16 August 2017

Uganda: FDC Deserves Credit for Building Democratic Culture


Forum for Democratic Change, the largest opposition political party in the country, has just concluded the nomination exercise for candidates who will compete for its leadership during internal elections to be held in November.

Three candidates were nominated on Monday, including the incumbent Maj Gen Mugisha Muntu, and two more joined them yesterday.

Front-runners in the race are believed to be Gen Muntu and former Kumi MP Patrick Amuriat. This is one exercise where the process is just as important as the outcome, if not more so.

FDC's presidential candidate Dr Kizza Besigye may not have managed to take power from NRM's Yoweri Museveni over the last three elections both have competed in, but the contribution of his political party in developing Uganda's democratic institutions can't be taken for granted.

Mugisha Muntu in particular is one individual whose contribution to Uganda's democratic growth deserves recognition.

In losing to Besigye thrice - once for party president and twice for party flag-bearer in national presidential elections - and yet falling in line with humility and dignity thereafter, Muntu has helped build a democratic culture that will influence future FDC and possibly Uganda's leaders.

Political parties in Uganda's current political system work under very difficult circumstances. They are cash-strapped and their officials are constantly being lured to join the riches in the ruling party. They are also up against not just NRM as a party, but the state in its full force.

As a result, most of the parties, including FDC, are at war within, with camps forming, top leadership being openly challenged, and legitimacy lacking.

As this internal electoral process shows, somehow FDC has coped better amid these challenges, and should be commended for it.

Years from now, Ugandans will look back at the role this political party and its leaders have played in the country's political journey and they will be filled with pride.

When all political parties get used to the culture of encouraging, rather than stifling, internal competition, and banish the fear to change their leaders, Uganda will be a better place.


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