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Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Why Amuriat declared presidential bid hours before Besigye’s big announcement

FDC president Patrick Oboi Amuriat has declared his 2021 presidential bid hours before Dr Kizza Besigye’s August 19 big announcement.

Forum for Democratic Change (FDC), Uganda’s main opposition political party, has begun its nomination process for 2021 Presidential flag bearer.

Amuriat was the third person to express interest in the party flag.

PATRICK OBOI AMURIAT FDC FLAG BEARER EXPRESSION OF INTEREST ANNOUNCEMENT

Fellow Citizens, family, friends and members of the Great Forum for Democratic Change Party,
Greetings.

I have this day of 17th August, 2020 taken a conscious decision to offer myself as candidate for President of Uganda.

For this to happen I must subject myself to the internal selection process of my party, the Forum for Democratic Change, FDC.

Accordingly I will be picking and completing the FDC forms for Expression of Interest tomorrow Wednesday 19th August, 2020 at 10:30 am and returning Nomination forms on 26th August, 2020 at 11 am.

I count on you all to offer prayers and all forms of support as I make this journey to become the highest ranking servant of this country.

Thank you all
God bless you.
One Uganda One People

FDC chairman Wasswa Birigwa has also expressed his interest in carrying the party flag for the 2021 presidential election.

Officials at Najjanankumbi are yet to reveal the other aspirant.

And they insist Besigye still qualifies to carry the FDC flag for a fourth time after three party endorsements in previous elections.

They say they will wait for him to make a decision on whether to join Birigwa and Amuriat in the primary race.

Amuriat himself had said FDC would not subject Besigye to an internal election if he agreed to contest in 2021.

But FDC spokesperson and opposition chief whip in parliament Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda dismissed Amuriat’s statement as simply his ‘wish.’

Sources in FDC say Amuriat later admitted that making it seem like FDC was ringfencing the flag bearer slot for Besigye would make the party appear wanting in internal democracy.

Even Besigye said he would prefer an internal nomination process for FDC to choose its flag bearer, whether he is a candidate or not.

The party has for weeks been convincing Besigye to stand in next year’s election.

But the former FDC president has reportedly been reluctant.

Amuriat’s expression of interest doesn’t necessarily mean Besigye is out of the party primary.

In fact, Besigye’s campaign posters can be seen pinned at FDC headquarters at Najjanankumbi in Kampala.

Besigye is expected to make a big announcement on August 19.

That declaration will answer the question: will Besigye be on the ballot in 2021 or not?

In a recent media interview, Besigye suggested said the focus of Uganda’s liberation shouldn’t be on his candidature.

Days ago, Daily Monitor reported that Besigye had likely opted out of the 2021 race.

But his camp was quick to dismiss the publication’s headline.

Besigye has made it clear he will fight to liberate Uganda, till his death.

“The struggle of Ugandans for ending gun-rule (in which am a participant) and getting popular control of the country is UNSTOPPABLE!” Besigye wrote.

“I’ll be in it till it ends or till I end, whichever comes first.
RELOADING… Article Three, Twerwaneko.”

Besigye will officially make his stand on being a candidate in the 2021 presidential election.

He’ll also likely emphasize a plan to popularize his defiance campaign as opposition forces mobilize the population through an electoral process he says will be fraudulent.

That Amuriat and others are likely to run against Besigye is an attempt at keeping up with the culture of an internal process through which flag bearers are chosen.

In recent elections, one of Besigye’s key contenders for the FDC flag was former bush war comrade and ex-army commander Maj Gen (Rtd) Mugisha Muntu.

But Muntu left the party after losing the FDC presidential election to Amuriat.

The former FDC president was unopposed in the race for for his party Alliance for National Transformation (ANT) presidential flag bearer race.

If Amuriat left Besigye unopposed (as a sole candidate), or if he expressed no ambitions beyond being FDC president, it would seem, to critics, as though Besigye backed him in the 2017 election to throw out Muntu (Besigye’s key opponent for the party flag).

By announcing his bid, Amuriat seeks to tell his critics that he has a mind of his own, and doesn’t work on Besigye’s whims.

Since 2017, critics have claimed Besigye has continuously influenced decisions at Najjanankumbi — even when he sits at the People’s Government along Katonga Road.

Also, if Besigye finally opted of the 2021 race, Amuriat would have no option but to offer himself.

By offering himself for the country’s top seat, the former MP is bolstering the party’s assertion that there are other able members that can challenge the regime even if Besigye declined to stand.

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