The Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) party has said that its flag bearer in the Kaabong Woman parliamentary race was offered an inducement to withdraw from the race, but offered no evidence to back up the claims.
Ms Judith Adyaka Nalibe wrote to the Electoral Commission (EC) last week, saying she had decided to quit the contest, just slightly a week to the September 26 voting day.
This means FDC or the Opposition will not be able to field an alternative flag bearer, raising prospects the ruling NRM candidate will be declared winner of the seat unopposed.
Ms Nalibe in an interview yesterday said her campaigns had been constrained by cash flow problems after FDC, her sponsor, only availed Shs500,000 to her and has been flip-flopping on providing promised additional resources.
The party’s secretary general, Mr Nandala Mafabi, in a rejoinder, said they rejected the candidate’s withdrawal and warned the electoral body that FDC would claim Shs200m from it to compensate the party for expenses incurred on the candidate.
Mr Mafabi did not breakdown the expenditure or explain why the party was threatening to sue EC, and not the flag bearer.
The seat fell vacant after incumbent Kaabong District Woman MP, Rose Lilly Akello opted to represent Karenga District, carved out of Kaabong District.
The new district became operational on July 1, 2019
In a follow up press conference at FDC head offices in Najjanankumbi, a Kampala suburb, party spokesperson Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda yesterday claimed that Ms Nalibe on September 12 held a secret meeting with President Museveni in Moroto Town.
Mr Museveni, the NRM chairperson, was in Moroto on the stated date to sign a memorandum of understanding with visiting Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta on cross-border movement.
“We are investigating reports that [President] Museveni bribed our candidate with Shs1.2b to withdraw from the race,’’ Mr Ssemujju said.
However, the senior presidential press secretary, Mr Don Wanyama, described the allegations as “trash” and branded the Opposition actors as “jokers”.
“Tell them to find other excuses for their weaknesses. They cannot even find candidates to field in elections. They are jokers,’’ he said.
Mr Ssemujju, who represents Kira Municipality, yesterday called for a law to restrict a candidate from withdrawing from a race without the consent of the party.
“We want a law that will only allow a political party sponsoring any candidate to withdraw him or her from the race. These things of ‘eating’ our money and you disappear must stop,” he said.