Mafabi supporters vow to quit if he is dropped
Posted Monday, October 21 2013 at 01:00
Mbale/Kampala- Supporters of Mr Nandala Mafabi, the Leader of Opposition in Parliament, have threatened to leave the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) party if he is dropped from the position.
The supporters, mainly from eastern Uganda, have held four meetings where they made the resolution.
Mr Polly Mugoya, the FDC chairperson for Sironko District, yesterday said: “Some leaders in FDC have waged a war against Mr Mafabi. We have leaders in the party who have retained their positions whenever a reshuffle came up, why is there interest in changing the LoP now?”
The FDC is to review its leadership in Parliament next month, as dictated by House rules. Besides Mr Mafabi’s position, the party will also review leadership of the four oversight committees it controls as the largest opposition party in Parliament.
However, the process has become sticky after it was reported that a section of confidantes of party president Mugisha Muntu were pressuring him to drop Mr Mafabi, whom they accuse of failing to reconcile with the former, after a heated election last year.
Maj Gen Muntu defeated Mr Mafabi by 32 votes in the November 2012 race to replace Dr Kizza Besigye, who chose to retire. However, Mr Mafabi cried foul, accusing top party officials, especially Secretary-General Alice Alaso of abusing her position to influence results against him.
Following a petition by Mr Mafabi’s supporters, the party instituted a commission headed by city lawyer Ladislaus Rwakafuzi to review the polls and make recommendations.
However, the commission’s move that Muntu only serves the remainder of Dr Besigye’s term and subjects himself to a fresh election in 2014 has kicked up another storm.
Maj Gen Muntu’s supporters say he was voted for a full-five year term while Mr Mafabi’s group insists it was only a by-election whose terms ends in 2014 when all other party positions come up for replacement.
The group also argues that the position, which was offered to Mr Mafabi by Dr Besigye in 2011, gives him clout that he uses to reportedly undermine Maj Gen Muntu.
Asked what their way forward would be in case Mr Mafabi is dropped, Mr Mugoya, reportedly the architect of the meetings, said: “We shall probably form our own party.”
Whereas they have not publicly indicated interest in the seat, Ms Alaso, Shadow Attorney General Abdu Katuntu and Dokolo Woman MP Cecilia Ogwal are reportedly the front-runners to replace Mr Mafabi. Ms Ogwal was listed as favourite in 2011 until Dr Besigye made a last-minute decision for Mr Mafabi, who was an outspoken in the 8th Parliament as chairman of the Public Accounts Committee.
Mr Mafabi expressed ignorance about the meetings and instead urged his supporters to stay calm: “I was the chairperson of national economy committee, PAC and now LoP and there are many people in FDC who also need to be leaders. We must accept change and new leaders.”
A source who attended the meetings but asked for anonymity, said Mr Mafabi had been briefed about the discussions but did not indicate if the LoP had endorsed the break-away.
Mr Wafula Oguttu, the party spokesperson, urged for calm, saying proper guidelines will be followed in reviewing the position.
Asked last month whether he would replace Mr Mafabi, Maj Gen Muntu said he does not “deal in speculation”.