“The way to get back our power is to unite all of us and the population to be rallied together. Once that happens, I’m very excited that I can see it now beginning to happen. Even if we said that let all of us do this, this regime has no capacity to stop it” – Dr Kizza Besigye (01.08.2022).
Today there was a real launch of a joint opposition ahead of the next elections. This was a mix of various parties and formations. The main ones are the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) and National Unity Platform (NUP). The other parties was the People’s Progressive Party (PPP), Justice Forum (JEEMA) and the DP Block. While the People’s Front for Transition (PFT) and People Power Movement (PPM).
This is the first one that is like this since the Democratic Alliance (TDA).The TDA have been shaky and most of the members there has ended up in the arms of the regime.
The TDA isn’t the only joint opposition ahead of an election. In 2011 the opposition went ahead with a coalition called the Inter-Party Cooperation (IPC). In 2020 the FDC and NUP created the United Forces of Change (UFC).
Today we are seeing a new front with a lot more parties and formations behind it. That could strengthen the cause. We have already seen the NUP and FDC supporting a joint candidate in the Soroti East By-Election in the Moses Attan there. The new Press Conference and Joint Statement shows not only sentiment, but a plan for the parties ahead.
“This country is bigger than our political parties. The mission is bigger than building our political parties. In any case, one would argue that there are no political parties in Uganda because we do not operate like political parties” (Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, 01.08.2022).
The Joint Statement is stating the plan ahead:
“Going forward, we shall jointly or severally use any upcoming elections to organise and rally the population to defend their democratic rights and end the election ‘madness’ that has bedeviled our country since independence” (Joint Statement, 01.08.2022).
It will be interesting to see it happening in the upcoming by-elections. The opposition is showing a united force and its needed. The messages from the leaders is as important. Because, the parties and formations are pledging to work together.
The ruling regime and the National Resistance Movement (NRM) have been met with similar coalitions before, but this time around there is no direct or former NRM who will leave the fold quickly. The ones that has left the NRM did it so long ago… that it seems impossible for a return.
This statement comes days after the NRM-DP Cooperation Agreement and the previous election agreement between NRM-UPC. Therefore, this time around the Joint Opposition has to prove it. As the NRM is purging and trying to convince the opposition of working with them.
The Joint Opposition have to show it and also ensure they field the best candidates. They have to show the malpractice and undermine the election rigging. In such a manner, that the NRM cannot live with it or even announce the results. The opposition has to show fierce methods and not only play to the rules of the state. Opposition cannot just participate, but prove everything wrong with the regime.
Time will tell if this will work. The ambition and sentiment behind is commendable. I am hope it does make a difference. Not only a Press Conference and a Statement. The people have to see it and the parties and formations have to show it. Peace.