Norbert Mao’s plan
But if, as is being predicted, Mabikke has returned to cause trouble in DP, the person who has to clean up that mess is party President Nobert Mao. At the press briefing, Mao sounded like one who has thought deeply about the issue. He said the returnees, who he calls “defectors” must have realised that DP is not a party that can be easily washed away. He also said he runs an open door system where he can never block other democracy seeking forces from joining DP.
“We have had deep and serious talks with them and have solved our differences to a large extent. You know we have learnt from our history and it dictates doing things differently. We are now trying to think outside the confines of the region, personal egos,” he said.
“DP is well entrenched and has a good international network, and only requires little to refocus”.
Mabikke seems to agree.
He said they realised that the DP is a superior organisation to the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) which has been the leading opposition party for the last 15 years.
“The opposition has suffered many setbacks in these 15 years, because FDC didn’t have tested cadres and the organisational prowess DP has,” he says, “In fact FDC actually brought rivalry in areas that had been covered by DP instead of going to areas that had not yet been liberated from the NRM.”
He says, despite this, DP had surrendered its role to FDC – a newer party, and a mere break away from NRM. Now he says, the FDC “is disintegrating” with internal fights and breakaways by the Gen. Mugisha Muntu faction.
“Most of them are soldiers, they don’t know civilian organisation. They are more conversant with military organisation,” he says.
Mabikke says his current plan, after bringing back active but scattered members, is to set up a strategy that will involve other opposition political parties. The plan is to launch what they have called ‘One to One Model’ at the center of which is fronting one opposition candidate against Museveni in the 2021 presidential polls and one candidate for both local government positions and the parliamentary slots across the country.
The “zoning” as they are calling it, is already done according to Samuel Walter Lubega; a 2011 presidential candidate. He adds that the “collective forces of change will agree on one candidate who has the biggest advantage to trounce an NRM candidate”.
Under the zoning approach, Mabikke and company have allocated constituencies to parties according to areas where, according to them, the parties have a comparative advantage. According to their already announced preliminary planning, DP will take charge over Buganda, parts of Busoga, Bukedi, Acholi and parts of west Nile. FDC will reign in Kigezi, Ankole, Bugisu, Bunyoro and Sebei regions, the yet to be registered group of Maj. Gen. Mugisha Muntu will take over the Rwenzori region whereas Karamoja and Lango will be covered by the Uganda People’s Congress.
“There is no reason why DP should go to Kigezi in a general election yet there’s an opposition party with comparative advantage. We are borrowing this from economics but we know it will help minimize inter-opposition party rivalry. It’s not healthy and has partly been responsible for our loss to NRM in some areas,” Lubega says.