Opposition party Democratic Party (DP) president Norbert Mao has blasted former Forum for Democratic Change FDC leader Rtd Col Kiiza Besigye accusing him of creating a cult of personality around himself instead of building strong institutions to grow democracy in the country.
Mao unleashed this political ‘missile’ while delivering what he called his Labour day message, blaming the former FDC strongman of being behind the confusion in the party’s youth wing, the Uganda Young Democrats (UYD).
“I also know that he has a role in the current confusion in the UYD” Mao says adding that the Inter Party cooperation (IPC) failed because Besigye ‘didn’t adhere to the agreed protocol.’
The IPC was an arrangement by opposition political parties to field a single presidential candidate to challenge in the last presidential election. However the project did not materialize as some political party heads pulled out of the cooperation.
Mao also praised FDC president Mugisha Muntu as one of the leaders who believe institutions should be built at the expense of personality while bashing Muntu’s predecessor.
“There are those who believe that political parties are irrelevant and we should embrace a personality driven struggle and not bother with the agenda we seek to achieve. Then there are those who believe that institutions matter and those political actors should relate on an institutional basis and craft an inclusive agenda” He added “The first tendency is being promoted by Olara Otunnu, Mugisha Muntu and Norbert Mao. The second tendency has Col Besigye as its high priest.”
The DP president says he is ready to face any kind of criticism that will be directed at him as a result of the statement targeting Besigye saying “I will pay the price for error of judgement and all you folks will have the pleasure of saying “we told you…”.
Below is Mao’s full statement
“There are two tendencies in the opposition today. There are those who believe that political parties are irrelevant and we should embrace a personality driven struggle and not bother with the agenda we seek to achieve. Then there are those who believe that institutions matter and that political actors should relate on an institutional basis and craft an inclusive agenda.
The first tendency is being promoted by Olara Otunnu, Mugisha Muntu and Norbert Mao. The second tendency has Col Besigye as its high priest. That is why unlike Ssebaana Kizito who travelled around Uganda to introduce me as the new DP leader, Col. Besigye has never been seen to move with Gen Muntu to introduce him as his successor. Why?
Secondly IPC failed because Col. Besigye didn’t adhere to the agreed protocol. Summit members were to get support for the positions they were aspiring for but Col. Besigye undermined people like Micheal Mabikke and Muhammad Mayanja who should have been supported under the protocol.
If you are not faithful in small things will you be faithful in big ones? That is why Olara Otunnu quit the IPC in protest. I do not agree that if you are a leader in the opposition then you should not be criticised. We should all be open to scrutiny.
It is also not true that Col. Besigye has never criticised me. I have heard him publicly criticise me in the media. I also know that he has a role in the current confusion in the UYD.
In 2011 he encouraged individuals in DP to back him and today his strategy is the same. Ugandans have a choice between the two tendencies. I have spoken my mind without dithering or equivocating. Personally I know that what happened in Egypt can happen in Uganda.
Ugandans will trust individuals and institutions that have struggled over time for democracy, truth and justice. They will not cling to straws in the wind. That is why the Muslim Brotherhood is in power.
On the whole this debate is healthy and very liberating. Lets pursue the truth and it will set us free. Sometimes people will try to deceive us but we should never succumb to self deception.
Trouble with the truth is that you may denounce it, smear it and ignore it but at the end of the day, there it is. We better have bitter disagreements as we struggle to find a way out of our national malaise rather than pretending to agree then fight as soon as the first goal is reached. Aren’t the lesson of KY/UPC, Moshi and Luweero Triangle glaring enough?
I rather march to a lone drum rather than to a tumultuous orchestra beckoning me over the cliff and to doom. On this matter I will endure all the possible insults and bear any injury to my reputation.
I will keep the company of Galileo, Thomas More and the martyrs of Paimol (Jildo Irwa and Daudi Okello). If I am wrong, I will pay the price for error of judgement and all you folks will have the pleasure of saying “we told you…”.
But again, what if I am right? What if Uganda’s problems need strong institutions rather than strong men (women)? On this Labour Day I dedicate to you Tina Turner’s song “We Do Not Need Another Hero!”