The Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) party president, Patrick Amuriat, has said many times that the opposition political parties need to be united ahead of the 2021 elections.
DP spokesperson, Kenneth Kakande says working together between Besigye and Kyagulanyi is a good sign.
“We are happy with the gesture of Besigye and Kyagulanyi. This indicated that we can work together as people who want change. If we strengthen our unity, we can achieve what we want. This will help us not to divide votes,” he noted.
At the launch of the Alliance, Bobi Wine said coming together is the only option for them if they are to defeat President Museveni in 2021.
“We know our enemy and the enemy of Uganda that’s Museveni and his regime. So the more we fight against each other, we are delaying the change that we want. This country is bigger than your principals’ it belongs to all of us; it can only change when we put our efforts together.”
“For the masses that have been calling upon our unification, yes we have been working together. We have been talking… and this that we’re doing today is just yet another step into the right direction. To our supporters out there we see the contradictions, we see the attacks and counter-attacks and we want this to be a practical message to you out there. To know that we’re not each other’s enemies. We know our enemy. We know the enemy of Uganda and that is Museveni and his regime of national shame. The more we fight against each other, the more we delay the change that Ugandans so desperately want.”
Besigye said it has never been more important to work together than now.
“Our country is deeply divided, what we are doing today is giving direction to the marginalised people,” he said, “We can say from here let the whole country unite to say enough is enough.”
But if they hoped for excitement or celebration from the public over the alliance, Besigye and Bobi Wine have not got it. Instead, theie effort has been scoffed at by the ruling party, NRM, of President Yoweri Museveni.
“That alliance is bound to fail and will be comfortably be defeated,” said Rogers Mulindwa, the spokesperson of the NRM secretariat, “These alliances don’t usually yield much because the opposition in Uganda is weak.
“We almost have no political opposition in this country. Their alliances are opportunistic and are usually abandoned immediately after the election thereby becoming part of our history.”
The NRM’s confidence in dismissing opposition alliances stems from their performance in the previous elections.
The voting patterns in the last three elections seem to suggest that a united opposition against Museveni does not sway voters. There is no shift of votes from the ruling party to the opposition and they appear not to excite the vast majority of Ugandans who have shunned both the ruling party and the main opposition party; the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC).
Even among political observers, many have dismissed the Besigye-Bobi alliance as just another that will not work. They refer to many other alliances that have formed before by opposition political leaders around election time and failed.
In 1996, the opposition united under Interparty Cooperation fronting Paul Kawanga Ssemogerere of the Democratic Party (DP) as their candidate, in 2001 the opposing politicians united under the Reform Agenda fronted Dr. Besigye, in 2011, again they united under Suubi campaign and in 2016 elections there were efforts to unite under The Democratic Alliance (TDA)-Go Forward alliance of former NRM Secretary General Amama Mbabazi.
These alliances do not usually give opposition politicians and added advantage and die out almost as soon as they are announced. Some are backed by donors and are abandoned as soon as the donor money runs out or immediately after the election.
Meanwhile, Museveni ensures that the opposition parties cannot unite by creating further divisions within them. He widens the cracks in the opposition through creating mistrust among them. In the latest move, Museveni has snatched budding opposition leader Sarah Kanyike. Before becoming deputy lord mayor of Kampala Capital City Authority, Kanyike had been a long term personal assistant to opposition strongman; the Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago who is a member of Besigye’s political inner circle.
Last year, Museveni snatched Bobi Wine’s lieutenants including socialites and singer Jennifer Nakanguub aka Full Figure and Mark Bugembe aka Buchaman making them presidential advisors on ghetto.
Before that Museveni appointed four ministers from across opposition parties. They include Betty Anywar; the one-time Besigye confidante, Florence Nakiwala Kiyingi from the opposition Democratic Party as minister, Beti Kamya; the former leader of the opposition Uganda Federal Alliance (UFA) and Betty Amongi, wife of the leader of the opposition Uganda Peoples Congress.