Battle for FDC Leadership: Lukwago vs. Amuriat

Battle for FDC Leadership Lukwago vs. Amuriat
PHOTO - Courtesy - Pundits speculate that Lukwago, as the city's mayor, may consider forming an alliance with the broader opposition ahead of the 2026 national elections.
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Starting today, nomination forms for senior leadership roles in the FDC party will be available at the party’s headquarters in Najjanankumbi, Kampala. The nomination period will run until September 12.

Kampala Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago is expected to compete against Patrick Oboi Amuriat in the forthcoming internal elections of the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) party.

If Lukwago’s candidacy is confirmed, it could lead to a contentious campaign within the already tumultuous opposition party. The outcome may significantly impact the future of FDC as a political organization.

Pundits speculate that Lukwago, as the city’s mayor, may consider forming an alliance with the broader opposition ahead of the 2026 national elections. However, there are questions about his current political allegiances.

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Additional Information: The process of picking nomination forms for senior party positions has commenced at the FDC’s national headquarters in Najjanankumbi, Kampala, and will continue until September 12.

Candidates who receive nominations will seek support in preparation for the National Delegates Conference scheduled for October 6, where senior party leaders will be elected.

Before internal conflicts emerged, Erias Lukwago was a favored candidate for party president due to his popularity and experience. Meanwhile, Patrick Oboi Amuriat, the incumbent for the past six years, was slated to become the party’s national chairman.

However, the ongoing dispute has disrupted this planned transition. Both Lukwago and Amuriat now appear set to lead competing factions in the race for the top position.

An insider commented, “Lukwago and Amuriat have both expressed interest in the party presidency. Given the ongoing conflicts within the party, it remains uncertain how this situation will be resolved.”

This development adds a new layer of complexity to the party’s situation, following recent allegations of improper financial transactions.

Party spokesperson Ibrahim Ssemujju and other senior members triggered the conflict in July when they accused Amuriat and outgoing party secretary general Nathan Nandala Mafabi of betraying FDC. This accusation caused turmoil within the party, with allegations that they had received significant sums of money from State House prior to the 2021 general elections.

The unrest is also linked to the existence of two power centers within the party: one at Najjanankumbi, where the party headquarters are located, and another at Katonga Road, where founding president Col (rtd) Kizza Besigye runs a parallel political entity.

Since the conflicts began, prominent party figures, including Lukwago, have avoided visiting Najjanankumbi. The situation within the FDC remains fluid, especially with a competing national delegates’ conference called by outgoing national chairman Wasswa Birigwa for September 19, just days before another similar meeting scheduled by the FDC electoral commission on October 6.

When contacted, Erias Lukwago, who is currently attending the Africa Climate Summit in Nairobi, Kenya, reserved comment, while Patrick Oboi Amuriat stated that he would consult with his team before making a decision on whether to contest. He also noted that anyone, including those aligned with rival factions, is welcome to run for office as long as they pass the party’s vetting process.

Other Positions: According to sources, Kira Municipality MP Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda is likely to challenge Nathan Nandala Mafabi for the secretary general position. Veteran Jack Sabiiti may run against Wasswa Birigwa for the national chair position, and Buhweju County MP Francis Mwijukye is reportedly considering challenging Geoffrey Ekanya for treasurer general.

While some candidates have expressed their intentions, others, like Sabiiti and Mwijukye, have not yet made firm decisions about their candidacies. The situation within the party remains dynamic.

Background Information on Top FDC Leaders:

  • Patrick Oboi Amuriat, an engineer and former MP, has been the party president since 2017.
  • Erias Lukwago, a prominent opposition politician and lawyer, serves as the Lord Mayor of Kampala Capital City and is the FDC deputy president for Buganda Region.
  • Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda, MP for Kira Municipality, is a renowned political journalist and currently serves as the FDC spokesperson and party whip in Parliament.
  • Nathan Nandala Mafabi, MP for Budadiri West, held various positions in Uganda Revenue Authority before transitioning to politics. He served as the Leader of the Opposition in Parliament from 2011 to 2020.
  • Wasswa Birigwa, a diplomat with degrees from U.S. universities, served as Uganda’s Ambassador-Extraordinary to Ethiopia, Djibouti, and Somalia from 2002 to 2005.
  • Jack Sabiiti represented Rukiga County in Parliament and played a pivotal role in drafting Uganda’s 1995 Constitution.
  • Francis Mwijukye, representing Buhweju County, became a member of Parliament in 2017.
  • Geoffrey Ekanya, MP for Tororo North County, currently serves as the treasurer general of FDC.

FDC Crisis Summary: The internal conflict within the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) began with allegations of improper financial transactions, publicly raised by party spokesperson Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda and senior party members. This led to chaos during a national consultative meeting in July.

A national council meeting to receive a report on the matter ended in a fiasco, marked by assaults on journalists and party members. The report was dismissed as insignificant, further deepening the crisis.

The party’s national chairman, Waswa Birigwa, faced resistance when he attempted to brief the press, and the conflict escalated as the founding party leader, Kizza Besigye, became involved. Besigye revealed details of how Nathan Nandala Mafabi brought alleged ‘dirty money’ to him for safekeeping.

The crisis extended to Parliament, where Mafabi-Amuriat faction sought to replace Ssemujju as party whip but faced obstacles due to parliamentary procedures.

The situation worsened when two competing national delegates’ conferences were announced: one by Birigwa and another by Boniface Bamwenda Toterebuka, the chairperson of the party’s electoral commission. These conferences had different agendas and deepened the internal contradictions within the party.

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