The opposition is upbeat about its chances of defeating President Museveni at the next elections, following the signing of an alliance deal last month.

But one old man who has been in the opposition for a long time, and was in prison for five years for allegedly attempting to overthrow Museveni’s government, does not believe that the alliance can pull it off.

Evaristo Nyanzi, a former minister of Commerce in Museveni’s first government, supports his political party, DP’s refusal to be part of the alliance that brings together FDC, UPC, JEEMA and CP.

Nyanzi spoke to us in an exclusive interview, the first in more than 10 years, several weeks before the alliance was signed, but his views will not have been changed by last month’s events.

Last month, opposition parties of the Inter-Party Co-operation (IPC) signed a protocol that makes it possible for them to field single joint candidates for all positions, including the presidency, for the 2011 general elections, which are almost a year away. Opposition parties have always argued that fielding different candidates has cost them major electoral positions as votes are split, leaving the ruling party to win.

However, the Democratic Party has refused to be part of this endeavour, arguing officially that it needs time to strengthen itself first before joining a coalition. Unofficially, however, DP leaders are wary that participation might lead to the party losing its supporters to the FDC, currently Uganda’s biggest opposition party, which is championing the alliance.

Evaristo Nyanzi, a lifelong DP member, told The Observer that he supports his party’s position all the way.
“I think DP is right. They must strengthen the party first,” he said. “I would rather have a strong party than a strong union of parties.”

Asked whether a coalition isn’t the best strategy to defeat Museveni, as its promoters argue, Nyanzi said:
“But they can’t do it even with a coalition. I don’t think they can remove him.”

He added: “You would rather go out as a party and appeal to the people as such and win. Then some people can join you if you are the strong party. Personally I am sceptical about these things of a coalition.”


Nyanzi who has led a quiet life since leaving prison for the second time in 2001, says he has never left DP, “at least not officially”, but he is only quiet partly because of old age.

“I have been active in politics for a very long time and I have gone through these difficulties I have enumerated,” he said. “I found that it is high time for me, particularly in my last years in this life, to enjoy life, be quiet and happy. I don’t want to be disturbed again. So I just want to be quiet with my people but I wish everybody success in whatever they do.”

Commenting on the squabbles and infighting in DP, Nyanzi said the party has a “very big problem, which they must identify and find a solution for.”
He, however, disagreed with those who dismiss it as the “Dead Party”, preferring to call it “a party with problems.”

“Because you see, its record is clean,” Nyanzi argued. “It is not like UPC, but the problem is that you must make sure you run the party nationally.”
Asked to assess the chances of Norbert Mao, Sam Lubega and Nasser Ntege Sebaggala, who have expressed interest in the DP leadership, Nyanzi was non-committal.

“I haven’t interacted with them. You see I am a bit dormant, so I don’t want to assess somebody I have not studied. It is difficult for me to tell you who should be the next party president.”

He however admitted that the future of the party depends on its leadership.
“If they have a good leadership, they have a future, if they have a bad leadership, then that is the end of the party.”  Asked about Uganda’s prospects, Nyanzi was positive.

“If we work for posterity, then Uganda will prosper, but if you institute policies and programmes to serve interests of individuals, then you are sowing bad seeds for the future.”

He was surprisingly magnanimous in his assessment of President Museveni, the man who appointed him minister in February 1986 and then ordered his arrest in October the same year.

“He has tried his best,” Nyanzi said of the President. “Of course he is a human being; he has his weaknesses, but he has his strong points also. I think he should listen to good advice.”



0 #1 Mukalazi 2010-01-03 20:20
With all these blunders Museveni is doing he only reminds me of Alex Mukulu's play, the "30 years of Bananas". Museveni had a chance to prove himself as a good leader by listening to the people but it seems he has failed the test completely.

Mzee Evarasto Nyanzi's wish, that Museveni should listen to good cannot ever come true because "Museveni has no ears"!!! How can a man with no ears hear? He will just go in the same way his predesessors have gone. Too bad!!
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0 #2 Kalooli muzukulu wa Nkali 2010-01-03 21:37
This trial reminds the NRM leadership mastery of silincing the promising at the same time promoting the sycomphant.

Nnyanzi the defendat and the chief prosecuting wittiness are from a related syphere of influance. The case was dismissed like Kizza Besigye's rape case. Those who bore false wittiness were exalted and are now the so called presidential adviser.
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0 #3 Stephen Kakooza 2010-01-04 06:46
I listen to Nyanzi's is critic on Mengo and simply laugh as those he thinks have better ideas than Mengo have failed to lead DP to victory for 47 years.

It has now been reduced to a party of only 8 members of Parliment when KY had at least 24 MPs, but still blames MENGO's alliance with UPC in 1962. The problem is that people dont accept their mistakes and they always blame it on others.

How do you start fearing FDC and fail to resolve your own house hoping that time is on your side?. Where we failed we should give others a chance. The combined forces worn Idi Amin and OBOTE II,why not now?.

