They don’t want completion because the last time we ring fenced their seats. Who are they not to have competition if even my office is competed for? How can they say they are democrats when they don’t want completion? I think they are just hyperventilating for nothing.
Fresh disagreements have broken out in Uganda’s oldest
political party, the Democratic Party over internal elections.
The row pits the
party President Norbert Mao, his deputy Denis Mukasa Mbidde and secretary
general Blacks Siranda against mainly DP members of parliament led by their
caucus chairperson Joseph Gonzaga Ssewungu, the MP for Kalungu West.
was supposed to hold lower branch elections this week for preparation of the
national delegates’ conference to be held from March 28-30 in the northern
Uganda district of Gulu. However on Thursday DP organizing Secretary Sulaiman
Kidandala stopped the elections saying that they were not being conducted in
line with the party constitution. He said any election that is not supervised
by him as per the dictates of the party constitution, were null and void.
added that there was need to first thrash out all the sticky issues that were
stopping DP leaders in different parts of the country from embracing them. This
position is backed up by MP Ssewungu who told URN that if the party insists on
this trajectory, they might end up in court to challenge it.
“The party constitution gives
the Organizing Secretary the powers to organize elections but what we are
seeing is that the party chairman is directly supervising these elections. What
they did was to deny Kidandala resources to do his job and instead chose to do
it themselves,” said Ssewungu.
He added that the reason they are doing this is
because they fear an election that is free and fair as they want to have a say on who ends up as a
delegate. “We are saying let’s use the party structures and have genuine
elections and if that doesn’t happen, we shall end up in court. Mao has been
having a NEC that is not divided now it is, people who have been trusting him
have all abandoned him,” added Ssewungu.
His criticism of his party’s position
is not far away from that of his Mukono municipality counterpart, Betty Nambooze
Bakireke. Writing on her Facebook page, Nambooze, who’s not a stranger to DP
conflicts said, by organizing these elections, Mao and company are trying to deny
the party the partly 16 seats that it hold.
and his group are being used by forces we are trying to understand, to overrun
the few constituencies DP was able to secure in the last elections. It can’t be
that all of the 16 MPs in DP are bad. It can’t be that the few districts where
DP has active branches are the one Siranda is targeting. Why don’t I hear you
in Kayunga, Kabalore, Kapchorwa? The 16 constituencies where we won are the
Party life line,” said Nambooze.
Speaking to URN, DP secretary Siranda
hit back at his critics instead arguing that they are just fearing to lose their
parliamentary seats. He said that the organizing secretary of the party has no
powers of stopping elections because the decision to hold them was taken by NEC. “The position of the party is communicated only by the secretary general and I’m
saying the elections are on; nobody is going to stop them,” said Siranda.
added that those people opposing the elections are the same people who have
never agreed to any party position.
“The parliamentary group fear elections in
their areas because the last time we exempted them from competition but now we
are saying that we shall have elections in every area. Whoever thinks Siranda
is bad, Mao is bad, and Mbidde is bad should come to Gulu and contest any
position they want,” he added.
On the accusation that they might be working
for another force to kill DP, Siranda, who has been DP acting secretary general
since the passing of Mathias Nsubuga in 2016, said it is them who go and blast
the party at press conferences that are working for forces they don’t understand. “If your party is going for an election, you can’t go and blast it; what they
are doing is undermining it,” he explained.
His position is backed
up by DP president Norbert Mao who in an interview with URN said he’s the overall
supervisor of everybody in the party. “We have already announced a delegates’ conference
who are those who are going to attend if we don’t elect them? Arguing against these
elections is the most nonsensical argument I have ever heard. By the way, even
the Political Parties and Organisations Act says that the mandate of elected
leaders is five years so we must get new leaders,” said Mao.
He also called as
lair greater Masaka DP members of parliament who included Florence Namayanja,
Ssewungu Mathias Mpuuga among others who earlier this week accused him of lack
of accountability for the money that the party receives from government and
other sources. “I think they were in comedy
but all of that is a well-orchestrated smear campaign. If there is one thing
that you can’t fault Mao on, is accountability and financial integrity. I never
joined politics to make money and at least everybody knows that you can buy me
with everything else except money because I have no desire for selfish enrichment.
Their accusation was only for nuisance value,” said Mao.
He also hit back at MPs telling them that their talk about liberating Uganda is just empty
rhetoric because they are most interested in keeping their parliamentary seats. “They don’t want competition because the last time we ring fenced their seats.
Who are they not to have competition if even my office is competed for? How can
they say they are democrats when they don’t want completion? I think they are
just hyperventilating for nothing,” added the DP president.