Opinion: Revisiting the TDA [and where are they now?]

5. The goal of The Democratic Alliance shall be achieved through the pursuance of the following objectives:

a) Building the necessary mobilization capabilities and organizational infrastructure of the Alliance and its members in order to win power;

b) Developing and presenting a common policy and governance agenda for elections;

c) Ensuring the attainment of an electoral majority by fielding candidates for all electoral positions across the country;

d) Fielding of joint candidates for electoral offices as set out in this Protocol;

e) Constituting a Transitional Government of National Unity (TGNU) with the purpose of implementing appropriate political and economic reforms to build a strong and durable foundation for democracy, rule of law and economic justice” (Protocol of the Democratic Alliance, June 2015).

Because of the recent cooperation agreement between the Democratic Party (DP) and the National Resistance Movement (NRM). This has started questions about the legitimacy of the coalition that was one part of the opposition ahead of the General Elections in 2016. It is striking that this is happening now and it’s worth to look into what has happened ever since.

The TDA was a coalition made by a various set of parties. The two parties that directly went out of the coalition early was Uganda Peoples Congress (UPC) and the Forum for Democratic of Change (FDC). However, the others stayed behind and they went ahead to stand behind the former Prime Minister and Secretary General of the NRM, Amama Mbabazi. He became the Joint Presidential Candidate of the TDA and the Pressure Group of “Go Forward”.

The TDA was much larger than Mbabazi alone. It was the Conservative Party (CP), Democratic Party (DP), Justice Forum (JEEMA), Pressure for National Unity (PNU), People’s Progressive Party (PPP) and Uganda Federal Alliance (UFA). So, there were a handful of leaders in and around the TDA. There was also Olara Otunnu from the UPC and Dr. Kizza Besigye from the FDC. The UPC as a party left, but Otunnu stayed on, if I remember correctly.

The leaders who are vital part of TDA was Amama Mbabazi, Ken Lukyamuzi, Norbert Mao, Asuman Basalirwa, Beti Kamya, Gilbert Bukenya aka Mahogany and Dick Odur. There was also others associated and part of the proceedings like Mugisha Muntu and others. Therefore, it was a team of the opposition at the time who at certain points did their part here.

However, as time has shown us. Plenty of these people has sided with the NRM or returned to the NRM. The Presidential Flag-Bearer Mbabazi was a NRM Member and hadn’t revoked his membership as he was standing up against Museveni. So, that he returned and is in the good graces with the President is just natural. The stage of Go Forward was only a short sighted project and was over the moment the election was over.

Bukenya has also returned and is living the good life. His living large and having perks with titles and being part of the elite. The Former Vice President has no worries and was only for a minute or less an “opposition”. I doubt we will ever see anything of the PNU ever again.

Mao has just become the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs. His working in cooperation with the government. Still part of the DP but he has a hectic period ahead of him. As insiders in the party wants him out and ousted. Since, this agreement wasn’t signed of from the party or the members. The DP Block has even dismissed him too.

Kamya has gone from being appointed Minister of Kampala. To lose her leadership of her party the UFA. Later becoming a NRM Member and changing Ministry. Now she’s the IGG but certainly not electable or viable candidate. She has become a typical crony of Museveni over the years.

Basalirwa has been close to the People Power Movement and the National Unity Platform. He has ensured popularity and gotten elected into Parliament as the only JEEMA MP. Therefore, his the first man here who is actual opposition from the TDA still.

Lukyamuzi has on the other hand lost his constituency and not become a third time re-elected to Rubaga South MP. He instead focused on finishing his degree, which he did in 2017. The Party President and former MP has been a vocal critic of the government. Even made a case against the Age Limit in the courts, which was dismissed. So, he is an actual man in the opposition. “The Man” is true to his missions and his goals.

Otunnu has been resigned from politics. He also lost the Party Presidency. The UPC has since then signed a secret agreement with the NRM. That’s why the UPC haven’t fielded a Presidential Candidate for two elections in a row. Otunnu has kept himself in the background and you can wonder if he will resurface or do anything for that matter.

Muntu also lost the Party Presidency. He lost to another candidate within the FDC. This made him create a New Formation, which is now known as the Alliance for National Transformation (ANT). That party was launched in time for the 2021 General Elections and he ran as President.

Besigye ran a the Presidential Flag-Bearer for the FDC and created the People’s Government after swearing himself in after the General Elections in 2016. Since then he has launched several of campaigns and the latest after the 2021 elections is the Red Card Front. A voice of the opposition still.

There are several of other leaders who are in the opposition that was a part of the TDA in 2015/2016. These could be Mathias Mpuuga (former DP now NUP), Betty Nambooze (former DP now NUP) and so fourth. There are more people that has been involved and could be mentioned, but that would make this piece to long.

However, a huge pattern are still there. Plenty of the TDA high ranking leadership went either back to NRM or has found a home in government. That is really happening on a larger scale. We shouldn’t be surprised that Mbabazi and Bukenya went back home. However, the others should really be questioned…

This was a short revising of the TDA. An alliance built quickly and seemingly destroyed. It wasn’t meant to be. We shouldn’t expect the Go Forward or the PNU to be returning either. The era of the TDA is gone and it’s for a reason. The TDA was built on sand and not on mountain. If it had been real and a sincere enterprise. So many of these leaders wouldn’t have sought shelter under the wings of the man who they were promised to create a Transitional Government of National Unity (TGNU).

Obviously… things didn’t pan out, but it is a picture, which shows how the times are changing. Peace.

Uganda – The Democratic Alliance (TDA): Press Statement on the Signing of the Protocol of the Democratic Alliance (10.06.2015)

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