Lately, the Democratic Party (DP) has become a rich poaching ground for the ruling NRM party, forcing the highest decision making organ of the country’s oldest political party to call a crisis meeting.
The latest kingpin to surrender DP’s leadership position in favour of working with the ruling NRM government is Mr Mohammad Baswari Kezaala, who has been the opposition party’s national chairperson.
In a reshuffle of Uganda’s diplomats announced last week, President Museveni named Mr Kezaala one of the deputy ambassadors, although the statement on the appointment did not specify his duty station in his new role.
Until his appointment, Mr Kezaala was DP national chairperson, and had also served as mayor of Jinja for 10 years, riding on the DP ticket that catapulted him into that position.
Speaking at a news conference on Monday evening, Mr Kezaala explained his resignation from the party on grounds that he’s taking up a diplomatic service job offered to him by President Museveni.
He said the nature of the job is apolitical and he will gladly take it up, but quickly added that irrespective of the appointment, he remains a staunch DP party supporter.
Why he ditched DP leadership
A section of DP members in Busoga sub-region are now worried their members, especially those in senior leadership positions, cannot wait to either join or work with the ruling NRM party. They say sweeteners such as appointments in government and ruling party structures as well as money are being used to lure their leaders into joining NRM.
Speaking to Daily Monitor early this week, the Walukuba-Masese Division councillor for DP, Mr Julius Kayiira, said the biting poverty among opposition leaders makes them gullible to inducements thrown at them by the NRM government.
He said: “More opposition leaders will cross to NRM for survival.”
He continued: “Mr Kezaala as far as I know is a staunch DP but he has to survive.”
According to the DP chairperson in Jinja District, Mr Ramathan Bazanya, it all comes down pressures that come with survival demands.
“Mr Kezaala is unarguably one of our most resourceful leaders but we cannot decide his destiny for him. He has his own problems that he has to deal with. That does not mean he is no longer a member of the party as we still do need him,” Mr Bazanya said.
But the former deputy Mayor of Jinja, Mr Adnan Kawooya, said the fact that his last attempt for the mayoral job ended in defeat should not have compelled him to turn his back to his party and the people who supported him.
He said: “Being disappointed after the defeat shouldn’t mean crossing to NRM. That will be perceived as being weak-hearted.”
He continued: “My experience tells me he will be used and dumped and that will be a blow to Busoga and the entire region,’’ Mr Kawooya said.
Earlier in the week (On Monday), the party national chairman, Mr Kezaala, resigned following his ambassadorial appointment.
The NRM party secretary general, Jinja District, Mr William Kato Kaziba, said they are happy with the appointment because it will allow NRM to extend its grip on power.