Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) has dominated the news for days, thanks to Kampala Woman MP Nabilah Naggayi Sempala’s nomination woes and Kasese Woman MP Winnie Kiiza’s surprise retirement from active politics.
MPs Paul Mwiru of Jinja Municipality East and Aruu County’s Odonga Otto also announced they had formally quit the party .
Bugweri MP Abdul Katuntu who also broke the news that business between him and the Najjanankumbi group was long dead.
Unlike Otto, Mwiru and Katuntu who voluntarily opted out of the party, other members such as Naggayi and Kasese Municipality’s Robert Centenary were blocked from taking part in the FDC flag bearer identification process.
It’s a public secret that faults bursting now started with the controversial internal elections of November 2017 whereof the incumbent party President Patrick Amuriat defeated Maj Gen (Rtd) Gregory Mugisha Muntu.
The later would later opt out of the party to form Alliance for National Transformation (ANT) after accusing party godfather and bush war comrade Col (Rtd) Dr Kizza Besigye of being behind his defeat.
The hotly contested election which involved character assassination, false accusations and counter accusations with many from the Amuriat camp labeling Muntu and his group moles within the FDC ranks left the party severely wounded.
FDC 2021 PRESIDENTIAL FLAG BEARER PUZZLE
The situation has been further complicated by the complex search for a presidential flag bearer for next year’s general elections.
The leadership at Najjanankumbi has reportedly held talks with it’s three-time Presidential Candidate Dr Besigye to convince him to volunteer for a fourth time in a row but he is still reluctant.
Under the current delicate situation, the party will certainly face a tough hurdle without it’s godfather. There has not been a mechanism of identifying a possible Besigye successor should the renowned Museveni critic decline to stand.
The time left to next year’s polls is too short to push a replacement even with the presence of many formidable brains like Salaamu Musumba, Erias Lukwago (a non-member but a respected FDC ally), Nandala Mafabi, and Patrick Amuriat.
FDC INSIDERS CONFIDENT BESIGYE WILL RUN FOR PRESIDENT IN 2021
Some inside sources have however intimated to us that Dr Besigye will reconsider his decision and give a final shot at the most coveted office in the best interest of his party.
“I am confident Colonel will be on the ballot come next year. He loves the party and he is very much committed to the struggle which make it impossible for him to betray our trust in him by giving up on us at this time when we desperately need him,” said a source at Najjanankumbi who preferred anonymity.
“He is a parent and a parent doesn’t forsake children in danger.”
Paul Kawanguzi, a leader in Dr Besigye’s People’s Government (PG), and also an aspiring MP for Jinja West, argues that what’s going on in FDC is actually a process that was initiated over two years ago by the leadership of the party.
Kawanguzi says that after the 2017 elections, efforts were made to iron out the differences that had come up.
Several meetings were conducted where some Members like MP Ssemujju Nganda opted to make peace.
Others, however, continued against the party leadership which provided an opportunity to prepare for life without them at the end of the current term.
For instance, he says that MPs such as Mwiru, Katuntu and Angelline Osegge (Soroti Woman MP) had known their fate long before the expression of interest exercise.
Kampala’s Naggayi and Kasese’s Jackson Mbajju (Busongora South) and Centenary had attempted to seek the party’s flag but FDC rejected them.
Just like Kawanguzi, Robert Mayanja, the Speaker for Buganda Region in PG, says it’s wrong to describe the ongoing saga at Najjanankumbi as a storm since the said defections have been known for a long time.
“Their occurrence shouldn’t surprise anybody.”
On finding a presidential candidate for next year, Musumba says that shouldn’t be a reason to fret about since the party has many formidable people to choose from even without Besigye.
“That shouldn’t worry anybody. FDC has got many leaders from whom we can choose a presidential flag bearer. All I want to tell you for certain is that we shall have a candidate on the nomination day; wait and see,” Musumba told The Pearl Times.
Even without dwelling much on who is right and who is wrong, it Is clearly evident that there is something wrong at Najjanankumbi — its magnitude is what remains debatable.
The old friendly environment of the reign of Besigye and later Muntu is long gone. Amuriat has been turned into a punching bag even when the seeds of the current discord were sown before he assumed the presidency of the party.
Muntu had long wanted to take full control of FDC as evidenced in the previous attempts to represent it at the presidential level right from 2006. His defeat at the hands of Amuriat only served as a spark for him to quit.
There is no doubt that the current leadership has spent much of its time trying to repair the faults left by Muntu’s departure within the party. Activities such as the district visits in all the regions of the country were aimed at reducing the damage.
How Amuriat manages to steer the boat out of the current unease will not only determine FDC’s chances in 2021 but also its post-2021 status.