The Democratic Party president Norbert Mao has said that opposition parties must move away from writing petitions to President Museveni calling for his retirement.
Mao says, opposition parties, should instead devise other strategies which will make Museveni realize that his continued stay in power is too dangerous for himself and the country.
Speaking at a public dialogue on electoral reforms organized by Citizens Coalition for Electoral Democracy in Uganda (CCEDU) on Thursday at KCCA City Hall, Mao cited an example of Algerians who rejected their ailing President Abdelaziz Bouteflika not to contest for the 5th term.
Mao was reacting to several letters that CCEDU has written to Museveni reminding him to embrace and adopt electoral reforms that will promote free and fair elections.
"The time of petitioning is over, we need to move away from petitioning. If a struggle is to be revolutionary and yield results, the person who must change - in this case President Yoweri Museveni and his government, they must not only be convinced that what they are doing is morally wrong, but they must also get noticed that it is dangerous for them. Why has Bouteflika agreed not to contest for a fifth term? It has come to him that it is now dangerous. Until President Museveni is put on notice that this thing he’s doing is dangerous, he’s not going to change." said Mao.
In January, CCEDU wrote to Museveni reminding him that electoral reforms should be the government’s priority this year. But they have not received a response from the President.
“Your Excellency, 2019 is an important year in the context of preparing for the next general election according to the Electoral Commission's strategic plan,” CCEDU appealed to Museveni.
“It is, therefore, our desire and that of many Ugandans that you, as the Fountain of Honour, champion laws and practices that guarantee a level playing field for electoral contestations in Uganda support the establishment of a binding code of conduct for political parties with sanctions; a defined framework for the integration of relevant technology in elections; continuous civic education for all citizens to understand their rights and responsibilities; as well as the rebuilding of public confidence in institutions that are charged with dispensing democracy and good governance.”
Mao further said that the opposition parties must start campaigning for issues affecting the electorate rather than offices or positions.
He said that opposition leaders tend to focus on who should be presidential candidate, leader of opposition and other offices given to them by government in parliament.
"I will never criticize those who write these kinds of letters, but we also need another activity, we’ll develop a new strategy.... Why are we not effective, we’re not effective because we’re not campaigning for issues, we’re campaigning for offices. When you find opposition leaders quarreling, they are not quarreling about issues, they are quarreling about who is going to be a presidential candidate, who is going to be MP, who is the leader of opposition or who is the katikkiro in Luzira prison." Mao added.
Kampala Lord Mayor, Erias Lukwago warned opposition groups to focus on practical solutions rather than mere conferences. For instance, he said that as NRM MPs meet in Kyankwazi, opposition parties should be proposing solutions.