DEMOCRATIC Party president Norbert Mao and Buyikwe South MP Dr. Michael Bayiga have picked nomination forms to contest for the presidency of the party
By Moses Mulondo & Nicolas Wasajja
THE Democratic Party president Norbert Mao and Buyikwe South MP Dr. Michael Bayiga have picked nomination forms to contest for the presidency of the party in the forthcoming delegates’ conference.
The party’s delegates’ conference, which had been initially scheduled to take place on June 19, 2015, was postponed to take place from July 23 to July 26, at Katomi Kingdom Resort, Garuga in Wakiso district.
DP presidential press secretary Fred Mwesigwa confirmed to New Vision on Monday that so far it is only Mao and Lulume who have picked forms to run for the party presidency.
Mao, who stepped down from party leadership in February for a sick leave, had been advised by his family members to retire from elective politics for the good of his life.
“Mao has now recovered from his illness. He has responded well to medication,” Mwesigwa said.
Kampala Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago who was expected to also contest for the DP presidency did not pick forms.
Lukwago’s ally Muwanga Kivumbi said Lukwago had not picked forms because of the irregularities that have characterized the party’s grassroots elections.
“We have not had genuine grassroots elections but we are in the process of negotiating for a harmonized of solving the impasse. We are talking to the various stakeholders in the party,” Kivumbi said.
Kivumbi said there have been so many conflicts and lopsided undertakings which have made many stakeholders like Lukwago to lose confidence in the process leading to the party’s delegates’ conference.
“In grassroots elections, there was no independent electoral commission but interested people superintended the process in a partisan way. The party has a structural problem across the country. Delegates from many parts of the country have just been handpicked,” Kivumbi explained.
DP Vice President for the central region Ssebuliba Mutumba said, “We have not had truthful grassroots elections especially in Buganda. At this time, DP has no moral authority to speak about national free and fair elections when we have failed to have them in the party.”
Mutumba lamented that the running of the grassroots elections was hijacked by “Johnson street DP politicians ” who include Kenneth Paul Kakande, Brenda Nabukenya, Sulaiman Kidandala, JohnMary Ssebuufu, Moses Katabu, and Vincent Mayanja.
The Johnson street group of DP politicians is known to be working for Norbert Mao to retain the leadership of the party.
There is a common allegation within DP circles that the Johnson group of DP leaders is full of opportunistic politicians who are secretly using NRM money to disorganize the party.
“There are reports that some got money from NRM to destroy DP. They are not alone. Most of the politicians in the Johnson group are failures who lost in the last general elections,” Ssebuliba said.
Ssebuliba said a big number of DP leaders like himself; Lukwago, Latif Ssebagala, Kato Lubwama, Mathias Mpuuga, and Kasibante have been on the hit list of the Johnson street group which has been predominantly managing the process.
Presidential hopeful Dr. Lulume Bayiga said, “We have not had credible grassroots elections which can lead to a credible delegates’ conference. There were no elections in some regions of the country and delegates from such areas have just been handpicked.”
On his decision to take over the leadership of the party, Lulume said, "This country will never reach its destiny without DP but because the party is divided, it can't take power. I want to rebuild DP through uniting its various disgruntled forces."
According to the party’s administrative assistant Peter Ssempigya, the nomination picking exercise that was meant to have closed on Friday has extended up to July 1, 2015 (Wednesday).
“It was supposed to be between 25th and 26th June but due to the low turn up, top management decided that we extend until July 1, to allow all party members a chance to participate and not use it as an excuse that some people were blocked out,” Ssempigya explained.
Other members that had picked nomination forms by close of business last Friday include Fred Mukasa Mbidde for national vice president, Mathias Nsubuga for secretary general, Josephine Nambooze for secretary general, Gerald Seranda vice secretary general, Herbert Rutagwera and Babirye Kabanda for national treasurer, Maxensia Nakibuka and Florence Namayanja for women leader and Imam Makumbi for vice president western region.
Mao shortly told New Vision that he would be running for party presidency before hanging up as he was still in a meeting.
Former eastern youth MP candidate Gerald Seranda said he was running for vice secretary general of the party to help harmonies the UYD youth wing and DP's youth league.
Mao picks forms for DP presidency