Democratic Party President Norbert Mao has expressed pessimism on the possibility of an agreement between the ruling government and the opposition in Uganda, the kind that was realized last year in neighbouring Kenya.
In March 2019, Kenyan political adversaries Raila Odinga and then newly re-elected President Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta agreed to put aside their political difference and work together.
In the aftermath of the handshake, a task force known as the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) was assembled to look into nine long running grievances of Kenyan masses since the country attained independence in 1963.
Speaking on Tuesday, however, Mao said this is unlikely in Uganda owing to President Yoweri Museveni’s reluctance to speak to the opposition.
Mao said Museveni is under no pressure to speak to the opposition because of their insignifance on the grassroots, which is unlike in Kenya where Odinga’s CORD alliance commands 76 seats compared to Jubilee’s 171 seats out of 341 total seats.
This support Mao explained if well-muscled can force any leader to make political concessions, which unfortunately is not case here.
“Here even if all the opposition leaders decide to go on holidays for five years, there will be quorum, they will even have two thirds majority to amend the constitution,” he explained.
“But if you have a group that can block approval of loans in parliament, you can really squeeze him,” Mao added
As such, he advised that heading into the 2021 polls, opposition unity is paramount if they are to gain a significant majority in Parliament.
“Even if they try to rig, our unity will give us the leverage to contest the results in a more meaningful manner. Because right now, one opposition leader is arrested and people say that is him,” Mao advised.
As a way forward, Mao says this time, opposition groupings should not resist attempts to coalesce basing on selfish interests that he says wrecked the Democratic Alliance (TDA) in the last polls.
“FDC is a party which started in 2006, Ugandans have been struggling for so long. So we must pick a lesson that no leader or group should try to think that the Ugandans people’s struggle is his struggle or a struggle of his group,” Mao summed it up.