Infighting has again cropped up in Democratic Party top ranks in Masaka following the suspension of two party leaders in the district.
Those suspended are Masaka District party deputy secretary general, Mr Joseph Kasirye and the party’s district organising secretary, Mr Innocent Kateregga.
Mr Kasirye was suspended early this month on accusations of misusing party stamp and extortion of money from aspiring candidates whereas Mr Kateregga is accused of disrespecting party leaders and failure to execute his duties.
In a letter dated January 14, 2020 addressed to DP Masaka District executive committee, the party secretary general, Mr Gerald Siranda, said he had received a petition regarding Mr Kasirye’s alleged misconduct and ordered him to handover party property to allow investigations to go on smoothly.
“The petition raises several complaints relating to misuse and abuse of office by Mr Kasirye being mentioned in allegations such as charging exorbitant amounts of money from the party candidates before he could officially append his signature and party branch stamp while signing off the nomination forms and that all those who did not have the said money were not endorsed by his office, forcing party members to contest as independents,” the letter reads in part.
Mr Siranda adds that allegations against Mr Kasirye amounts to indiscipline and undermines the growth of the party.
“This can be solved under article 47(IV) where the district executive committee is mandated to carry out disciplinary functions in the district,” he said.
In a meeting convened on Monday by the party district chairperson, Mr Fred Mukasa Mbidde who also doubles as the party's national vice president, it emerged that both Mr Kasirye and Kateregga will be given chance to defend themselves.
“We implore the two party leaders to step aside until we conclude our investigations as per Article 79 of the party constitution,” Mr Mbidde said.
He said Mr Kateregga had also be replaced by Mr Charles Zziwa, a counsellor representing Nyendo-Ssenyange Division.
However, the suspended party members have vowed not to leave office, accusing Mr Mbidde of incompetence and running the party like his family business.
Mr Kasirye claims he has invested a lot in the party and has been paying rent fees for DP offices in Masaka District for the last seven years without the help of any member of the executive committee.
“First of all the Masaka DP office he [Mbidde] is talking about belongs to me. I have been using my personal money to run district party activities. Who is Mbidde to suspend me?” he asked.
This comes at a time when Mr Mbidde, who is currently serving his second and last term in the East African Legislative Assembly, is busy doing early ground work to unseat Masaka Municipality MP, Mr Mathias Mpuuga in next year’s parliamentary elections. Mr Mpuuga is also a DP stalwart.
Members from both camps have clashed twice in public since 2018 when Mbidde declared interest to contest against Mpuuga.