Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The five legislators from the Democratic Party who never joined the exodus to the National Unity Platform are now focusing their efforts on rebuilding the party.
Their resolve follows the defection of 11 members of the party to the platform, a new political outfit led by Kyaddondo East MP Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu. Some of the MPs who crossed to NUP include Mathias Mpuuga, Medard Lubega Ssegona, Joseph Ssewungu Gonzaga, Betty Nambooze, Muwanga Kivumbi, Allan Ssewanyana, Ssempala Kigozi, Robinah Ssentongo, Veronica Namaganda and Florence Namayanja.
The move left the Democratic Party with only 5 MPs who include Masaka Woman MP Mary Babirye Kabanda, Bukomansimbi South MP Deogratious Kiyingi, Nakaseke South MP Ssemakula Luttamaguzi, Gulu Municipality MP Lyandro Komakech and Tochi County MP Peter Okot.
The group of five say that unlike their colleagues who abandoned the ship, they plan to strengthen the Democratic Party despite the pressures and current challenges. Nakaseke South MP Ssemakula Lutamaguzi says that although he believes in the wave championed by Kyagulanyi and the people power movement, he still holds his principles and belonging from within the DP.
Luttamaguzi says that this is not the time to confuse voters by changing party and still not the time to leave. Instead he says it is the time to fix problems within the Democratic Party which were caused by DP members themselves.
Bukomansimbi County MP Deogratius Kiyingi says that he doesn’t have plans to leave DP, but will work to ensure that the party is built to regain its position in Uganda’s political landscape. He says he doesn’t believe in migration when the house is on fire but believes in saving the little that can be saved. He says the people who moved are not looking for a change but their survival.
On the other hand, MP Mary Babirye Kabanda says she still believes in the DP ideology and no matter how many people leave, she will still be there.
Tochi County MP Peter Okot and Gulu Municipality MP Lyandro Komakech say they will remain in DP despite the movements. “I am not a gambler, I am a Democratic Party Member and I am not crossing to anywhere,” Okot told URN.
While appearing on a televised show on Thursday night-NBS Frontline, DP President Norbert Mao said that they will work with the people who are available and front many candidates as MPs but also to take on the party leadership positions that have remained.
DP was founded in 1954 by Benedicto Kiwanuka, the first Prime Minister of Uganda. It was previously led by Paul Kawanga Ssemwogerere for 25-years, John Ssebaana Kizito, and now Norbert Mao. However even being one of the oldest political party, DP members have bickered and split into more than two factions.