New Vision (Kampala)

9 January 2013

Uganda: Democratic Party Ready for Coalition

The Democratic Party (DP) is ready for "a meaningful coalition" with other opposition political parties ahead of the 2016 general elections.

The party president, Norbert Mao said if the opposition wants to change government and deal with the problems of this country, they must adopt a cooperative approach.

"The opposition can never achieve anything when it is still divided and disorganized like today. As DP we believe in a meaningful and serious coalition if we are to achieve our goals," he noted.

Giving his new year message at the party's weekly press briefing at the party headquarters in Kampala yesterday, Mao stressed that there is need for opposition to come up with an agenda and a roadmap ahead of the next elections.

He said there is need to give people hope that change is possible without use of any force but by the vote.

Mao said in the past opposition coalitions have failed because they have always done it hurriedly without a clear agenda thus failing to agree on terms.

"We need to have enough time to choose our joint candidate after reaching an agreement. It will also give us time to sell our candidate to the public in the entire country," he added.

In 2011, presidential elections the opposition coalition 'Inter-Party Coalition' (IPC) failed after some political parties refused to join while others within the alliance refused to respect the terms of joint candidates.

Mao said IPC failed because the idea came in late, thus failing to agree over certain terms.

He said at a time of political crisis reaching out across the political divide for the national good is not only a sign of political maturity but of a working democracy.

Mao said the opposition needs to draw lessons from the past events and unite based on principles rather than religious, ethnic or political affinity.

He also called upon all democracy seeking organizations to craft agenda and use measures that will compel Government to comply with demands for democracy.

Mao said he was already discussing the matter with other opposition political leaders over the matter.

"We should put our differences aside if we are to move forward. I am willing to speak with the Leader of Opposition, Nandala Mafabi, FDC leader, Mugisha Muntu and UPC leaders among others," he said.

He noted that since 2011, DP and other parties have been facing internal wrangles, saying that all parties need to clean up their houses to strengthen their structures and support.

About the death of Butaleja woman MP Cerinah Nebanda, Mao noted that only thorough investigations can clear those under suspicion, stressing that the more government interferes with an independent investigation, the more there be will suspicion that government was hiding something.

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