Lesson For Uganda’s FDC From DRC

By Andrew Mwenda

President of Congo Joseph Kabila looks on during the closing news conference at the Francophone Summit in Montreux
President of Congo Joseph Kabila looks on during the closing news conference at the Francophone Summit in Montreux October 24, 2010. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse (SWITZERLAND – Tags: POLITICS)

Happy new year to everyone!

The other day, the opposition in DRC forced President Joseph Kabila to respect term limits on the presidency. He agreed step down end of the year. They achieved this by organizing a defiance campaign that lasted weeks and saw dozens killed. For the last 16 years Besigye had promised this outcome and consistently failed to deliver on it. Why?

FDC supporters keep writing long essays on all the obstacles M7 has put in place to stop them from getting into power. This childish argument misses the point that it is not M7’s job to make it easy for his opponents to remove him.

No one does that. Even God the almighty has not given his arch rival, the devil, any chance of success in the coming battle between the two. M7’s is exactly doing that which he is supposed to do – do everything possible to retain power.

ALSO READ || Why Besigye Must Go

Therefore it is simply childish and stupid for anyone in the opposition to expect any gifts from M7. The challenge of the opposition is to organize so effectively as to tear down M7’s obstacles.

But the opposition, most especially the largest opposition party in Uganda, FDC, has proven unable to perform this task and I want to argue that at the core of this problem is Kizza Besigye and the radical faction of the party that has taken over the FDC.

This faction has stifled all debate in the party about alternative approaches to the struggle for change or reform in Uganda because to argue against Besigye is to attract the most ferocious and vile attacks on oneself.

As the radicals have taken control of the party, Besigye has increasingly become hostage to them. His continued support from them is based on his militancy and belligerence, a factor that leads him to use language and take actions that undermine any potential for engagement with govt to promote reform.

Besigye is afraid that if he shows any form of accommodation with M7, it will be seen by his radicals as capitulation. Thus Besigye is not against accommodation out of principle but out of convenience.

Ugandans must ask themselves the hard question: how can a party so radicalized as to be ferociously hostile to any form of criticism be a vehicle for democratic reform in our country?

Even moderate leaders of FDC need to ask themselves the question: is it necessary to continue in a party controlled by extremists ready to use anything to tear down criticism? Isn’t it time to quit and form a third force or even rejoin NRM?

The other day Abdul Katuntu criticized the defiance campaign only to become a victim of savage attack. Why is Amanya Mushega silent? Where is Augustine Ruzindana, Morris Ogenga Latigo, Ronald Reagan Okumu etc?

Seeing what has been happening to me over the last one week, everyone in FDC who harbored any desire to criticize the party’s radicals will think twice before daring. And I don’t think anyone can now dare. Only a miracle can save FDC from extremism.

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