By Eric Kashambuzi
Recent cautious and diplomatic statements by Dr. Kizza Besigye Uganda’s presumptive president-elect about the date for the announcement of a cabinet have raised concerns about the possibility of secret negotiations to form a coalition government with National Resistance Movement (NRM) in which Besigye serves as a junior partner to Gen. Yoweri Museveni.
If this is true, it is a bad idea that should be dropped immediately. It will give Gen. Museveni the golden opportunity to destroy the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) which is more popular than NRM and undermine Dr. Besigye’s popular mandate.
Gen. Museveni will use the coalition to destroy the FDC. The record and lessons from history confirms this:
Museveni used the Nairobi Peace Accord with General Tito Okello Lutwa to consolidate NRA and eventually seized power from Okello and discarded him.
Museveni formed a broad-based government upon becoming president in 1986 to consolidate NRM and in the process destroyed the Uganda People’s Congress UPC and DP and discarded Paul Ssemogerere whom he used to destroy UPC first.
There are credible stories that The Democratic Alliance (TDA) was designed with the principal goal of destroying FDC had Amama Mbabazi become its president.
There are credible stories that Gen. Museveni has set his eyes on destroying FDC so that he finally re-launches his no-party political movement system which was dealt a devastating blow and rejected during the 2000 referendum.
In these circumstances FDC should weigh carefully the short term benefits of s few members becoming ministers in insignificant ministries and ambassadors in countries that are not strategically important to NRM against the medium-term benefits of replacing NRM as the ruling party and fulfilling the will of the voters.
The subsequent loss of Raila Odinga and Morgan Tsvangirai and their parties who formed coalitions as junior partners with Mwai Kibaki in Kenya and Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe, respectively, are too recent lessons to brushed aside.
Such an alliance, on Museveni’s terms would yield a similar fate to Dr. Besigye and the FDC without a shadow of doubt.
Just as Dr.Besigye and FDC wisely stayed away from TDA, equally Dr. Besigye and FDC should stay away from a coalition with NRM as junior partners particularly when FDC is believed to have won the presidential contest.
Why would the person with the popular mandate be junior partner?