Former Leader of Opposition in Parliament (LoP) Nathan Nandala Mafabi on Tuesday struck a conciliatory tone very different from the uncompromising, line-in-the-sand rhetoric pushed by his supporters, especially from the Elgon region, one of the FDC strongholds.
On the day he handed over the instruments of power to Mr Wafula Oguttu, his successor, in a statesmanlike farewell statement to Parliament, Mr Mafabi called for calm and promised “total support” to the new leader.
Mr Mafabi described Mr Oguttu as a “distinguished gentleman”, “elder” and “statesman”.
In trying to understand Mr Mafabi’s legacy, we note that some leaders come into public offices and leave unnoticed.
Some stay in our minds for a while, others forever, even when they step down, they leave footprints on our hearts.
Those who advance reforms in public interest, we miss them, we relish their contribution to the nation.
For the weak leaders, they evaporate like flickers even though fate ordains that even the darling leaders must part at some point.
Mr Mafabi has left behind a culture of accountability.
He fought for good governance and reached out to opposition parties in Parliament, campaigned for unity in diversity. He wanted to see opposition leaders behave like a government in waiting.
Last week, Mr Mafabi left the office he occupied since May 2011. The politics surrounding his exit notwithstanding, he gave a strong address in which he thanked those who worked with him, including the leader of government business, Prime Minister Mr Amama Mbabazi.
Mr Mafabi said Mr Oguttu’s appointment cements a culture that the FDC cherishes and desire for Uganda.
He said the mark of a good leader is to serve and leave and that a good leader must not succumb to cheerleaders and schemers who always call upon him or her to stay on.
He admitted that leading the opposition in Parliament is a very challenging job that requires dedication, courage and full alertness.
“There is pressure to act in a dignified manner, yet our opponents —the NRM party, can act very provocative and almost in a “mob justice style,” he said.
Mr Mafabi added: “I have fought for what I believe in. I have tried, to the best of my ability, to discharge those duties and meet those responsibilities that were entrusted to me.”
The Budadiri West MP said in all the decisions he made as chairman of the Public Accounts Committee in the 8th Parliament and chairperson of the National Economy in the 7th Parliament, he always tried to do what was best for the nation.
He said during his tenure of office, there were various achievements that represent the shared efforts of the members of opposition and the entire public. Mr Mafabi pledged that he would continue to fight against injustice, dictatorship and advocate equality for all.