Political Parties Growth and Development

Political Parties Growth and Development

For more than half a century, African states have gone through turbulent times characterized by a radical change of governments through guerrilla warfare and coups. As a positive, some have advanced to electoral democracy. In all these struggles, almost every country has tried to develop politically through democracy or at least by attempting it. On a sad note, dictatorship remains a dominant variable in almost every corner of the continent, save for a few exceptions like South Africa, Ghana, Botswana, Kenya, Tanzania, and Zambia among others.

The independence struggles saw the formulation of political parties aimed at promoting transformational leadership and governance in these states. Most political parties were formed along religious and tribal lines, which compromised the growth of democracy. The same political parties that took power promising transformational leadership began to suppress citizens and enslave them within their own countries.

Then parties gave birth to other parties and the rise of a multiparty dispensation swept across the entire continent. As the ruling parties became extreme using underhanded methods, opposition parties became the breeding grounds for radical extremism. In the end, we saw political parties changing the fashion of recruitment through civic education and advocacy to activism and defiance. This minimized the space for intellectual engagement and the capacity to influence policy through the shadow governments. The citizen, in the meantime, remains the most disadvantaged in all of this.

We ask ourselves, are political parties capable of influencing social change in Africa in their current fashion of street activism and defiance? If the answer is no, they will soon lose meaning and degenerate to being pressure groups. And if the answer is yes, what shows?

Drawing evidence from Uganda, in his paper “The Challenge of Building Strong Political Parties for Democratic Governance in Uganda: Does multiparty politics have a future?” 2009, Prof. Sabiti Makara of Makerere University points out that since independence, Uganda has not had any chance of successful multiparty democracy, making it impossible for political parties to grow stronger. From the time of this paper's publication, nothing much has changed. The political arena has remained a fighting ground for both ruling and opposition parties. Insults, name-calling, and deception dominate the political space. Several political commentators attribute voter and political apathy to this kind of behavior. Whether this is true or not, it threatens the growth of democracy, and political parties should reverse this trend.

In as much as the State has deliberately and continued to utilize brutality against political parties, they must sustain their primary objectives of ensuring accountability, giving alternative voices to policy formulation, and breeding upright and responsible leaders for the future. This can only be achieved through the growth of values and straightforward philosophy within themselves. If they breed bickering within themselves, it will weaken them early enough before they interface with the state police to disperse their meetings. To succeed on this front, political parties have a mandate to institutionalize themselves before seeking to institutionalize the entire nation. The Baganda have said that once you have failed a parish, you cannot ask to be given a whole sub-county to manage.

The success of any chain depends on individual components that make up the entire chain. It is a fact that the government, will clandestinely try to infiltrate and weaken political parties, but this is a known evil move. Therefore, a known disaster gives a victim a chance to protect him/herself in advance. What is known in Uganda, is that the ruling party uses incentives to attract members of the opposition, intimidation, and deception. It is from this background that leaders in serious political parties like the Alliance for National Transformation (ANT) should base on finding a lasting solution to solve Uganda's leadership question.

Lamentations and constant cries will not solve this tragedy but might instead demoralize the would-be members. Strengthening communication systems within leadership ranks and closing potential gaps for in-fighting is very fundamental. Gen. Museveni’s greatest weapon of weakening political parties in Uganda has been deception and playing opposition leaders against one another. In the end, they fight against themselves instead of uniting themselves against him.

From my observation, recruitment is very important, followed by training, and follow-up to sustain membership. A Form Three student at age 15 in a certain secondary school in Kabarole will be 20 years in 2026, they will also potentially be a second-year student in a certain university at that time. His or her voice in that election period will be very vital. Think about it! Make a database, reach out to them now. These young stars between the ages of 14 to 19 are very obsessed with technology and they belong to Generation Z. Do you have any plan for them or you’re just there lamenting! 

Sedrack Atuhaire

Email: sedrack69@gmail.com



Popular Posts