 years until his retirement in November 2005 then John Ssebana Kizito took over from him and led the party until February 2010, when Norbert Mao was elected party president of the party but looking at the past presidents of the party and the history of the party you can observe that it’s been so tribal favoring only those from the central region.
As we can all remember that on December 31, 1964, history was made when the then Leader of Opposition Basil Bataringaya with five other MPs from DP crossed the floor and joined the UPC which did not go well with the DP leadership. The DP members that decided to join UPC were; Francis Mugeni, M. K. Patel, James Ochola, MP South East Bukedi, Stanislaus Okurut, and Joseph Magara. These members decided to cross to the ruling party because they saw their own party was not performing as required and that’s the same situation happening now to the DP.
Us as viewers have been treated to several exchanges and drama between the leaders of this very old barren party, late last year the president during the State of the Nation address stressed that he was also once in the Democratic Party but he later left because he saw nothing good staying in the party that had unserious leaders.
Therefore, Ugandans should know that the political class is busy building tribal groupings and whipping up ethnic support. It is bad for the country; it stifles democracy, promotes insecurity, and scares away investors. It is bad for our children and their future to keep on having such divisions amongst us.
Tribal groupings are being launched at the expense of internal democracy in parties, which is sacrificed for self-survival. For as long as there is always conflict between current leaders and upcoming leadership, internal party processes take second place and patriotism is compromised. Tensions are evident between political rivals and parties continue to be built around personalities, which are used to push vested interests.
It is common knowledge now in Uganda that many members of the Democratic Party have been fighting and contesting the leadership of Norbert Mao kindly because he is an Acholi yet Baganda claim to be owning the party citing history and the foundation of the party.
Now the party is having a very serious infection which is more deadly than the Corona virus , the bitter war is between the Betty Namboze faction and the Norbert Mao faction and to prove this is tribal most Baganda members of the party have decided to disagree with Mao and all agreed to follow a faction led by Hon. Namboze. Its fine they have the freedom to do all they want but basing political party leadership on tribes is an ancient practice that does not suit this century.
All along factions have been in a number of parties but none of the parties have experienced tribal political leadership like the one that is being showcased by the Democratic Party but for the good of our country I request that the party settles down their grievances amicably to avoid any inconveniences to the party operations and also stop any insecurities that may be sparked off by the tribalism in the party.
We are all Ugandans no matter the difference in political ideologies so we should always put this at the back of our minds and remember that at one moment we voted as a country to follow the multi party system of leadership that allows every person to fall under a party that best suits his/her ideology.