Political leaders and analysts have warned the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) vice president, Ms Joyce Nabbosa Ssebugwawo, and other Opposition members in President Museveni’s government to wait for the axe in the next Cabinet reshuffle.
Opposition leaders, who talked to Daily Monitor on Wednesday, also accused Mr Museveni of using and dumping Opposition members.
The warning comes three days after the President released his Cabinet list, dropping some ministers he had poached from various Opposition parties.
Among the dropped members are Ms Beti Kamya (Uganda Federal Alliance), Ms Florence Nakiwala Kiyingi (formerly of Democratic Party), and the former Deputy Mayor of Kampala, Ms Sarah Kanyike (DP), who had served in cabinet for only 10 months.
Ms Ssebugwawo has been appointed State minister for Information and ICT in the new Cabinet but Opposition leaders have urged her to turn down the offer or risk being used and dumped just like her colleagues.
FDC president Patrick Amuriat said if Ms Ssebugwawo accepts the offer, she should do so knowing that she will also be used and dumped.
“All I can say is we wish her well but I want to caution her, because Museveni is fond of using and dumping and we have a number of examples in FDC, of people who left and after a while, they were dumped and forgotten completely and normally they cannot feel comfortable in NRM or come back (to FDC),” he said.
Mr Amuriat said the party would meet and elect another party vice president for Buganda region.
Political analysts and other opposition leaders have warned that if opposition members continue accepting Mr Museveni “carrots” without their party’s consent, they will lose credibility in the public domain.
Dr Fredrick Golooba, a political scientist and researcher, said Opposition members who are just poached from their mother parties can easily be dumped because they lose credibility when they cross.
Analysts speak out
“It is not bad for NRM to work with the Opposition, but the ruling party poaching individuals from other parties for appointment without consultation with their mother parties is not the right thing to do,” Dr Golooba said.
“This weakens other parties and undermines the integrity of the people being poached because they get dumped very quickly. They should do it at their own risk,” he added.
Kampala Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago, who was disappointed when Mr Museveni poached his deputy at City Hall, Ms Kanyike, said her exit after only 10 months in office should send a clear signal to Ms Ssebugwayo and other Opposition ministers.
“He is good at picking you, extracting the little value you have and he dumps you.,” Mr Lukwago said yesterday in an interview with NTV.
Dr Ndebesa Mwambutsya, a Makerere University don, said Opposition members, who are always appointed by Mr Museveni, should seek clearance from their parties and maintain their identity while in Cabinet.
“This business of poaching is not correct. You poach somebody with the purpose of killing their party and you end up killing the person,” Dr Mwambutsya said.
Dr Gerald Karyeija, a political scientist at Uganda Management Institute (UMI), said Mr Museveni poaches Opposition members who are active and that once they fail to mobilise for him, he drops them.
“If you are appointed from the Opposition and in his estimation you have not marginalised the Opposition nor increased his mobilisation for NRM, your political value diminishes and you cannot be retained,” Dr Karyeija said
Mr Joel Ssenyonyi, the National Unity Platform party spokesperson, warned FDC’s Ssebugwawo to take lessons from Ms Kamya, Ms Nakiwala, and Ms Kanyike.
Ms Kanyike, when contacted, said she was not in position to comment.
Ms Ssebugwawo was not available for a comment on whether she will accept the ministerial offer or not.