Not long ago the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) refused to participate in the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) elections. All the other parties and independents participated. FDC went to court to challenge the legality of the elected EALA MPs from Uganda and lost.
As a result of lack representation in EALA, FDC goes through representatives of other parties to present its views in EALA.
The Leader of Opposition in Parliament (LOP) is a very important and strategic position. LOP has an annual budget over UGX 2 billion some of which end up at the party headquarters in one way or the other.
LOP appoints chairpersons and vice chairpersons of accountability committees in parliament. These are also very strategic positions to keep a party politically relevant and it would be a great mistake if FDC lost the control of accountability committees.
The FDC Members of Parliament (MPs) definitely want the above positions but are afraid of coming out publicly. On the other hand Gen Muntu seems to be looking for Col. Kizza Besigye’s support to retain the FDC Presidency in 2017.
Col. Besigye also knows that Gen. Muntu is the best candidate to have as FDC President beyond 2017 because he is easy to defeat for FDC Presidential flab bearer come 2020.
Thus Muntu is bent on serving Besigye interests in return for support to retain the Presidency come 2017. So Gen. Muntu is now implementing Col. Besigye’s decisions regardless of whether the party organs have sanctioned them or not.
If the impasse on LOP is not resolved fast, the National Resistance Movement Organisation (NRM-O) might use its numbers in parliament to swiftly amend the law to ensure that the Leader of Opposition in Parliament (LOP) is elected by members of parliament from nominated opposition candidates or even come up with an amendment that allows an independent MP to be a LOP.
This will open a window for a moderate opposition member acceptable to NRM-O to become LOP. As a result even the Chairpersons and Vice Chairpersons of accountability committees would be moderates acceptable to NRM-O. Is this the best strategy to build opposition in Uganda?
If FDC does not change strategy and NRM-O remains awake, FDC is leading the crusade to kill opposition in Uganda.
Prof Venansius Baryamureeba, the author, is a former presidential candidate.