By Umaru Kashaka
The Democratic Party (DP) has embarked on revamping the grassroots party structures in preparation for 2016 polls, the party president has said.
Party president Norbert Mao said the party had raised funds from the Netherlands institute for Multiparty Democracy and will enable them improve their structures that are currently in shambles.
The Netherlands Institute for Multiparty Democracy (NiMD) is a Dutch non-governmental democracy assistance organisation providing assistance to political parties in emerging democracies. In Uganda, NiMD is in partnership with six political parties with representation in Parliament.
"I can't disclose the amount, but sh40m will soon be dished out to each party vice president at regional level to open up regional offices to oversee the current crusade of re-organizing the party and recruiting new party members as part of activities to mark the party's 60 years of existence," he noted.
"We badly need to build our party structures that are right now in shambles so that we can be able to mobilize our energetic youth to unseat the NRM. In Buganda we shall open offices in Masaka; Western (Mbarara), Eastern (Mbale) and Northern (Gulu)," he added.
Mao explained that the funds will help them in paying for rent, office computers, printers, and issues to do with communication, among others.
He dismissed claims by the former leader of the Forum for Democratic Change, Dr. Kiiza Besigye that the 2016 polls had already been fixed by prevailing circumstances to return the National Resistance Movement (NRM) party into power.
"We in DP haven't lost hope in the Electoral Commission (EC) and can't begin giving up on grounds that it will be useless to participate in the polls like our colleagues in other parties are trying to say. You can't expect a red carpet to be rolled out for you to reach State House-you've to get prepared to give the ruling party a run for its money," Mao remarked.
Besigye is quoted by the press as having said that the 2016 elections had already been rigged and can only be held to dupe the international community into continuing to believe that Uganda is a democracy.
He said opposition politicians should not delude themselves that they could, through the elections, unseat the NRM government, but urged them to instead focus on mass civil disobedience.
"I've disagreed with Dr. Besigye on this issue of mass civil disobedience. This is because we believe DP can win the polls even when the proposed electoral reforms are not in place," he added.
The party called upon the Government and all other stakeholders to ensure that proposed electoral reforms which include the composition of EC and the appointment of its chairperson and commissioners are put in place before 2016 polls to ensure credible free and fair elections.