AS the political climate gears towards the 2011 general elections, some parties like DP and UPC have already elected their presidential candidates. Ugandans will hopefully have a broad choice from which to elect a president. However, some people are in the process of stifling the wide range of choic
AS the political climate gears towards the 2011 general elections, some parties like DP and UPC have already elected their presidential candidates. Ugandans will hopefully have a broad choice from which to elect a president. However, some people are in the process of stifling the wide range of choices.
The opposition political parties have realised that none of them has enough support countrywide to defeat NRM. This is good for all Ugandans to take note of. Forming the Inter-party Cooperation (IPC), a platform through which opposition parties intend to field a single candidate, is a clear testimony that the parties have realised that individually none can defeat the NRM presidential candidate.
To Ugandans, why waste time with parties that have informed you that they are weak and cannot win an election? For the opposition parties this will not be the first time that they are coming together to wrestle NRM. Although parties were not operating in 1996, all those from the old parties who were opposed to the Movement and President Museveni ganged up under Inter-party Political Forces Co-operation and supported Semwogerere. In 2001 and 2006, a majority of those opposed to the NRM voted for Besigye, but this too could not get him a win.
In Kampala people like Mayor Sebaggala and other DP personalities openly campaigned for FDC. After elections, this brought problems to DP as they tried to claim back their supporters while at the same time FDC wanted to own those DP supporters who supported them in 2006.
I think DP has successfully reclaimed its supporters from FDC. Having realised how difficult it was to reclaim them from FDC, DP has been reluctant to join IPC. On the other hand, UPC supporters in Lango area did the same and supported Besigye against UPCâ€™s Miria Obote. Many of those supporters are now torn between remaining in FDC or going back to UPC, many are now joining NRM.
The most important thing opposition parties have to learn is that the moment you support one candidate; it is difficult to reclaim your supporters after election. For the party leaders the obsession is about removing President Museveni from power.
Supposing all the opposition parties choose Otunnu as their candidate and they win an election. After the win will FDC and DP continue as independent parties under the Otunnu administration which they would have helped to come to power? Will Mao go to a rally or a DP MP go to Parliament and say DP is better than UPC when they jointly supported a UPC person?
In the past the opposition benefitted from the insurgency in northern Uganda. Because of the suffering the people of northern Uganda went through at the hands of LRA, the opposition rode on it telling the people to vote for them that immediately they win LRA will come out of the bush.
One MP from Pader I am told would tell the people that for him he would simply whistle and the LRA would come out and join them in the government. It is said that at Lirapalwo, in Pader, after casting his vote for FDC in 2006, one man went back to the camp, gathered his belongings and went back to the village.
His relatives looked for him thinking that he had died. He came back on the second day after realising that everybody else stayed in the camp. When he came back he said he had followed Besigyeâ€™s instructions that after elections everybody should go back home because LRA would join them immediately after winning elections.
Now people in Lirapalwo say everybody was mad except only one sane man who followed instructions (call it Besigyeâ€™s manipulation of the suffering of the people in IDPs) and went back home after casting his vote.
It is clear that the opposition got votes in the north taking advantage of the peoplesâ€™ suffering promising them peace. But that was merely a lie. When Besigye went to Pader recently, he was greeted with poor turn up at his rallies. Reason was that he promised people to go back to their villages which didnâ€™t come.
That they have gone back to the villages after Museveni brought back peace which had eluded them for so long. They are now rejecting the opposition and vowing to vote Museveni in large numbers. I have pointed out above that in the past the opposition ganged up together to oust NRM and failed. They did so with the help of lies that they would bring back peace in the north and still failed. Now that the people of northern Uganda have realised that it was the Museveni government that successfully defeated Kony and peace returned, the protest against NRM by voters in the north and Teso is no more.
The opposition will this time get less votes from the north and Teso. This seen by the many people joining NRM in those areas including elected sub-county chairpersons and councillors. Why would an elected person cross to NRM unless he or she is sure that the situation on the ground has changed?
The opposition has also been benefitting from lies. Over and over they have told people in the north that President Museveni will grab their land, well knowing that they are telling a lie. The same is being told to the people of Teso by FDC. Canâ€™t we have a law that checks politicians from telling lies so that when one is proved, he or she can be disqualified?
The writer is a special presidential assistant
Opposition doesnâ€™t have what it takes to beat NRM