Following the creation of KiKuube District, carved out of Hoima District in July, then Hoima Woman MP Tophace Kaahwa Byagira opted to represent the new district. Subsequently, the Electoral Commission organised by-elections for the Hoima woman representative.
In the by-election, the Opposition jointly supported Ms Asinansi Nyakato of the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) party for the Hoima Woman MP position.
Ms Nyakato lost the race to Ms Harriet Busingye of the National Resistance Movement (NRM) who polled 33,301 votes against Ms Nyakato’s 28,789 votes.
The Hoima by-elections came against the backdrop of a series of by-elections that have been conducted since the 2016 General Election. The overall picture has not been very good for the Opposition. The NRM has won the majority of these by-elections. The reasons for this are many and varied. Some endogenous, most, exogenous. Personally though, I believe internal weaknesses are undermining the Opposition success more than external factors. Here is why.
On Saturday, September 28, Mega FM, a local radio station in Gulu, hosted two Opposition leaders on the Teyat programme. The main topic of discussion was the Hoima District Woman MP by-election. The two leaders, Gulu District FDC spokesperson and Kilak South MP, also an FDC member, had a bitter exchange. The FDC spokesperson accused the MP of double standards evidenced in his support for People Power, according to him, a Johnny-come-lately in Uganda’s politics.
This accusation had roots in the alleged misconduct of the People Power lieutenants who, according to the spokesperson, didn’t want Ms Nyakato to flash the FDC sign in the campaigns. The spokesperson also alleged that People Power leaders and supporters nearly stopped the FDC party president, Mr Patrick Oboi Amuriat, from addressing one of the rallies. The quarrel went on and on. Talk about washing dirty linen in public.
This incident, of course, is a reflection of a deeper malaise within and among the Opposition ranks. It reminds one of the various futile attempts made in the past by the Opposition to unite and jointly face the NRM juggernaut. Lest we forget, since 1996 Uganda’s Opposition has at least made some effort to unite, the last attempt being The Democratic Alliance (TDA). TDA gave Ugandans real hope for change, but in the end split badly.
The main reason for TDA’s death was power struggle. No political actor, especially the gurus, was genuinely willing to cede ground or make a compromise in the interest of the Alliance and the general cause of the Opposition. There was rabid jostling for positions rather than the pursuit of common objectives. Everybody was accusing everyone else for being regime moles and or coming late to the trenches of Opposition politics. Ugly stuff. It left many of us wondering whether we in the Opposition genuinely want change.
No group of oppressed persons behaves in the manner that Uganda’s Opposition does. The pains, sorrow and agony of the people of Uganda are supposed to effortlessly unite us to confront the NRM kleptocracy and engender change. Prisoners can’t be fighting over who heads the jail cell. They focus on the things that need to be done to get out of incarceration. In other words, the Opposition needs to focus energies on causing change more than fighting for space that doesn’t exist.
Mr Raila Odinga has been in Kenya’s Opposition politics for nearly four decades. In the 2002 General Election, he and nearly all Opposition forces against the long dictatorial rule of Daniel arap Moi formed the Rainbow Coalition to beat Moi’s stooge, current Kenyan president, Mr Uhuru Kenyatta. There was, of course, jostling over who would be the joint presidential candidate. By that time, Mr Raila had been in the trenches of Kenyan Opposition politics for more than two decades.
He was also arguably the most powerful Opposition politician. His stature, clout and sacrifice, however, didn’t cloud his leadership judgment. He subjugated his personal interests to those of the coalition and the country. In a mammoth public rally, against the wishes of many of his party leaders and supporters, he declared, Mwai anatosha! The rest, as they say, is history. Who will be Uganda’s Raila?
Mr Mugabe is a member of the Alliance for National Transformation party
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Publish date : 2019-10-28 11:11:32