In its preparations for the next general elections, the Democratic Party, Uganda’s oldest political party has embarked on a reconciliation process, aimed at wooing back its members.
At the beginning of last week, legislators and senior party leaders announced that they had returned to the main stream party leadership headed by Norbert Mao.
Those returned include Mathias Mpugga, the Masaka Municipality legislator, Muwanga Kivumba, the Butambala MP, Samuel Lubega Mukaaku, the former Presidential candidate and Mike Mabikke, the head of Social Democratic Party.
Mr Mpugga also announced that Kampala Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago, Mukono Municipality MP Betty Nambooze, Lubaga North’s Moses Kansibante, Lubaga South’s Kato Lubwama and Makindye East MP Allan Ssewanyana were part of the process although they did not attend the reconciliation meeting.
PML Daily has learnt that the reconciliation process started two years ago spear headed by Henry Ssewanyana, the DP elders leader.
There has been a long misunderstanding between Mao and some of the senior party members like Lukwago, which started in 2010, with the Lukwago group disagreeing with the way, Mao and his team was elected in Mbale.
The splinter group then opted to distances themselves from party activities, forming pressure group, Truth and Justice Forum.
Will the reconciliation work?
Ssewanyana is hopeful that the road they chose to bring back all the old vibrant members, will bring political change in Uganda.
“Reconciling with all party members is good for the party and the country. Mr. Museveni has been benefiting from the divided DP but in the next general elections, it’s not going to be business as usual,” Ssewanyana said.
Mabikke, who left the party 10 years ago, is more interested in bringing the Opposition forces together and front one presidential candidate.
“Bringing the old folks back is good idea but DP leadership should also think about meeting other players who are opposing the NRM government. This time, we need to prepare ourselves on time so that we choose the best candidate,” Mr Mabikke explained.
Why Lukwago, Nambooze didn’t attend?
The absence of Mr Lukwago and Ms Nambooze acts as a setback to the process because according to participants, the presence of the two politicians was very vital at the ground breaking reconciliation ceremony.
“Of course, they have big following, who listen to them. If they had attended, this would have made our work easy to encourage others to come back. Nevertheless, I know they will attend another function, we are preparing in Mukono,”a senior party leader revealed.
Lukwago remained tight lipped on why he never attended but he welcomed the reconciliation process.
Insiders in Lukwago’s pressure group told PML Daily that Lukwago is caught between a rock and a hard place on whether to go back and work with Mao or to remain working with Dr. Kizza Besigye, the former FDC leader.
Lukwago has reportedly asked those pushing for the reconciliation process to consider other factors like working with ‘people’s government’ headed by Besigye, which was formed in 2016.
Political analysts weigh in
Mr Sabiti Makara, a senior lecturer in the department of political and Public Administration, Makerere University, said for the reconciliation process to yield positive results, DP members must honestly speak to each other.
“And also they should stop being greedy, accommodate other alternative views, address ethnicity issues and stop fighting for positions,” Makara cautioned.