After making numerous futile attempts to unite the opposition, the Democratic Party (DP) has today resolved to front their President, Norbert Mao, in the forthcoming 2021 presidential elections.
Since the 2011 polls, the party, which was once a political powerhouse, has not fielded a Presidential candidate, something which analysts have consistently warned could make them insignificant.
However, addressing the Press on Tuesday October 13, 2020, DP spokesperson Enoch Okaler Opio Lo Amanu disclosed that the formation has decided to aim a shot at Uganda’s top most office after a fleeting ‘siesta’.
During the 2016 general elections, the party threw their weight behind former Premier Amama Mbabazi’s loose coalition dubbed ‘Go Forward’ but disappointingly polled only 136,519 votes at (1.39%).
“We have picked the forms for those that seek to support the candidature of our Presidential flag bearer in the forthcoming elections. As you are aware by virtue of our constitution, the Democratic Party President General automatically becomes our flag bearer,” Okaler intimated.
“We therefore call upon Ugandans that do desire to support the candidature of the Presidential candidate of the Democratic Party to approach the Democratic Party Chairpersons countrywide and also the constituency chairpersons,” he stated further.
Okaler retorted that ‘at least 2 million signatures’ have so far been collected and expressed hope that by the close of this week they will have hit the 3 million mark.
That said, he arraigned the Electoral Commission (EC) for taking established parties through this process which “appears like a vote of no confidence of sorts.”
“We do strongly believe that this should only be done to independents but for members that are coming from political institutions, we think it is not necessary. It is counterproductive,” Okaler vented.
It should be noted that earlier this month, the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) presented over 5 million signatures to support President Yoweri Museveni’s 2021 Presidential bid.
However, pondering on the same issue yesterday, Ibrahim Semujju Nganda, the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) Spokesperson explicitly categorized this as ‘drama’ if not ‘propaganda’.
“First of all, the Electoral Commission will never verify them. The law says that you need two thirds. Today the total districts in Uganda are 143 and you think the Electoral Commission has all that time of entering all these names in the computer? What makes you take 5 million signatures?” Semujju argued on Radio Simba.
Away from that, Okaler revealed that they had secured necessary funds to support various aspirants for Parliamentary positions on the DP Ticket but declined to reveal the exact amount.
“We have the capacity to sponsor all the candidates in the 500 plus constituencies we have in Uganda. So the exact amount, I beg not to disclose it for strategic purposes. Our candidates are going to be sponsored in terms of nomination fees and posters,” Okaler hinted.
So far, Okaler said, DP has confirmed 290 flag bearers out of the 330 aspirants that have approached them.