By Moses Mulondo
With a soothing breeze from Lake Victoria at Gaba Beach Hotel, the Democratic Party (DP) opened a new chapter when its various warring factions came together on Saturday to launch a set of activities to mark its 60th anniversary.
This colourful event attracted estranged DP stalwarts opposed to Norbert Mao’s leadership who included the embattled Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago, Mukono municipality MP Betty Nambooze, Buikwe South MP Dr. Lulume Bayiga, DP publicist Paul Kenneth Kakande, Luwero woman MP Brenda Nabukenya, and DP deputy secretary general Vincent Mayanja.
The launch was attended by former DP stalwarts; Hajji Nasser Ntege Ssebagala and SDP’s Michael Mabikke.
Other prominent personalities who grace the occasion included FDC president Gen. Mugisha Muntu, the leader of opposition in parliament Wafula Oguttu, Gen Benon Biraro, Frank Gashumba, development partners, and retired Justice George Kanyeihamba.
In his speech, Kanyeihamba said all the opposition parties have been put in a bottle and can only get out of that bottle and be able to defeat the ruling NRM party if they united and formed one electoral platform.
“Without the opposition fronting a joint candidate for every elective position, forget about power,” Kanyeihamba said.
Kanyeihamba said rule of law and constitutionalism is continuously dwindling in Uganda due to the political inference in the judiciary.
Retired Gen. Benon Biraro of the National Unity Party, who has declared will stand for president in 2016, appealed to all opposition parties to put their houses in order and quickly sort out their weaknesses.
“If you address the weaknesses of your force, you can fight a thousand battles without losing anyone. I will joint all joint efforts for ensuring we have democracy in Uganda,” Biraro said.
Calling for unity, determination and incorruptibility, the Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago, who said he has a DP life membership card, the violation of the rule of the law with impunity necessitates radical opposition undertakings like protests.
Referring to the Bible where it says before you go to the alter of God you should first reconcile with your brother, the former DP president Dr. Paul Kawanga Ssemogerere also appealed to opposition leaders to reconcile and work together for victory.
“Each of the opposition parties needs to put its house in order. I thank the leaders of other parties for coming here. It gives hope for the unity Kanyeihamba has talked about,” Ssemogerere said.
In his message read by the party secretary general Mathias Nsubuga, another former DP president John Ssebaana Kizito, explained that DP has been unable to capture power because it does not believe in bloodshed and deceptive methods to get power as other political groups that have led Uganda have done.
Arguing that politics is a game of numbers which is won by those with more numbers, the Leader of Opposition Wafula Oguttu should focus on ensuring that through unity it can win more elective positions than the NRM in the 2016 elections.
Betty Nambooze, who abandoned DP’s candidate and campaigned for FDC’s Dr. Besigye in 2011, expressed excitement that finally her DP leaders have realized without a united front the opposition cannot defeat NRM.
Assuring people that the fall of the NRM government is a foregone conclusion, Gen Mugisha Muntu said the major focus of the opposition should be on building the kind of change that the country deserves so that the mistakes of the past governments are not repeated.
See related pictorial here