MPs Blame LoP for Splitting Opposition in Parliament

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A section of Members of Parliament from different opposition political parties, such as the Democratic Party (DP) and the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC), among others, have accused Joel Ssenyonyi, the Leader of Opposition (LoP), in Parliament of splitting the opposition.

According to Peter Okot, the DP party Whip, while opposition parties ostensibly collaborate in parliament, the DP and their counterparts, such as the FDC and UPC, face stigma in Parliament despite efforts to present a united front.

Okot added that unity in opposition only manifests in front of cameras, stating that opposition parties are opposing each other within the opposition.

“As we know, there is no party called opposition, so we do work together, but I must tell us that within the opposition parties, we are also opposed to each other.”

“We can pretend or smile with each other for the cameras, but deep inside, our working relationship is not smooth,” he added.

According to Okot, LoP did not have constructive consultation with DP while appointing members to the shadow cabinet. He explained that this exclusionary approach leads to divided loyalty among party members appointed to the shadow cabinet.

“That makes it very difficult for a party to have a say, because an individual member of parliament may have negotiated the position, and so where does he put the loyalty, to the party or to the person who appointed him?” he asked.

The DP chief whip added, claiming that there was no formal invitation by the NUP chief whip to attend the presentation of the alternative budget in parliament.

According to Okot, decisions made by the LOP may not always align with the views of the DP and other opposition factions, leading to internal discord and a lack of cohesive action.

“There are many activities that the office of the leader of the opposition comes up with that ordinarily would have been that members of the opposition would have gone through before it comes out, at times we also get to know about them as visitors like the members of the public. That makes it very challenging in the way we are perceived outside in the general context of members of the opposition,” he said.

MPs from FDC reechoed Okot’s sentiments and vowed to have a meeting as the opposition to devise means of inclusion.

However, Gerald Silanda, the DP Secretary-General, called for solidarity within the opposition, emphasizing that the current perception of the opposition as synonymous with the National Unity Platform (NUP) undermines the diversity and contributions of all opposition parties.

Okot also called for greater consultation and inclusivity within the opposition, advocating for a more transparent and communicative approach to decision-making processes. According to Okot, without such measures, the opposition risks further fragmentation and ineffectiveness in parliament.

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