Mukono — Three registered Opposition political parties are in talks to unite ahead of preparations for the next election, their leaders have said.
The parties are the Democratic Party (DP) led by Mr Norbert Mao, the Social Democratic Party (SDP) led by Mr Micheal Mabikke and People's Development Party (PDP) led by Mr Abedi Bwanika.
Mr Mabikke's SDP is an offshoot of DP, formed when Mr Mabikke disagreed with his erstwhile colleagues in DP, while PDP is what has provided the umbrella for Mr Bwanika's ineffectual three shots at the presidency, starting with the 2006 election.
Mr Bwanika and Mr Mao have been openly critical of the Dr Kizza Besigye, who has been the FDC presidential candidate for three times, and the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC).
In the last election, Mr Mao's DP and Mr Mabikke's SDP threw their weight behind former prime minister Amama Mbabazi, while Mr Bwanika pursued the presidential seat for himself.
"The engagement is about working together to form a powerful political bloc so that we can win and continue maintaining pressure through collective action on the government," Mr Mao said on Thursday.
He added: "We have not locked out anybody but we have started with PDP and SDP because we have been moving with them all through last year, even in the reunion [which DP held at Makerere University in May last year] and it's logical that we formalise the partnership."
He said after concretising their cooperation with PDP and SDP, they will look to build a wider partnership with the other Opposition parties ahead of the 2021 elections.
Dr Bwanika confirmed the talks, saying the main objective is to cause political change.
"We want to identify and agree on candidates because 2021 is not very far, and to come up with power action committees to structure power that are involved in this engagement," Dr Bwanika said.
Mr Henry Lubowa, the secretary general of SDP, also confirmed the engagement.
"We want to create favourable structures to oust the ruling regime because Ugandans want change, and we as leaders want to ensure this happens without bloodshed," Mr Lubowa said.