To the leaders of The Democratic Alliance, Kampala, Uganda
As you deliberate the choice of a joint candidate for president, please remember the experience of our Kenyan cousins in 1992 and 1997.
A fractious opposition that featured the most egotistical leaders one could imagine, handed Daniel arap Moi five more years even when the majority of Kenyans did not support him.
The combined opposition vote was 64 per cent.
Five years later, having ignored the lessons of ’92, again the opposition leaders could not agree on a winning candidate. So we had several of them go against each other, enabling the great professor of politics to sail back to the State House. The combined opposition vote was 60 per cent.
The Kenyan opposition finally woke up in 1992. The recent deserters from KANU (George Saitoti, Raila Odinga, Kalonzo Musyoka et al) were received with open arms by those who had been in the opposition trenches for many years. There was none of the business I hear of “where were you when we were suffering?”
There was no blame-game against those who had been part of the Moi machine for years. All were welcomed into NARC, for they wanted change.
Whereas there were several formidable men and women who could have been strong candidates for president, the NARC folks wisely zeroed in on a man who was most likely to win.
They recognized that elections were decided by numbers, not emotions. Emilio Mwai Kibaki was the most likely candidate to carry the opposition into government. The rest is history.
The choice before you, ladies and gentlemen, is critically important for Uganda. TDA must win the support of traditional opposition members/voters AND the millions of NRM members/voters who are tired of the current government. Not one or the other. Both.
We must therefore welcome the NRM into the TDA. Those who say that we cannot have the democratic faction of the NRM in the TDA should rethink their position.
We need an ALLIANCE of all who want democratic change. I am certain that the regime’s thinkers and operatives are desperately hoping that we reject the NRM folks who want change. DO NOT FALL FOR IT.
As one who has been with you in the trenches for many years, I urge you to be very clinical in your decision-making. To me the choice boils down to Dr. Kizza Besigye or Mr. Amama Mbabazi.
Choose the one who offers the best chance of breaking the hold that Museveni and his group have on the land. Yes we need to transform the politics, the economy, and the culture of Uganda.
But first, we must take the government. Otherwise, it will be another 5 years in opposition.
Kenya 1992. Kenya 1997. Kenya 2002. Never forget.
Dr. Muniini K. Mulera
Cc: Leaders of Forum for Democratic Change
Cc: Leaders of NRM Go Forward Campaign
Cc: Leaders of the Democratic Party