NNM has ruled for this long for partly understanding Mengo's demands and its fight with Mengo will bring it down with all its guns like "Golious".

UFM's Kayiira & Nyanzi and FEDEMO's Nkwanga were defeated by NRA because they failed to join and form a formidable force under Paulo Muwanga who had offered to unit them after seeing that Obote was no more and being sidelined by the Okellos.

The DP's still feared Muwanga as an individual making them fail to look ahead and instead sided with Okellos who were a spent force simply becuase they were CATHOLICS.

In politics there is no common enemy the Tamale's and Otaffire's of today will be the freedom fighters of tommorrow and you should be able to accomodate them if they see light and change.

A combined opposition worn the elections in 2001 according to the presidential percentage of 51% including 1.4 million ghost voters and 5,000 ghost polling stations. It is only non patriotic people who want only to see DP in power that can't see this.

The fact is that like people political parties and football clubs die and new ones come up, you can decide to remain in limbo with UPC and DP but remember that their is life in new parties of NRM,FDC,FDP,PPU ,Federal Alliance and JEMA.

A unite opposition beat MOi and will beat MUSEVENI there is no dought about it. The problem only lies in the people with selfish interest within the coalition which we can work on.
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0 #4 MABO 2010-01-04 08:07
Reading the opinions of Hon Nyanzi,its encouraging enough to hear tht he is progressively retiring from active politics & enjoy his life.

As our senior politicians esp those from 1960 & early 1970s plan to retire lets encourage them. Then we should encourage the current young generation tht the time is ripe for them to take over the mantle.

The seniors can came in to advise & give some wisdom as to the way foward. I wish you well Hon Nyanzi esp your endevours against the rampant fraudelent evictions in mityana,your efforts saved many families,had mengo given you a helping hand rather than politicking & posturing you would have achieved alot. May God bless you. Alluta continua.
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0 #5 MABO 2010-01-04 12:30
The chances of IPC winning the 2011 elections is narrow,they may reduce the margin for NRM but can't defeat it. Lets be hypothetical guys,suppose IPC wins? Does the opposition believes they will lead well as they say now? The is after winning,most likely FDC will patronise other parties or purge those who will dissent. Any doubting Thomas should go to Hon Kamya for counselling! You expect the ego & posturing of Dr Besigye & Hon Salaam to scale down whn in power? So Dr Besigye as former political commissar of NRM has good skills to convice him but don't expect to ride on him or black mail him whn in power like it or not. If he has stood his ground against his mentor/boss don't expect to aprtonise him or bully him. Look at the idealolgy of each party(DP,FDC,UP C,JEEMA,PPP,PDP ,SDP etc) based on fantasy/euphori a one believes they will work togather? History will tell at least the KY-UPC scenario is till vivid to all so nobody shld regret your vote is your weapon now or never. For God & my country.
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0 #6 kizito 2010-01-04 13:57
Nobody can beat M7 when he is up to his old games of stealing elections.The man has stolen lives of Ugandans he is about to steal the air too!
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0 #7 Kamya 2010-01-04 14:18
no single party between now and the elections can be strengthen and perform better than the alliance

lets unite for the common good and go back to our individual parties afterwards

If all parties unite museven can be defeated. His popularity is at lowest ever and many people even within his party are fed up.
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0 #8 Gute Juko 2010-01-04 14:51
Of course Coalition with a good intention works,but let us hope this coalition main object is not only 2 overthrow NRM but 2 bring peace and understanding among all Ugandans and respecting the Constitution where by all former governments have failed 2 do so,To win it will be easy,coz the NRM government 23yrs they still sing the same tune: Revenue has gone up,Bonabagagawa le,free Education,but nothing they tell the population about Unemployment among the youth,and in big towns,in villages people are poor, poor 2 their bones,medical care,minimum wage,clean water,housing,s uch things should be brought up in their manifestor,
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0 #9 siva 2010-01-04 19:22
It is interesting to read opinions of the retired statesmen and women. There is alot of wisdom in their stories, but also calmness in their reasoning.
Mzee Nyanzi Bravo! By the way, you can do us one a fovour before you fully retire. Would you mind To Advise Mr. Mayanja Nkangi to follow that noble way. We are in a generation called "post Nkangi generation" With a lot of respect to his experience I wonder whether he can still add on something new. Let him pull out of the ring and leave the poeple of today to fix it or mes it up. Statesman Evalisto Nyanzi "Enjoy your retirement" !!!
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0 #10 Seezi Sewagaba 2010-01-05 07:05
The oppostion can definitely defeat Museveni if there is fair play.If the army is impartial,and Museveni does not use public resources to finance his campaigns,this can deny Museveni an advantage over his political opponents.But as long as the Electoral Commission if biased in Museveni's favour,then all talk of ousting Museveni is futile.As Joseph Stalin once said:"it is not the one who votes but the one who counts the votes that matters."If free and fair elections are held, Museveni is going to lose even in his tribal area of Ankole.As Obote ,he is going to perpetuate his regime in power by force and deception.
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