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DP leaders meet over delegates conference

By Ronald Musoke & Flavia Nassaka

Exactly a week after N Ronald Musokeorbert Mao announced his leave from office, one would have expected Mathias Nsubuga, the party’s Secretary General, and John Baptist Kawanga, the national vice president—the two men Mao chose to stand in for him while he recuperates— to immediately address and show the party supporters that all is well in DP.

Instead, the men missed the opportunity and have allowed more speculation that something fishy within the DP hierarchy is going on.

This was given more credence at the weekly press conference held on Mar.03 at the party headquarters in Kampala.

Mao has always graced these press conferences with his trademark smile and humour—often times briefing the media about pertinent party and national issues.

This time, Kenneth Kakande, the party’s publicity secretary stood all alone at the podium. And he barely hinted on the party’s immediate plans in the absence of Mao. He could not even say anything about DP’s preparations for the inevitable Delegates’ Conference where the next party president will be chosen.

Kakande instead chose to focus on the ‘blunder’ that President Yoweri Museveni has made in choosing a new cabinet that only enhances his 2016 sole candidature plan.

He also demanded that the government gives a clear explanation of what led to the death of Dr. Andrew Lutakome Kayiira, a DP faithful and chairman of the Uganda Freedom Movement (UFM) who was murdered 28 years ago under unclear circumstances while at a friend’s house in Makindye.

“Like many other mysterious murders that have taken place in Uganda before and after this, people of goodwill are still waiting for a more appreciated explanation concerning this heinous crime whose victim is one of the few individuals who chose to put their life in harms’ way in order to fight for freedom, democracy and good governance in Uganda,” Kakande said.

“The Democratic Party would like to remind the Museveni government under whose hands, Kayiira was killed, that they are duty bound to give a more credible explanation about a murder they have failed to account for.”

Kakande said DP is surprised by the government’s apparent neglect of the Kayiira family that is wallowing in abject poverty and that even when the “dictators” that Kayiira fought have been praised or rewarded by the Museveni government, the former UFM leader has not been recognised for his role in the fight for freedom in Uganda.

“We believe that this mind-set makes up the circumstantial evidence that need to be analyzed as we seek answers as to how, why and who might have killed Dr. Andrew Lutakome Kayiira.”

Although Kakande’s choice of ‘issues’ at the press conference are quite valid, that does not mean that other more pressing issues in his court should not have been dealt with decisively.

Disunity, intrigue and sectarianism are some of the vices said to be threatening to tear apart Uganda’s oldest political organisation.

With the Electoral Commission just six months away from flagging off the 2016 presidential campaigns, DP is yet to hold its delegates conference.

Mathias Nsubuga, who is at the moment standing in for Mao, told The Independent recently that he was still not sure when the party would hold its delegates’ conference since the party’s top leadership is still receiving proposals for the 2016 roadmap.

“We will soon be communicating the date but what the public should know is that there’s no sole candidature in DP…Those intending to become party leaders will make it known,” he said.

When asked to provide an explanation for the seeming inactivity within the party, Fred Mukasa Mbidde, the Masaka District party chairperson who is also a legislator in the East African parliament told The Independent on March 9 that DP “is not just about running activities at its headquarters”.

“If you read in the press, you will for instance know that there are a lot of activities going on around the country.  Press conferences are supposed to be run by people who are in charge of them [DP Press Secretary].”

Mbidde also said DP does not handle its issues at Delegates Conferences only and that the notion and anxiety that new leaders are supposed to be elected at these kinds of forums is a creation of politicians.  He said the party would hold the Delegates’ Conference in the second quarter of 2015 where many sticking points will be discussed including amending the party’s constitution to allow DP join a coalition with other opposition parties to front one presidential candidate for the 2016 elections—in case such an arrangement occurs in the coming months.   Mbidde said the party hierarchy is currently finalising details about a retreat for its National Executive Committee to agree the agenda for the Delegates’ Conference.

“We are not in a hurry to hold a Delegates’ Conference for the sake of it, but we are in a hurry to canvass for support ahead of the 2016 general elections,” said Mbidde.

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