Members say leader of oldest party in country must either quit or wind it up
The leadership of President Norbert Mao of the Democratic Party is increasingly coming under major scrutiny. Mao is being accused of weakening Uganda’s oldest party with some critics saying he has ‘sold’ the party to President Yoweri Museveni.
This criticism has been sparked by another exodus of top party officials to the ruling party, partly fueled by internal fights and accusations against the party leadership of undemocratic tendencies, among others.
The latest to join this chorus of criticism is a group of elders. “When you hear the chairman of the party resigning; the Deputy Vice President and other top party members associating themselves with President Museveni just know the party is gone,” one of the elders told The Independent, “Unfortunately we are not seeing serious measures Mao and his group are putting in place to manage the problems in the party.”
The elder was referring to Muhammad Baswari Kezaala, who resigned from the party chairmanship after being appointed by President Museveni as deputy ambassador to a yet to be known destination and Party Vice President, Mukasa Mbidde and his boss Mao who are being accused of hobnobbing with President Museveni. This particular criticism is not new.
Lord Mayor, Erias Lukwago and former presidential aspirant Samuel Lubega are among those that have openly come out to criticise Mao’s leadership, which they have said threatens to throw DP into political limbo.
DP is divided and Museveni has many agents in the party including Mao, Mbidde and others, Lubega told The Independent in an interview.
“This is a coup aimed at finishing DP,” Lubega said, “It started in Mbale where Mao got elected as President General of the Party.”
Lubega said that Mao and his team must leave so that the party can get leaders to make it functional in line with its slogans – Truth and Justice.
Sections of members within the party have already made steps to effect the ousting of Mao’s top leadership.
For instance, the top DP leadership for Rakai district, Central Uganda comprising 22 members has unanimously agreed to force Mao and his associates to resign.
“We already have the letter drafted and minutes of the meeting to this effect and soon we will hand it over to Mao,” Robert Nsumba Mukasa, the group’s spokesperson told The Independent on Feb.5.
Mukasa said they are already in talks with other DP members across the country to push for Mao’s resignation.
“We don’t want Museveni to finish our party,” he said, before adding, you cannot lead a party without support from members like Erias Lukwago, Latif Sebagala, Medadi Segona, Mathias Mpuuga, Moses Kasibante among others. All these politicians have stayed away from the party throughout Mao’s reign.
However, according to legal experts, it is only a Delegate’s Conference that has powers to impeach the top leadership through voting.
Divided elders, members
In times like these, some say, the party would use counsel from party elders. But the elders also seem uncomfortable with Mao’s leadership.
“I understand the current situation in the party but I can’t rush to the media to give my position; I am better off helping the party silently,” Paul Kawanga Semwogerere who led the party as president general for 25 years until his retirement in November 2005 told The Independent.
Another elder, Sebaana Kizito, insiders say, already expressed his discontent with his successor’s leadership style and verbally recommended that he resigns to pave way for new leadership to move the party agenda forward.
These calls are being renewed following Kezaala’s departure. Kezaala joins Nakiwala Kiyingi who contested for the Kampala Woman Member of Parliament in the February elections on the DP ticket but lost to Forum for Democratic Change’s Naggayi Nabilah Sempala. Nakiwala was also snatched by President Museveni and appointed minister for Youth Affairs.