During a recent radio talk show discussing multi/party politics, a discussant, Dr Golooba made a rather startling comment on FDC. “……The only people who practised some kind of multi party politics were Miria and Sebaana. I dont even know what FDC represents.” The implication here is that FDC may not be having anything to articulate or represent and may therefore not even be a political party.
Before this remark, Bidandi Ssali had been quoted in The Daily Monitor of January 21 2006 as saying: “I don’t see a future for FDC after Museveni is out of the way, either through resignation or defeat. Most of the FDC leaders are in there for various motives.” In other words, apart from resistence to Museveni, there is no single thread which binds them. It is therefore not a political party in the true sense of the words.
What then is FDC?
Condintions that give rise to social and political struggles basically fall into two categories. First, is the search for economic advancement. One cannot postulate that FDCs share a common economic fate, and that it is that which binds them. Or that as a group they are seeking to improve their economic situation.
Secondly, there are those struggles which arise out of issues concerning identity.We all belong to various identities. They may be religions, schools, professions, etc. We are proud of these identities, and invest a lot of emotional resources to their well being. We also work hard to improve their status vis a vis other identities.
This is what UPC and DP for instance are about. DP seeks to improve the status of status of the identity of catholics, and UPC that of certain
nationalities or tribes.
FDC does not fall into any of these categories.Prior to the formation of FDC, Dr Besigye was a senior member of the NRM. To put forward this arguement is not to negate the possiblity of one belonging to a political party or organisation, and being able to transcend the limits of that organisation, and then move on to higher plane.
Rather it is to argue that Dr Besigye is ideologically not different from that of Museveni. He has not shown anywhere that he has transcended the ideological position of the NRM. This arguement is reinforced by Dr Besigyes own ealier arguement that Museveni had renaged from the original positions of the NRM. In other words all Dr Besigye needs is to bring us back to the the origial NRM. Initially he also sought to reform the NRM. It will be recalled that it is this urge to reform the NRM which initially led him to form and lead an organisation called Reform Agenda.
However, despite its limited scope and purpose, FDC seems to have garnered a lot of support. How do we characterise and expliain this
I would like to submit that the apparent support for FDC is a bubble. That is to say it is based on totally unrealistic expectations, and when reality reveals itself, the bubble will burst. Another way of characterisng FDC is to view it as a balloon. A fully blown balloon will look big. however, if you pinch it with a sharp pin, it bursts and shrivels into almost nothing.
In the financial world, the bubble means those stocks which come up and are highly rated well beyond their true value. With that kind of rating stock buyers rush to buy such stocks thinking they are making a good buy. However when the stocks assume their true value, the exagurated value collapses and the stocks assume their true market value which should be much lower than what most buyers would have spent. This is what in stock markets are called the busting of the bubble.
What do I mean?
A sizeable portion of the the population are opposed to Museveni. In their quest to rid themselves of Museveni, they thought FDC and, in particular its leader, Dr Besigye could do the job.
They viewed Dr Besigye as a very courageous man who could take up Museveni. They also saw him as a miltary man who should have the miltary support with which to checkmate Museveni’s miltary support.
Further Museveni himself gave Dr Besigye a tremendous boost by appearing to be terribly scared of him. Dr Besigye was not only locked up but several charges were brought against him.
Now that Besigye has “lost” the elections, those from other parties who supported him will take a review. It is during that review that the bubble will begin to burst.
Dr Besigye has also gone to court to protest election irregularities. There is a real posiblity that the Court could agree with his petition.
If the Court upheld the petition, and nullified the recent elections, that is to say knocked out Museveni, the problem of Museveni would have been solved.
In such a sitution, just as Bidandi Ssali had earlier said, FDC would have no objective necessity to continue existing. FDC would splinter, and those who had supported Dr Besigye in the belief that he is the only one who has the wherewithall to combat Museveni would review their position in the light of a sitution of Museveni out of the fight.
On the other hand, there is the cynical view is that the Courts cannot pass any judgement against Museveni. Should that be the scenario, then Besigye’s failure in court would further accelerate the bursting of the bubble. Many of his erstwhile supporters do expect him to carry the day in court. They feel they were cheated at the polls. A failure at the Courts would totally dash the residual hope and send them reviewing their political affiliation to FDC.
In the long run too, the FDC has no future as Bidandi Ssali says. It is no inkling as to the tasks which have come to the fore at the present phase of our history. It is just reacting to events, and particulalrly the person of President Museveni.