By Bob Roberts Katende
A Buganda region reconciliation meeting that was convened by the National Executive Committee at Pope Paul in Ndeeba raised more questions than answers about a possibility of the two DP factions working together any time soon.
The participants, mainly district chairpersons thought they would resolve the empasse over the position of the secretary general..
The acting chairperson, Betty Nambooze, sitting in for the chairman, Joseph Balikuddembe put it plainly to the meeting. Whether we want to hear it or not the party has two secretary generals, two factions, two youth leaders, in some cases two district party chairmen.
We are destined for two delegates conferences, Nambooze said and you could hear a pin drop.
During the debate and despite Nambooze’s earlier warning not to apportion blame, Issa Kikungwe, the only person from the Ssebana faction used the opportunity to go bare knuckle. He said the partys biggest problems are Nambooze and Lukwago, who according to him, have taken a larger than life picture in the party.
The two of you petitioned the party president that Lulume Bayiga had not delivered on his responsibilities as Deputy Secretary General and that he should resign. How come its the same person you are supporting now as Secretary General against Mathias Nsubuga? You portray yourself as a person who loves this party so much and how come you have never declared the Shs 256 million that you recieved from the court cases where you represented the party?
He was supported by Uganda Young Democrats who said if the two have scores to settle with anyone they should wait for the Delegates Conference rather than jeopardising its organisation. Efforts from the audience to stop blaming others fell on deaf ears as he threatened to spill more.
From then on the meeting went haywire as accusations and counter accusations took the better part of it with some members accusing the Baganda for running down the party.
The meeting was watered down when Muwanga Kivumbi, a vocal supporter spoke. As a party we stand for constitutionalism and rule of law, he began, how do we enforce our constitution by organising unconstitutional meetings like this whose resolutions can never be enforced? This is time wastage,â€ he concluded.
The meeting achieved little apart repeating earlier recommendations from a National Council meeting that sat at Bukasa towards the end of last year that suggested that a mediation team be formed to solve the gridlock.
The appointed mediator, former DP Secretary General Paul Ssemogerere finds himself in a difficult position mediating between two factions that are firmly holding onto their stance to organize two delegates conferences if need be. This means that two presidential candidates will be elected on the same party ticket. This happened during the mayoral race where both Hasib Takuba and Ssebagala Nasser claimed to be the partys flag bearers. And it did not start with them.
In 2001 when Zachary Olum, and Mariano Drametu held a â€œdelegates conferenceâ€ and elected Francis Bwengye president, and even took over the partys headquarters at City House, Ssemogerere then shifted to Christ the King Church with his members that included Ssebana Kizito, and Damiano Lubega.
Today Mukiibi’s faction cannot step at the partys headquarters after being beaten by the Uganda The wrangles continue to affect the partys credibility in both the eyes of the donors and the electorate. The Deepening Democracy Programme recently announced that it would give over Shs 1.5 billion to parties for internal democratic organisation. But among the prerequisites were for the ability of the party to mobilise funds and their financial management systems. Though DP boasts of being the oldest political party, it fell below these baseline assessments. This is because of squabbles over who should sell party cards and how funds that accrue from the sales are spent.
Young Democrats whom Mukiibi referred to as lumpens. He has found a home Pope Paul.
The only chance that Ssemogerere and his mediation team, which includes Banya Angelo, John Francis Kamya, Kabereiho, JB Isabirye, M Mukasa, has is the trust that both factions have in it. We have decided not to be part of it to make sure that it remains impartial and it will be Dr Ssemogerere to decide when to convene their meetings, says Nambooze.
Its this trust in party elders that broke the stalemate in 2004 when Boniface Byanyima reconciled Bwengye and Ssemogerere factions.