Delegates from various regions of Uganda arrived in the capital overnight, in preparation for an extraordinary delegates’ conference convened by Ambassador Wasswa Birigwa, the chairman of the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) party. As of the time of this report, the status of the conference remained uncertain due to a court injunction issued to halt its proceedings.
Sources indicate that delegates began arriving on Sunday evening despite the legal uncertainty surrounding the event.
A party official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, emphasized the determination to proceed with the conference, stating that delegates had started arriving on Sunday and more were expected on Monday in anticipation of the event scheduled for Tuesday.
Kenneth Opoka, the party chairperson in Agago District, led a delegation of six delegates arriving on Monday morning. He noted that most delegates from the Acholi Sub-region, including Gulu City, Lamwo, and Kitgum districts, had already reached the capital, with others en route.
However, Opoka mentioned a lack of information regarding the day’s program and the venue of the conference, stating, “We do not know where this conference is taking place, but I am confident that by 6 p.m., we will be informed of the venue.” Opoka and his delegation were unaware of the court injunction that had been issued to halt the conference.
Party official Kennedy Okello, who serves in the party’s presidency, confirmed that delegates were undergoing accreditation at designated points in preparation for the meeting.
“So far, 800 delegates have arrived at different points, they are getting accredited, and they will be transported to Busaabala where they will stay,” he reported. The party had initially invited around 1,000 delegates, but they received confirmation from 1,200. While approximately 800 had already arrived, others were still en route.
Accreditation was carried out at Katonga, the offices of former party president and founding father Dr. Kizza Besigye, as well as at Busaabala, a resort located on the shores of Lake Victoria, approximately 30 minutes from the capital, Kampala.
Notably, rival FDC party officials, including Party President Patrick Amuriat and Secretary-General Nandala Mafabi, had vocally opposed the extraordinary delegates’ conference.
Mafabi disclosed that the party had no knowledge of the event and had even written to the police, requesting that they refrain from providing security for it and the attending delegates. Last week, the police declined to offer security and cautioned against proceeding with the meeting due to concerns of potential violence and disorder. Nonetheless, Birigwa maintained that the conference would take place, with or without police security.
Kampala’s Lord Mayor, who also serves as the Deputy President of FDC, Erias Lukwago, affirmed that the conference would proceed as scheduled.
The party’s internal crisis, which has persisted for months, escalated last month with the revelation of two separate national delegates’ conferences, one called by Birigwa and the other by the chairperson of the party electoral commission.
Although these two conferences have distinct agendas, both entail substantial budgets to accommodate over 1,700 delegates from various regions of the country. The extraordinary conference convened by Birigwa primarily focuses on receiving reports from key party officials and holding plenary sessions, resolutions, and adjournments. In contrast, the second National Delegates Conference aims to elect the National Executive Committee leadership, including the party president, deputy presidents, and the secretary-general.