Democratic Party (DP) president, Norbert Mao, has warned regional party leaders against forming alliances with former members who defected to other parties.
At the beginning of this month, several DP members including 10 legislators, defected to the National Unity Platform (NUP) headed by Kyadondo East MP Robert Kyagulanyi.
However, in places like Mukono, Kira, and Masaka, among others, it was reported that some DP leaders were trying to shield their former colleagues from the competition by discouraging party members from contesting against them.
But Mao today said, that the free for all spirit in DP must end immediately. He said if local leaders feel that they need to enter an alliance with anyone, they are free to make a recommendation to the national leadership but not to make the decision themselves.
Speaking at the party headquarters at Balintuma Road in Mengo, where the party was meeting aspirants for different national positions, Mao said those who left the party must know that their choices have consequences.
He said this is the time for people to either be fully in DP or fully out of DP.
“There is no more room for being partly in DP and partly outside DP,” Mao said.
Mao said those members who left the party for NUP and don’t become its flag bearers in the general elections are free to return to DP but won’t be given priority to hold the party flag.
Mao said that priority will first be to members who have been loyal to the party and will only consider the returnees if nobody had earlier been nominated to hold the party flag.
Mao said that he takes no responsibility for the members who defected from the party. He castigated the media for what he called negatively covering him and DP, yet other parties like FDC have similar challenges of members defecting.
“Why is it that when it comes to Mao and DP the media is very negative? When it comes to others you say, the NRM environment is responsible but when it comes to DP you say Mao is responsible,” Mao said.
He added that even before he became party president, DP had members who kept on switching parties.
“I want to be judged the way other presidents of the party have been judged. It seems when it comes to Mao, the judgement is different. In 1964, would you say that Ben Kiwanuka was responsible for the defection of 20 out of 24 MPs DP had to UPC? If Ben Kiwanuka was around, would you ask him the same question that, “are you responsible for their defection?” If somebody is simply greedy, am I responsible for their greed? Mao wondered.
DP will hold its national delegates conference on September 12 at Sir Samuel Baker Secondary School in Gulu. The conference which will see the party getting new leaders will be attended by at least two-thirds of the 1500 delegates