With the ruling National Resistance Movement trapped in chaos, two leading opposition parties at least by composition in parliament are locked in a row over the East African legislative Assembly.
The matter between Forum for Democratic Change and the Democratic Party follows a later written by the FDC Secretary General Nathan Nandala Mafabi to the speaker in which he describes FDC as the official opposition.
“The Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) is the official opposition in Parliament according to the Constitution of Uganda …” the letter reads in part.
The letter was introducing two candidates Florence Ibi Ekwau and Ingrid Turinawe as the nominated choices for EALA.
However, Norbert Mao, the DP President reacted with a bitter attack on the FDC as a party occupied by selfish individuals.
“…with their self-conceited letter, they egoistically present themselves as “the opposition” in parliament…true they are the official opposition but the highest number of non-NRM members in parliament are independents…,” Mao indicated in a re-battle Statement.
Mao also said that the motive of FDC was aimed at rapturing the independence party but would not succeed since the Democratic Party had learnt how to boldly negotiate for its interests.
“This should explain the desperate tone of Nandala Mafabi’s letter on the EALA elections…FDC will now have to learn Kennedy’s lesson that “we must not fear to negotiate and not negotiate out of fear,” State Mao.
In a separate engagement with Parliament Watch, Joseph Sewungu (Kalungu west) who doubles as the Democratic Whip in Parliament said that his party would not be dragged into unclear fights for EALA positions since his candidate, Fred Mukasa Mbidde was already nominated.
On Wednesday Mbidde returned his nomination forms to the office of the Clerk to Parliament and awaits nomination at the floor of parliament on voting day, which is yet to be fixed.
Meanwhile, the FDC Party President Maj Gen (rtd) Mugisha Muntu said the decision to front two candidates for the EALA seat was informed by the absence of guidelines.
“Since nominations end tomorrow [Thursday] we chose to send two candidates such that in the event we have an opportunity of a second slot, we are ready, it is about preparation…” he said.
He added that this was strategically done just in case the party can be given room for another slot.
According to Article 50 of the Treaty for the establishment of the East African Community, representation in EALA must take into account the various political parties represented in the House, shades of opinion, gender and other special interest groups as represented in parliaments of partner States.
The 10th Parliament is composed of 431 legislators where NRM leads with 298 members followed by Independents (66), FDC-36, DP 15, 10-UPDF and UPC-6.
To date, parliament has not come out to streamline whether the ruling majority will retain their 6 out of the 9 slots.