FDC’S Birigwa Appeals to Public for Funding Conference

Birigwa begs cash from public to fund meeting
PHOTO - DM - Birigwa begs cash from public to fund meeting
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Wasswa Birigwa, the Chairman of the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC), has sought financial support from the public to finance an upcoming extraordinary delegates conference, as the party’s official channels in Najjanankumbi declined to provide funding.

Speaking at Busaabala beach near Kampala, Birigwa assured journalists that the extraordinary conference would proceed as planned, thanks to contributions and donations from various sources.

According to Birigwa, financial constraints were not his primary concern. He urged FDC delegates and supporters to contribute to the event, mentioning that they had already received generous donations of two bulls and 30 bunches of matooke (a type of banana), emphasizing that hosting the conference was within their means.

Birigwa also called upon individuals with financial means, including the FDC Secretary-General, Nandala Mafabi, to contribute to the extraordinary conference, clarifying that it wasn’t a personal event but an FDC special extraordinary conference.

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The conference is scheduled for September 19 at Natures Green Beach Resort in Busaabala, a resort owned by Birigwa himself. He cited the FDC constitution’s Chapter 5, Section 23, which grants the party chairman the authority to convene an extraordinary meeting.

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During the same press conference, Proscovia Salaamu Musumba, the FDC Vice Chairperson for the Eastern Region, addressed concerns about using the party chairman’s venue for free. She stated that while they wouldn’t expect it to be free, they would consider a complimentary rate for services as they needed to accommodate around 1,000 attendees. Musumba also disclosed that their working budget for the conference was Shs250 million.

Last week, the Najjanankumbi faction of the FDC rejected Birigwa’s request for Shs638.2 million to fund the conference, claiming a lack of prior notification to the party’s governing organs.

Birigwa countered this during the press conference, alleging that the same people who rejected the budget had actually prepared it. He expressed willingness to provide evidence if necessary, but attempts to reach Nandala Mafabi for comment were unsuccessful.

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John Kikonyogo, the FDC’s Deputy Spokesperson, clarified that fundraising for a delegate’s conference was permissible but emphasized the importance of channeling funds through the proper party channels.

In related developments, sources indicated that the FDC’s working committee held a meeting, but further details were not disclosed.

Birigwa also revealed a list of conference invitees, including the Chairman of the National Electoral Commission, political parties represented in Parliament, the Alliance for National Transformation (ANT) led by Gen Mugisha Muntu, individuals from academia, the Leader of the Opposition in Parliament, and civil society organizations.

Background: The FDC, once Uganda’s largest opposition political party, has recently been mired in internal conflicts, resulting in two distinct factions. These factions, one based in Najjanankumbi and the other at Katonga Road, have seen senior party officials engage in public disputes, accusing each other of financial impropriety without providing concrete evidence.

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The feud reached its peak in mid-July when the party’s spokesperson, Ibrahim Ssemujju, accused senior colleagues, including party president Patrick Oboi Amuriat and Secretary-General Nandala, of accepting “dirty money” from President Museveni ahead of the 2021 elections. Ssemujju alleged that the money was hidden at Dr. Kizza Besigye’s residence in Kasaganti and was used to purchase new campaign vehicles. Both Nandala and Amuriat have consistently denied these claims.

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