Sorry guys, TDA is a good idea whose time has not yet come

For the first time, members or known supporters of the National Resistance Movement wittingly or unwittingly supported or sympathised with Dr Kizza Besigye.

Well, this was a response to unconfirmed reports that The Democratic Alliance (TDA) was likely to pick Amama Mbabazi as the joint Opposition candidate to challenge President Museveni in 2016.
But this story should be told with candour.

On June 10, Opposition political leaders and civil society launched TDA a special purpose national vehicle to challenge the re-election of President Museveni in the 2016 general election.

On the Saturday that followed, this column showered the TDA idea with flowers and opined that it could be the game changer in the 2016 elections.

We wrote: “This essay is an attempt to situate this ‘grand coalition’ in a scholarship narrative contextualised in the African leadership challenge the vortex of which has been the (peaceful) transfer of power from one leader to another.

And we believe that the idea of an alliance could be the game changer in the 2016 election”.

We made the case that the Opposition have only won elections under a rallying call or cause behind one group or platform or candidate. And we situated TDA in that context.

We even gave some examples where a united front of Opposition groups won elections: Zambia (October 1991) Congo Brazzaville (August 1992) Madagascar (February 1993) Central African Republic (September 1993) Malawi (May 1994) Kenya (December 2002) Guinea-Bissau (January 2000).

We also added that in some countries, the failure or refusal of Opposition forces to unite may have cost them victory elsewhere. Examples: Kenya (1992 and 1997) Gabon (August 30, 2009) and Zambia (2001).

But our grand coalition in the shape of TDA seems to have an NGO-ist attitude towards hardnosed political issues. Is TDA driven by the need to win an election or the need to influence elections?

Since there are opinion poll results floating around, the choice of a joint candidate should have been informed by such stats. Or TDA should have conducted its own opinion poll.

With such, TDA was left with Mbabazi’s Jinja and Mbale crowds to make a case for a two-horse race

And you may ask yourself: if TDA has expended such an amount of energy on the selection of a presidential candidate, how will it cope with the small matter of selecting joint candidates for Members of Parliament?

How about candidates for the leadership of Local Governments?
Dear reader, I predict that by the end of next year’s elections, some political parties will be the worse for it.

I can bet all my inheritance that FDC will not remain the same after the elections.

Either way TDA’s selection process goes, Gen Mugisha Muntu will be asked (pressured?) to give way after the elections.

There is already a fear that most of the MPs who supported Muntu for the FDC flag bearer contest may struggle to retain their parliamentary seats.

And need I say, there will be more going against FDC than any other party in TDA.

So guys, TDA is a good idea whose time has not come yet. It is my position that Ugandans don’t need a ‘coalition’, but a ‘co-option’. This co-option was done in the 1960s with most of the opposition MPs crossing to the ruling UPC.

In 1989, what President Museveni and his group called the expansion of the NRC was another manifest of political co-option.
What is co-option? A strong political group rallies the rest behind it for a common cause. That’s what happened in Kenya in 2002. FDC, don’t just wink it is your call…

Mr Bisiika is the executive editor of East Africa Flagpost.


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