June 12, 2013

Opposition Plots Coalition Ahead of 2016 polls


Olara Otunnu, the UPC President denies reports that their meetings include plots on how to forge relations with the UPDF, Police and intelligence services among others.
UPC President Olara Otunnu who is also in court over Defaming President Museveni
UPC President Olara Otunnu who is also in court over Defaming President Museveni

Opposition parties under the Inter Party Cooperation are to use their past experience as a lesson ahead of the 2016 general elections. Leaders of Democratic Party, JEEMA, Social Democratic Party, Uganda People’s Congress and Forum for Democratic Change have had a series of meetings at Uganda House home to UPC. Olara Otunnu, the UPC President denies reports that their meetings include plots on how to forge relations with the UPDF, Police and intelligence services among others.

He explains that they want to draw lessons starting with the 1996 Presidential elections when the opposition rallied behind DP’s Paul Kawanga Ssemwogerere until the 2011 general elections when they attempted to rally behind FDC’s Dr. Kiiza Besigye but failed due to differences of individual party leaders.

The opposition leaders agreed to be clear from within on what model of collaboration and cooperation would be appropriate and set out the objectives of their collaboration. The leaders also resolved to identify specific projects they would work on jointly, above all reach out and cooperate broader sectors of patriotic formations in the country.

Maj. Gen Mugisha Muntu who was part of the National Resistance Army that went to the bush in 1981 and took power in 1986 recalls that it was clear that the military was in the centre of politics. He says that at the time they agreed that there had to be a simultaneous de-linkage of the military from the political process and they would act as a professional institution to create stability. Muntu says the opposition is going to remind the police, military and the intelligence services that they are part of the 34 million people and have a life outside uniform.

The security services should therefore work consciously of that future. Gen. Muntu notes that if that environment is devoid of freedom and rights then the officers will walk right into the problem and that is why the opposition is pushing for them to remain neutral irrespective of who is head of state. He adds that in the next two years before the 2016 they are going to keep communicating in different ways and see how they are going to manage the political transition.

The opposition political leaders are expected to hold another meeting at the end of June to formulate more specific positions. Crispy Kaheru the coordinator Citizen Coalition for Electoral Democracy in Uganda reveals that they are already holding meetings with the political parties under the IPC and the National Consultative Forum. In the 2011 general elections the civil society groups pushed for electoral reforms and believe change can only be achieved through collective responsibility. Kaheru states that they are carrying out policy consultations with Inter-Party Organisation for Dialogue and plan to engage inactive political parties and see how they can be reactivated.

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