Once again, The Democratic Alliance is meeting to choose a joint candidate who will stand against President Yoweri Museveni in 2016 elections.
The aspirants; Amama Mbabazi, Kizza Besigye, Norbert Mao and Gilbert Bukenya, met on Friday at Royal Suites in Bugolobi and failed to agree.
Their spokesman, Mao, told press that they would meet on Saturday and resolve the issues so they can announced a flag bearer today, Monday.
Bukenya snubs Saturday meeting
However, on Saturday, Bukenya snubbed their meeting curtailing the discussions.
“On Saturday afternoon we met but Prof. Bukenya did not come and was unreachable. The three of us met informally and had candid talks,” Mao revealed yesterday.
Mao said they also discussed the two candidate approach.
“It is defended as a variation of the slogan “one struggle, many fronts”.”
He says in the quartet, only Col. Besigye is insisting on that position.
“In the end,” Mao suggested, “If we field one candidate and lose I think Ugandans will blame us less than if we fielded more than one candidate and still lost.”
Besigye personally said on Friday that the process of choosing a joint opposition presidential candidate was not easy but that at least they were making progress.
While paying tribute to the late Internal Affairs minister, Gen Aronda Nyakairima on Friday at Fairway hotel, UPDF political commissar, Col Felix Kulaigye, hinted on the fact that TDA was being sponsored by donors from abroad.
“Now I hear these opposition people [TDA] are being funded by foreigners. These foreigners don’t have good intentions. They come claiming to help but in the end, they benefit more,” Kulaigye said, advising that Africans forge their own way.
The Observer too in their article: “Inside the TDA deadlock” write that foreign donors are putting pressure on Besigye to let Mbabazi too stand.
Worse still, reports indicate that Mao and Bukenya [who fell from grace due to Amama] are backing Mbabazi yet Besigye too is determined not to relent.
NRM Youth are determined to have Mbabazi stand on the Go Forward ticket if he is not chosen as the alliance’s candidate.
FDC youth on the other hand have already started sending out invitations for an October 5, 2015 nomination of Besigye at Namboole in case the alliance favours Mbabazi.
Government hand in TDA chaos
There are also allegations that the state is actively involved in bringing down the alliance.
Mao said on Sunday they have largely discredited the Museveni regime but international sympathy has been slow in coming.
“That is changing. Shortly after Mbabazi got his baptism in Soroti and Jinja complete with Sukhoi jet fighters, the US Ambassador issued a statement denouncing police brutality.”
He said the regime is doing everything to destroy the alliance but that “TDA will not only survive the current turbulence but it will prevail”.
The Observer quotes former ethics minister, Miria Matembe, who accuses some FDC MPs of promoting President Museveni’s interests and frustrating TDA.
Matembe cited an instance of FDC youths backed by MPs Odonga Otto (Aruu), Jack Sabiiti (Rukiga), William Nzoghu (Busongora North), and Patrick Amuriat Oboi (Kumi), who stormed a TDA meeting in Bugolobi last Thursday and removed Besigye.
“The regime gets scared when it sees the opposition coming together. But that guy [Otto] is a goon, he came with those young people and they started shouting for us. They had no shoes. They are just a nuisance,” Matembe is quoted as saying.
She added: “I shudder when I see Ugandans still having hope in those MPs. Many of them are just goons; they are only interested in stealing money. You don’t know that these MPs are in Parliament just to do business?”
Kampala metropolitan police spokesman, Patrick Onyango, told the newspaper that their officers intervened only to secure the hotel but not to cause a fracas.
Onyango said the police had no instructions from the hotel to chase away the rowdy youth, denying having a hand in the chaos.