With the recent tumultuous events witnessed in some of Uganda’s political parties, a heated debate has emerged concerning whether it’s time for these parties to revise their constitutions and curtail the extensive powers wielded by their presidents and secretary generals.
Experts in political and constitutional law hold divergent opinions on this matter, offering insights into the potential solutions to the ongoing party mayhem.
Constitutional lawyer Julius Galisonga advocates for a proactive approach, asserting that political parties should consider adopting periodic amendments that are capable of adapting to the dynamic circumstances of the political landscape.
He further emphasized the importance of fostering a culture within parties that focuses on nurturing future leaders who prioritize the party’s objectives and norms.
“Parties need to embrace periodic amendments that align with changing circumstances. Additionally, party leaders must invest in grooming members who are committed to serving the party’s best interests,” Galisonga stated.
Echoing Galisonga’s sentiment, lawyer Ivan Bwowe suggests that parties should explore the incorporation of laws that encourage divided leadership across various regions as system he thinks would place restrictions on the excessive powers of a single party president and secretary general, preventing any potential exploitation of these powers.
“The adoption of laws promoting divided leadership in different regions would create a balance and mitigate the potential abuse of power by the top party officials,” Bwowe expressed.
However, political analyst Daniel Rugarama offers a differing perspective.
He contends that constitutional amendments might not be the immediate solution but instead urges the top leaders of political parties to introspect and address their personal flaws, particularly tendencies towards selfishness and dictatorial behavior that are often concealed within the party’s legal framework.
“The core issue lies in the attitudes and intentions of the top leaders. Constitutional amendments won’t yield desired outcomes if leaders continue to prioritize self-interest over the party’s unity and growth,”Rugarama articulated.
The ongoing debate also highlights a common concern among these experts, the perceived inclination of the ruling party to identify and poach potential leaders from other political parties, a dynamic that has led to a predicament where numerous parties face challenges in retaining their most promising leaders.
The internal conflicts, disputes, and divisions within a majority of Ugandan political parties have largely originated from disagreements over the two prominent leadership positions: the president and the secretary general.
This has given rise to factions within parties such as the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC), Democratic Party (DP), and Uganda People’s Congress (UPC).
As Uganda’s political landscape navigates through these intricacies, the discussion on party constitutional amendments continues to reverberate.
While experts diverge on the optimal path forward, it remains evident that the need for effective leadership, unity, and transparency within these parties is a common denominator that should not be overlooked.