DP Woes: Mao Sounds Conciliatory Tone as MPs Plot Departure
Sooner than later, the Democratic Party (DP) may be without the majority of its Members of Parliament (MPs) with the collapse of all hope for the legislators to mend fences with their party leaders.
The MPs have for some time been discussing their political future and are understood to have agreed to leave the party. According to sources, it is only the Bukomansimbi South MP, Deogratius Kiyingi and his Gulu Municipality counterpart Lyandro Komakech who could remain.
The third MP, Peter Okot from Toci County has also reportedly developed disagreements with President General, Norbert Mao.
The disagreements came to the fore early this year when a section of the MPs, joined by some members of the opposition party’s National Executive Committee (NEC) accused their party president of dictatorship and working for the interests of President Yoweri Museveni.
“Mao would be a good party president but his biggest undoing is in reducing himself to the control of [Fred Mukasa] Mbidde,” said DP parliamentary whip, Joseph Gonzaga Ssewungu.
Mbidde is the DP vice-president who some party members accuse of fronting the interests of the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) against those of their party.
In an interview on Thursday, Mao said that he had received briefs in addition to listening to audio recordings of the MPs plotting their departure.
“Being in a party is choice, but I feel that we should try to market the party and avoid conflicts,” Mao said.
“This is a symptom of failure on the part of the leadership to resolve conflict, but also a symptom of some people who feel that they have a veto over decisions made by party organs,” Mao said.
Mao said that besides the accusations of being a dictator, the MPs are also unhappy about his “alleged refusal” to back Kyadondo East MP, Robert Kyagulanyi’s presidential bid.
“I feel that the majority will seek the party ticket, we need them, but they also need the party. We shall continue to engage,” Mao said.
The MPs however seem determined to seek re-election as Independents because “the internal processes have already been messed up.”
“We have sat in several meetings with Mao and agreed on various issues but he seems to listen more to Museveni’s wishes communicated to him through Mbidde,” Ssewungu said.
In recent weeks, there had been attempts by the Inter-party organization for dialogue (IPOD) to reconcile the warring factions in DP but the talks, according to sources, never took off.
IPOD had fronted Prof. Fredrick Ssempebwa, retired Judges Kibuuka Musoke and James Ogola to reconcile the DP factions.
Before this, former DP president, Dr. Paul Kawanga Ssimogerere had offered to reconcile the warring factions but his efforts also collapsed.