The continued delay by The Democratic Alliance (TDA) aspirants to agree on a joint opposition flag bearer for the 2016 general elections has sharply divided members of parliament from the opposition.
This follows the failure by the alliance's Summit to announce a candidate, first on Friday last week and on Monday this week after the aspirants failed to reach a consensus.
Of the four aspirants, Gilbert Bukenya (Pressure for National Unity), Nobert Mao (Democratic Party) and Amama Mbabazi (Go Forward) himself have reportedly agreed to have Mbabazi as the TDA flag bearer but Kizza Besigye (Forum for Democratic Alliance) has refused to accept to support the former Prime Minister.
Besigye reportedly insists that Mbabazi has no party structures and is not accountable to any political organization. This has rubbed Kitgum Woman MP, Beatrice Anywar the wrong way. She accuses Besigye of double standards and selfishness.
"What is wrong with welcoming Amama Mbabazi? I even foresee beyond that. If we came into government, Museveni [safety] should be secured. The NRMs who have done bad things in this country - there should be a reconciliation [ for them], they should be forgiveness, otherwise we are going to continue being in war. That is why am giving a challenge and a burden of challenge to Dr Besigye as a founding member of this party [FDC]. If TDA has decided on another [candidate], don’t bring other issues that ‘he was in government, he did this and that’
We welcomed him, didn't we know?! That is double double standards and that is what I don’t want and I don’t want to be a party [to]. Is this how this country has to move? Me Beatrice Anywar NO!”
However, Roland Mugume, Rukungiri Municipality MP says Besigye's candidature should be considered by the TDA Summit, given that the FDC already has more political clout and grassroots structures and Mbabazi runs as an independent candidate.
The FDC legislator says they will move alone if by Wednesday the TDA Summit has not declared a joint candidate.
"There is no harm for him to contest for 2016-2021 under FDC but within TDA. What is wrong with that?! And for us we have requested our members in the TDA to front that position and that is what we expect. Others are just wasting our time. We shall not accept it if they come with other versions. If Wednesday passes and they have not selected a candidate, for us we shall act as politicians, we are not religious leaders. We are politicians because we can’t waste time", he warned.
Rubaga South MP and Conservative Party president, Ken Lukyamuzi supports Mugume. He says unless Mbabazi openly disowns the ruling party NRM to which he claims he still belongs to, the confusion surrounding his bid in TDA will remain.
But the Bushenyi-Ishaka Municipality MP, Odo Tayebwa suggests that the Summit endorses Mbabazi and Besigye to stand in their individual capacities in order to push for a run-off in the election.
“We shall have a win-win situation by having two candidates going in the field, confronting the ruling government and then making sure that 51% is not met by the current government. And there for us we shall have scored because that is the major important issue of being in government so that we can win these elections and even continue with our electoral reforms which the current government has failed to tackle", Tayebwa says.
Wafula Oguttu, the alliance spokesperson, told the press on Tuesday morning that the joint presidential candidate would be announced on Wednesday.