The just-ended race for the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) leadership will be remembered as a significant step in the development of democracy in this country. It was gratifying to see the three candidates traverse the county in search of votes to lead their party, and probably the country in future.
Towards the end of the campaigns, the FDC made another significant statement when it staged a public debate for all the candidates, the first of its kind on the Ugandan political scene.
In a country where political competition has often been violent and acrimonious, at times involving guns, seeing candidates make their point in a civilised manner was a breath of fresh air.
Bringing the candidates together helps emphasise the often forgotten point that though people may disagree, politically, it doesn't make them enemies. That is the kind of politics we need to inculcate in our country for security and stability to be consolidated.
President Museveni likes to say that the National Resistance Movement (NRM) ended the politics of the gun in Uganda [after his rebels toppled the government] and introduced the politics of the microphone.
To some extent, yes, although we must point out that some guns still find their way into our politics under his NRM, especially during elections or mass protests. Yet if all politicians and their supporters realised that their country and their party are larger than themselves, there would be no need to use the gun so as to gain or hang onto power.
Indeed, if there is anything the FDC contest should teach us, it is that politics is not war. Politics is simply about the display of competing ideas. The best idea wins, and life goes on. If all political players bought into this outlook, we would have less political upheaval.
At the end of it all, the FDC has a new leader, the old one having understood that he is not bigger than the party. If only we can recreate such political maturity at the national stage! Through this process, the FDC could have changed the course of Uganda's politics forever. Congratulations!