Nominations for key positions within the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) proceeded as scheduled at the party headquarters in Najjanankumbi. This followed an extraordinary national delegates’ conference that had elected interim leaders for the party. However, this move has raised concerns that FDC may find itself in a leadership dispute similar to the ongoing situation in the Uganda Peoples Congress (UPC) since 2015.
The interim leaders were chosen just a day prior during an extraordinary national delegates’ conference held by the FDC. This development raises the possibility of the FDC encountering a leadership controversy akin to the one that has plagued the Uganda Peoples Congress (UPC) since July 2015 when Jimmy Akena attempted to oust the party president. At that time, Olara Otunnu served as the substantive leader of UPC.
During the nominations at Najjanankumbi, a single individual was nominated for the position of party president, a role temporarily filled on Tuesday with the election of Kampala Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago, who replaced the embattled Patrick Oboi Amuriat. Nominations for various executive positions, which commenced on Monday, are set to conclude today, with Mr. Amuriat expressing his intention to be nominated today.
Amuriat stated, “I am going tomorrow (today) for my nomination to become the president for the second and last term.” He added, “Despite the fact that some individuals announced themselves as party leaders in the Katonga office, nothing will stop us at the party headquarters in Najjanankumbi from proceeding with our elections.”
Among the three individuals who obtained nomination forms for the presidency were Moses Byamugisha and Malcolm Masiko. Mr. Byamugisha received his nomination on the previous day. Byamugisha is a former FDC Youth League leader, whereas Masiko is an ordinary party member. Both had contested for the presidency in the party’s 7th national delegates conference held on November 24, 2017, but lost to Mr. Amuriat.
The internal leadership crisis within the party further escalated following the extraordinary national delegates’ conference initiated by the party chairman, Wasswa Birigwa. During this conference, a vote of no confidence was passed, leading to the removal of Mr. Amuriat and Mr. Nathan Nandala Mafabi from their positions as president and secretary general, respectively. Geoffrey Ekanya and Boniface Toterebuka Bamwenda were also ousted from their roles as FDC treasurer general and elections chief, respectively.
Mr. Lukwago, who had previously served as deputy president for the Central/Buganda region, was appointed as interim party president by the delegates. Harold Kaija was chosen as Mr. Mafabi’s temporary replacement as deputy secretary general, while Mr. Francis Mwijukye was selected as the stand-in treasurer general. These interim leaders will serve for six months. The party’s electoral body was disbanded, and a new team was announced, with Mr. Micheal Kabaziguruka appointed as its chairman.
Despite court orders and police intervention attempting to prevent the delegates’ conference, it proceeded as planned. Mr. Amuriat has stated that these resolutions will not hinder the Najjanankumbi group from conducting their planned elections on October 6. He commented, “What [FDC founding leader Dr. Kizza] Besigye and friends did was contempt of court and comedy. Their coup against us failed. If they want, let them come and participate in the forthcoming elections.”