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Monday,August 03,2020 18:36 PM

Parties Cleaning House For 2006

By Vision Reporter

Added 8th July 2003 03:00 AM

There is a lot of activity in the kitchens of Uganda’s political parties and organisations.

There is a lot of activity in the kitchens of Uganda’s political parties and organisations.

By Joshua Kato
There is a lot of activity in the kitchens of Uganda’s political parties and organisations.
Registration of parties is the pre-requisite for any party to start legally operating. The acting registrar, Bisereko Kyomuhendo, says 38 parties have picked registration forms in a bid to register as per the Political Parties Organisations Act (PPOA).
The National Resistance Movement Organisation (NRM–O) looks more ambitious.
Reports indicate that its leaders Jaberi Bidandi Ssali and Alhajji Moses Kigongo were all smiles after receiving close to 1.2 million signatures from all 56 districts of the country last week. “We would have easily got five million signatures,” boasted Kigongo, the chairman of the registration committee.
NRM-O is in the process of creating district and village committees. Jaberi Bidandi Ssali, the vice-chairman of the registration committee, says that district councils will be launched as soon as registration is complete.
But before registration, NRM-O has got to overcome attempts by one of the Democratic Party legal advisors, Erias Lukwago to block its registration. Lukwago says that everything the NRM-O is using are statutory instruments, owned by Ugandans, thus should not be used by one party. He points out that the use of the bus symbol and the word Movement contravenes the PPOA. In addition to a bus in the centre, the symbol has also got a book and rays of the sun. “Those are national statutory instruments. They cannot be hijacked by any single party,” he says. Bidandi calls Lukwago’s talk irrelevant.
“What parties should be doing is to organise themselves, other than reacting to what the NRM-O is doing,” he says.
A delegation of Democratic Party MPs met what they called the London Group in London two weeks ago. The group included Latif Ssebagala, Ssebuliba Mutumba, Michael Mabikke, Kasiano Wadri, Patrick Musisi and Issa Kikungwe. Former Kampala mayor Nasser Ssebagala also attended.
Reports say among issues on the agenda was fundraising for the 2006 campaigns and the change of leadership of the party. Close to sh3b was pledged from DP supporters in the diaspora.
There are reports that supporters of DP in the diaspora want immediate change of the top leadership of the party. They even vowed not to donate any more money to the party if it don’t change the leadership immediately. This information is vehemently denied by DP.
“All of us contribute to the party, should we be called donors and start influencing leadership change in the party?” asks Jude Mbabali, DP spokesman.
He says that no one should talk about regime change while parties are still under the yoke of the Movement. Mbabali points out that the London group has been working for years to undermine Ssemogerere’s leadership.
Reports indicate, Michael Mabikke Mp Makindye East, is in charge of agitating for change. He is known to favour his mentor Nasser Ssebagala for party leadership. Some DP members have even accused. Mabikke of harbouring a plan to take charge of the party by himself.

Although Mabikke attended the London meeting, he says he has not given his views on the leadership. He says it is wrong for people to speculate about his moves. “ It is true that we agreed to overhaul the party, but whatever happened in the meeting has already been said. The rest is speculation,” he says.
Francis Bwengye is yet to give up on his plans to register DP. However, Erias Lukwago has been able to block the registration of the party.
He has reportedly opened up his office at Kamwokya where he is conducting DP business as the official leader. He has the support of Zachary Olum, Robert Kitariko and Mariono Drametu.
A decision on whether to turn Reform Agenda into a political party has been made. The registration is soon to follow. The return of Winnie Byanyima has given the group new impetus. Last Saturday, Reformists had a meeting to find the final direction of the party, but failed to come up with any concrete move to register. However, Betty Kamya, the spokesperson says they will register at the right time.
Political analysts say Reform Agenda has got some of the most vibrant leaders in the opposition. Colonel Kizza Besigye, Winnie Byanyima, Betty Kamya, Sam Njuba are all able orators. In Parliament, Reform has got at least seven members. Most members of the Africana group are also believed to have a soft spot for the Reformists.
However, in terms of grassroot support, Reform Agenda still lags behind NRM-O, DP and UPC. “They should mobilise better than they are doing now,” says the analyst. The launch of a youth group is purposely for mobilisation.

Moses Nuwagaba one of the brains behind the youth group, says their objective is to sell the Reform ideology to the grassroots.
Like Dp, Reformists have been in the UK and USA led by Geofrey Ekanya to promote their cause.
Reform agenda has one major problem. They are still viewed with suspicion by the other parties. They are seen as another Movement. This is why their proposal of a coalition has been turned down by other parties especially DP.
The Uganda People’s Congress (UPC) is giving away very little of its plans. Dr. Rwanyarare, the chairman of the Presidential Policy Commission (PPC), says they cannot register as long as they still have a petition against the PPOA in court. UPC is not yet committed to participating in the 2006 elections.
Mayanja Nkangi and Ken Lukyamuzi of the Conservative Party have reconciled. “I have reconciled with Nkangi for the good of the party,” the talkative Lukyamuzi says.
According to the registrar’s office, the CP logo is booked for the registration of the party.
Lukyamuzi looks at a coalition as the only way the opposition can defeat the Movement. “No single party can defeat the Movement. We need to come together and form a coalition,” he says.
Kibirige Mayanja of JEEMA and Chaapa Karuhanga of the national Democratic Forum (NDF) have been moving around the country in search of signatures, perhaps in preparation for registration.
The most worrying development for opposition parties should be the reluctance to form a coalition against the NRM-O. While Reform and UPC welcome the idea, DP does not. Both Leander Komakech President of the Uganda Young Democrats and his vice president Kenneth Kakande, say there is no way DP can work with a tarnished party like UPC. “UPC should first work on its image before we form any kind of coalition with it,” Komakech says.
More worrying are the results of a survey released two weeks ago. It revealed that over 60% of Ugandans still think that multi-party politics brings divisions. Another 80.3% said they support the NRM. “The sooner we fight to change the perception of Ugandans about parties, the better. This is what we should begin doing now,” says Lukyamuzi.
Ends

Parties Cleaning House For 2006

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