Battle lines have been drawn between the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) and the main Opposition Forum for Development Change (FDC) over the forthcoming local council elections with leaders from either camp urging members for vigilance, as a way to gain the foothold in the villages across the country.
NRM chairman President Yoweri Museveni drew the first line last Sunday during his ongoing talk show on Buddu FM which was also telecast cast live on Bukedde Television.
He told NRM members to take participation in the elections seriously with the intention of leaving no room for members of the opposition to win any LC positions which he fears will complicate the ruling party’s efforts to pass the land amendment bill into law.
“For this reason I call upon NRM members to be more vigorous and mobilize capable candidates to stand so that we win all the local council elections. If we don’t do that these liars “referring to the opposition” will win those elections and they are going to continue spreading those lies about the land bill,” Museveni said
Hardly 24 hours later, had FDC’s acting president Alice Alaso quickly followed suit with a similar message to their supporters.
Alaso said during the party’s press conference at the party’s Najjanankumbi office on Monday this week that L C 1 elections are critical since they hope to use local councils to protect People’s land.
“We have therefore instructed members in our structures to ensure that our supporters are mobilized to participate by vying for positions,” Alaso said.
According the Electoral Commission which has already released the roadmap to the elections, Ugandans will on November 21, choose their chairpersons, followed by voting for LC 2 elections on December 7 2017.
Undoubtedly, Alaso’s call is a U-turn from FDC’s earlier position on account of which the party had earlier on decided to boycott the elections on grounds that an NRM dominated parliament had through its numerical supremacy endorsed lining up behind candidates as a method to be used.
FDC had said this was likely to favour the ruling party which is currently enjoying a majority share of the local council chairpersons and members country wide.
“We tried in vain to fight the idea of lining up behind candidates in the last parliament but NRM defeated us using their numerical strength and as it is we remain with no option but to go for the exercise since it is, after all lawful,” Alaso explained.
Notably, the invigorated race for LCs by both NRM and the opposition recently gained prominence soon after the introduction of the land amendment bill indicating the level of desperation prevailing in both camps to out do each other by the time of voting on the bill.
The controversial bill, seeks to amend Article 26 of the Constitution to provide for compulsory acquisition of land for government projects, pending negotiations on compensation with the affected persons.