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Day February 1, 2010

Current saga in DP is following history


KAKONGE AND IBINGIRA

First of all I think you have failed to do justice to the role played by Grace Ibingira and John Kakonge in the founding, consolidation and success of UPC party in its early days and during the run up to Independence in 1962.
Ibingira and Kakonge  were very instrumental in the formation of the the UPC in 1959, following a split between the Musazi/Jolly Joe Kiwanuka UNC group and the Obote/Abu Mayanza group. Grace Ibingira, a layer by profession was very loyal to Obote and was the main brain behind the legal affairs of UPC including the Uganda Constitutional Conference and later the UPC/KY alliance. The first differences between Obote and Ibingira came earlier on in March 1962. This happened when Lawrence Sebalu, a DP member and Minister of Finance in Ben Kiwanuka’s government made an allegation to the press that “there was a plan by UPC to stage a military coup so as to get rid of the Buganda Monarchy”, that this would take place “three years after independence or even after one year”. A few days later an angry Obote in an apparent response to Sebalu’s allegations told a UPC gathering in Kampala that he would consider banning the Opposition, whereupon, Ibingira interjected immediately saying that, “There is no question of outlawing the Opposition by legislation”. After Independence Ibingira became Minister for Justice in Obote’s cabinet. Following the events of 1966 and the subsequent abrogation of the constitution by Obote, the latter threw Ibingira in detention without trial.
John Kakonge, the first UPC Secretary General was equally very instrumental in consolidating the UPC in its early days and was loyal to Obote. In 1962 after failing to win in his parliamentary constituency,  Dr. Obote left him out of his cabinet.  Kakonge then fled to Tanzania claiming “political persecution”, much to Obote’s embarrassment. He later returned and Obote made him cabinet minister in charge of Cooperatives. He too disagreed with Dr. Obote following the 1966 crises and subsequent events, and was equally thrown into detention by Obote.

DP FACTIONS A ‘REPLAY’ OF UNC FACTION SPLIT
The apparent crisis now splitting the DP into factions is similar to what happened in the UNC in 1958-59. Then, the UNC leader; Ignatius Musazi and Jolly Joe Kiwanuka who were elected to the party office at its inception on 2 March 1952, were accused by the progressive body of the party led by Abu Mayanja of letting the party go to decline and ineffectiveness. This led to Abu Mayanja group of the UNC on holding a meeting on the 12 August 1959 which suspended both Musazi and Kiwanuka from the UNC. In turn, the Musazi/ Kiwanuka group met on 21 August 1959 and expelled Abu Mayanja and Milton Obote from the UNC. The Obote/Mayanza faction of the UNC later transformed itself into the Uganda Peoples’ Congress (UPC) on 10 March 1960 when the UPC was formed. The rest is history, including what became of Musazi/Kiwanuka faction of the UNC.

DP CONSERVATIVE FACTION IS SWIMMING AGAINST THE TIDE OF HISTORY

Let no one begin to claim that the current split in the DP is over ideology or principle, because it is not. Rather, it is about strategy. The factions split in the DP, like those of the UNC in the 50s/60s is happening because the conservative faction which sees the holding of party office as an end in itself, is opposed to progress and those who want more out of the party. There is a faction of the DP which is trying to swim against the tide of history. This is the conservative group of DP faction which is opposed to Sebana Kizito’s delegates conference. The fact that the anti Sebana Kizito faction, the conservative group, which has held influence and sway in the party for over 50 years is now engaged in a struggle for the party’s reigns of office in the present fashion is a measure not of their strength but of their weakness. For, it should never have come to this in the first place, if the conservative anti Sebana Kizito faction truly had both the initiative and effectiveness. The truth is, like the Musazi/Kiwanuka faction of the UNC of the 50s/60s the conservative faction of the DP which is opposed to progress have two clear choices to make. Either, they come to heal, turn corner and swim with the tide of history or just like the Musazi/Kiwanuka faction of the UNC, they may continue swimming against the tide of progress and be swept to the political scrap heap of history.

Pilipo Oruni

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