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Why Uganda’s DP can only be saved by the Catholic Church – PART 6

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This is a long series of historical events. We have broken it down into 6 parts.

Why Uganda’s DP can only be saved by the Catholic Church – PART 1

Why Uganda’s DP can only be saved by the Catholic Church – PART 2

Why Uganda’s DP can only be saved by the Catholic Church – PART 3

Why Uganda’s DP can only be saved by the Catholic Church – PART 4

Why Uganda’s DP can only be saved by the Catholic Church – PART 5

Why Uganda’s DP can only be saved by the Catholic Church – PART 6

During the Amin rule (1971 – 1979) the DP and the Catholic church were not very active in anti-Amin campaigns.  In fact, Iddi Amin had released DP’s Ben Kiwanuka from detention and appointed him the Chief Justice. This had not gone well with the Protestant dominated struggle against the Iddi Amin regime and had a hand in his mysterious kidnap and disappearance.  They accused him of giving credence to the regime.  Instead the UPC supporters, the Church of Uganda (Anglican) and their Protestant allies had taken an active role in the Anti-Amin campaign and had to bear the brunt.

The likes of Arch-Bishop Luwum, Bishop Kivengere, and a couple of others had been actively involved in opposing the Iddi Amin regime.  During the 1979 Moshi Conference in Tanzania shortly before Amin was overthrown, out of the 83 delegates who represented the different anti-Amin groups, the DP was represented by only two, Paulo Ssemogerere and Anthony Ochaya. In the post Amin Legislature, the NCC, each group had only two seats thus DP could not match its arch rival UPC which had strategically split into smaller groups.  UPC also had the advantage of having a fighting group in the form of Kikosi Maluum (Task Force) which together with Museveni’s initially ‘brief case FRONASA’ ensured the balance of forces in favor of UPC.

In the absence of KY coupled by the events of the Buganda Crisis, during the 1980 elections DP dominated in Buganda.  It blocked former President Yusuf Lule from running on the DP presidency ticket.  Like had been the case with the Catholic John Kale in the UNC in the early 1950s, the Protestant Museveni for the second time opportunistically attempted to seek the leadership of the DP but was frustrated.  In a widely believed rigged elections, the UPC was declared the winner and DP under Paulo Ssemogerere took up the opposition in parliament. Andrew Kayiira and Museveni took to war with bases in Buganda.

The Baganda and Catholic church more especially in Buganda took an active role in supporting the war.  Cardinal Nsubuga played a key role in clandestinely supporting the war.  While the likes of Father Seguya took to active combat within the ranks of the NRA, the Protestant church played an inactive role. To the DP it looked as if the rebels were its armed wing fighting against the UPC’s UNLA forces. By comparison, among the Baganda the desire for DP to take power superseded the desire to restore the institution of the Kabaka.  Even in the western region where the NRA later sought sanctuary, local support was registered on the DP ticket.

In July 1985, the Catholic Bishop Magambo of Fort Portal diocese together with DP leaders there negotiated the defection of the UNLA’s 31st Battalion to join hands with the NRA based in the Rwenzori mountains.  A few days later, the DP top leadership and the Catholic Church connived with a top strong Catholic in the UNLA, Bazilio Okello to carry out a coup against Obote and his UPC using soldiers from the traditional Catholic stronghold of Acholi.  It is worthy noting that in 1984 a Catholic Acholi Zakary Olum had led a break away faction of DP, the National Liberal Party (NLP) in order to disassociate the Acholi Catholics from the Catholic/DP/Baganda backed rebellion in Buganda that was to a large extent against domination by northern Uganda. The DP dominated the Okello Junta government and the subsequent Nairobi Peace Talks with Museveni.

When the NRA took over in 1986, Museveni moved very first to tap into the countrywide support of the DP while at the same time neutralising its potential military base.  His administration was dominated by DP national and local leaders.  Mindful of DPs overwhelming countrywide support, he tactfully banned political party activities.  He moved against DP Baganda politicians and their allied men in uniform under UFM/A and FEDEMO/A by accusing them of treason in 1986 and the subsequent murder of Andrew Kayiira.

