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DP re-writing the old script

Fred Mukasa Mbidde, the DP Vice President addresses councillors and other leaders from Masaka District who paid him a courtesy call at the party headquarters in Mengo Kampala on Feb.24 in an apparent show of solidarity for their District chairman. COURTESY PHOTO

Mao blames current woes on sensationalist media

Kampala, Uganda | RONALD MUSOKE | It is less than a year to the 2021 general election but the Democratic Party remains embroiled in a crisis that appears to have no end in sight.

Uganda’s oldest party, which was supposed to hold its delegates conference in March, this year, has since postponed the meeting to an unknown date, with a section of party members forming cliques which they are using to fight one another.

This year’s Valentine’s Day as the date of Feb.14 is known around the world became a day for showcasing hatred at the DP headquarters in Kampala.

Norbert Mao, the DP President had called for a meeting, the latest among many he has called in recent weeks, to try to douse the raging fire in his party. Top on the agenda this time was a revision and a re-charting of the roadmap for the forthcoming delegates’ conference.

But as has happened in recent weeks, chaos ensued again as party members exchanged blows when one group attempted to deny entry of Fred Mukasa Mbidde, the DP Vice President to the venue.

But it was not the brawl at the party headquarters that shook the party structures one more time; rather, it was the indefinite suspension of Sulaiman Kidandala, the party’s Organizing Secretary from carrying out any more party activities.

Kidandala was suspended by DP’s National Executive Committee (NEC) for “defying party directives and issuing contrary register books” in the ongoing registration of party members around the country. Registration of party members at village and parish level is the first activity on DP’s roadmap ahead of the 2021 elections.

Although Kidandala had earlier distributed the green registers, Mao recalled them saying the genuine ones were white in colour and were only distributed from the headquarters.  Kidandala’s registers had already been distributed in the areas of Wakiso and some parts of Masaka.

Mao said NEC had resolved that the management committee carry out a comprehensive evaluation of the roadmap as well as determine all pending petitions and report to NEC.

NEC also directed leaders of the branch and sub-branches to adhere to the NEC directive and use the white registration and return forms that bear the party seal and deliver all registers and return forms to the party headquarters through the Office of the Secretary General.  The meeting also resolved that NEC takes over implementation of activities in Wakiso, Kampala and Mukono districts.

Political accountability

The latest debacle did not go unnoticed by the DP MPs especially those that hail from Buganda. In a hastily arranged press briefing, on Feb.20, the MPs asked Mao to call an emergency meeting to resolve the controversies that continue to plague the party.

“We have noted the concern within our rank and file and the general public about the current political crisis brewing inside the party leadership which is largely attributed to the lack of respect to the constitution of the party by the would-be guardian, the Hon. Norbert Mao, and his self-centred faction of leaders,” a statement from the Office of the Democratic Party Whip in Parliament read by Lubega Medard Sseggona, MP Busiro East, said.

The DP MPs through their Parliamentary Caucus had recently asked the party leadership to account for all the money that DP has received through the Inter-Party Organisation for Dialogue (IPOD) and the EC. This time round, the legislators made another demand; asking Mao to give the party members ‘political accountability.’

The MPs say the Democratic Party Constitution conforms to Article 71 of the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda that provides for both political and financial accountability, a benchmark of any good leader and good governance. But also, the DP Party Constitution is clear on internal democratic mechanisms, and democratic practices.

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