POB A Step In The Right Direction

By Vision Reporter

Added 23rd May 2002 03:00 AM

This is an edited transcript of the contribution by the National Political Commissar Dr Crispus Kiyonga and Vice-President Dr Specioza Wandira Kazibwe to the Political Organisations Bill debated in Parliament last week

This is an edited transcript of the contribution by the National Political Commissar Dr Crispus Kiyonga and Vice-President Dr Specioza Wandira Kazibwe to the Political Organisations Bill debated in Parliament last week Dr Crispus Kiyonga: THERE are four questions in determining whether a system is democratic, and I want to state that even those who are saying that the Movement is a democratic system do not know it because in the real world everybody is just approaching democracy. The four questions which we must ask in testing democracy are: 1. Is political power decentralised to local government? 2. Do people organise freely in different political parties? 3. Is the Chief Executive elected through free and fair elections? I emphasize “free and fair”? 4. Is there a realistic possibility that the opposition can gain power through elections? I support those who are pushing for a compromise. We want the parties to renew themselves. The issue of reform must be taken seriously. Even before going to the districts we must tell people that we are coming. For us the difference is on the economy; not saying that if we go to the district, poverty will end. No! Let us articulate. We really need to revisit our philosophies because the political landscape in the whole world has changed. Every one who wants to vie for power must show what his or her stand is on the economy and on security. You do not need to be at the district, you do not need to be at the sub-county or even the parish to articulate that. That is an intellectual job that we must do and be able to take to the people and discuss with them Once we make this (POB) law, an opportunity is provided for new parties. If people are sticking to power and they do not want to leave, leave those parties and start new ones. Then as Hon. Mao (Nobert) said, we can see new leaders emerging, articulating new philosophies on the economy, on security and so on. If we get out of this meeting having agreed that we have parties registering, and that they must have an opportunity to articulate their ideas and philosophies, it may sound small but I think this will be a fundamental movement in the right direction. We need to support that. When we come back to the law, when we say the system preferred should be allowed to operate, what are we talking about? As we know, at the village level, with the reforms that the movement has brought, we have been able to bring people of different backgrounds to come and meet and decide that today Hon. Adolf Mwesige will be our chairman or Hon. Obbo will be our Secretary for Education. We need not discuss whether we are in DP or UPC, but we repair a bridge, we may then ask why our schools have not been repaired. We may ask for our 25 per cent from the sub-county. I agree that the unit of operation for parties in a multiparty system is the branches, and the biggest function of a branch is recruitment. But therein lies the danger with the Movement system, because once you take a branch to the parish level then you are going to disrupt the way these committees have been working in order to repair the bridge. Those who say we should forget history are obviously not correct. We must analyse history and use that history to chart the way forward. There are radicals in the Movement who would like to take more radical positions but thanks to the politics of the Movement, they are being persuaded, they are being prevailed on and we are coming with a compromise position. When the Movement came to power, it definitely had the option to ban the parties, but because of national interest. We did not think this was a good cause. We should pass this law so that we do not stifle people who want to form parties — young and old. Let us give opportunity to parties in an air-conditioned room in Kampala to clarify their ideologies, which can be communicated through the radio and the press. But to think that we should form branches would clearly be interfering with the system that the people have preferred. Dr Speciosa Wandira Kazibwe: When this Bill becomes law, anybody who wants to form a political party will register that party. You do not need to go to every district to get members to register. If you read what we have provided, that is possible. They will elect their delegates, come to the centre, elect their executives and start operating from the centre through the radios, mobile phones, and television. When there were not so many radios, the DP managed to convince me through the radio. I joined them and supported them vehemently until this wonderful arrangement which I will continue to support until the people of Uganda say they do not want it any more. You don’t need to go to every village to get people to hear about you or to know what you want to do. Through practice, we believe, as the Executive, in coming up with a middle position for the multipartyists who want to go to the villages and sub-counties, and the Movement people who do not even want the national level. As managers of this country, we must listen to the 90 percent who believe in the Movement and do not want parties to start now. But we must also listen to the other 10% who say parties must start now. We are the ones saying we want to toe the middle line and bring the Movement people together with the multipartyists. We are saying, let us remain at the national level while we allow these babies that are going to be born to grow. When this law is actually in place, there is not a constitution of any party which conforms to the principles laid down in the 1995 Constitution. Not even the DP, which I know very well. This means that those who believe in UPC must also start a new party. It will be new because it has to be in accordance with this Constitution. CP will have to start a new party, and DP will be starting a new party in conformity with the Constitution. If we go full blast to the districts, we shall lead the parties to death — Kanungu style. Ends

POB A Step In The Right Direction

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