He purged Catholic Army Officers like Brigadier Tadeo Kanyankole was falsely accused of working for DP by allegedly recruiting Catholics and Bairu against Protestants and Bahima.  Brig. Julius Chihandae and others were purged.  DP’s Secretary General, Anthony Sekweyama the Editor in Chief of its mouth piece, The Citizen, Michael Kagwa of the Moblisers Group and others kept the party breathing though on chains.  During the Bush War, the DP had successfully run a newsletter, Munansi which proved a vital tool in mobilising support and checking on the excesses of government troops.

DP President General resigned from Museveni’s government and successfully challenged Museveni’s Movement system of government in court which ruled that the Movement was a political party.  This landmark constitution ruling gave rise to the lifting of the ban on political party activities.  Well organised Pro-DP Buganda youth groups like Baganda Nkoba Za Mbogo and Bazukulu Ba Kintu had kept DP and Buganda’s aspirations alive.  Over the years, Museveni has fished most of these youth leaders to his regime who include the present Buganda Katikiro, Mayiga.  Out of greed and selfish interests, many DP members countrywide converted to the Museveni regime and have continued to do so thus sustaining it. However there still is the Uganda Young Democrats (UYD).

In 1996, the DP allied with the UPC faction of Cecilia Ogwal to form IPFC which contested and lost against Museveni.  In 2000 just like Nobert Mao is doing, Zakary Olum led a faction of DP to suspend Semogerere and other Baganda leaders replacing them with the likes of Francis Bwengye, Waswa Lule and Nyanzi.  In 2001 general elections, the DP supported Kiiza Besigye. In 2005, the FDC was founded and it also sourced members from the DP.  During the 2011 elections, DP performed very badly such that it did not field a candidate during the 2016 elections but the Mao faction rallied behind Amama Mbabazi while the Lukwago led faction rallied behind the FDC candidate.

Museveni’s machinations out of the fear for the powerful influence of the Catholic church and its historical link to DP coupled has over the years culminated into the destruction of the DP to near extinction. Both DP and UPC support is confined to only Buganda, Lango and Acholi sub-regions thus their leadership rotating around the likes of Mao, Lukwago, Otunnu, Akena.  From the foregoing, it can be authoritatively argued that if the Catholic Church chose to save DP, the party can still rise and shine as the biggest and strongest political party in Uganda.

Moreover, since time immemorial, Catholic-allied international donors have sustained it and continue to do so.  Museveni is aware of DP’s rich history, capacity to survive the tides and the potential to vibrantly re-immerge as a strong force. After realising that the Northerners and Baganda had discovered Museveni’s divisive ways and were on the verge of burrying their hatchets and forging a structure together, he is once again looking for ways of keeping them apart by fomenting what Norbert Mao is portraying as a tribal (Acholi/Baganda) based disagreement within DP.

That is why he is instigating divisions that dissuade any political entity from allying with DP.  He has secretly been fomenting divisions aimed at weakening the Catholic church like in the case of the Bukalango break away church. He accused his former Vice President Bukenya of secretly meeting his army officers and taking them to meet the Cardinal.  The victim. Col. Sula Semakula died shortly after. This is before Bukenya’s son who had joined the army died in a mysterious car accident before completing his course.  Before Gen Kalekyezi came to the scene with his grievances with the Catholic Church for having excommunicated his father, one of the strong consideration by Museveni in assigning security officers was and still is religious affiliation.

Even the LRA insurgency in northern Uganda had a religious connotation.  It was by design that it adopted the name Lords Resistance Army.  Defectors and prisoners of war give accounts of serious praying and fasting by the fighters.  According to intelligence availed to Museveni the Catholic Bishop of Gulu, Odama was an LRA collaborator.  Also, that the rebellion had links to Italy owing to loss of concessions for oil excavations in the Albertine region.  It is for this reason that a reasonable person cannot rush to conclude that the LRA is finished”

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