FDC declines to fund Birigwa’s Shs650m delegates conference

A photomontage of FDC President, Mr Patrick Amuriat (left) and the national party chairman, Mr Wasswa Birigwa. Mr Amuriat says he plans to meet Mr Birigwa over the National Delegates Conference. PHOTO | FILE

What you need to know:

  • Birigwa plans to hold a meeting this month with about 1,600 people.

The Opposition Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) has rejected a request for funding the Extraordinary National Delegates’ Conference that was called by the party chairman, Mr Wasswa Birigwa on the ground that the party’s governing bodies were not informed in advance.

In his August 24 letter, Mr Birigwa had requested Shs638.2 million to fund his conference scheduled for September 19. 

Mr Birigwa said: “The office of the party chairman has called for an extraordinary national delegates’ conference on...September 19 in Kampala. The total number of expected participants is 1,970, including 1,560 delegates and 410 other guests.”

According to the budget attached to the letter, the funds were intended to facilitate the attendance of delegates, provide security in the form of police officers, accommodate delegates for two nights each, cover meals and refreshments for delegates, and provide transportation to and from their respective districts, among others.

However, Mr Birigwa’s request has been turned down by the party’s secretary general, Mr Nandala Mafabi, on the grounds that the party’s governing bodies were not informed about the delegates’ conference in advance.

In his September 2 letter. Mr Mafabi said: “You announced this extraordinary meeting in the Monitor without notifying any party organ, including the secretary general, who is the principal accounting officer of the party, the party president, and the party treasurer, who is responsible for party finances.”

Mr Mafabi also pointed out that Mr Birigwa appears to be implementing the resolutions made during the press conference at Katonga by the party founder, Dr Kizza Besigye, on August 2, and the gathering at Fairway Hotel on August 3. He warned that Katonga is not an official organ or structure of the FDC, and the chairman should not act on its resolutions.

In his letter, Mafabi said the party is only informed about the national delegates’ conference called by the chairperson of the electoral commission, which will lead to the election of the party’s national leadership. The conference is slated to take place on October 6.

Mr Mafabi said: “During your eight years as the party chairman, you had ample time to convene a delegates’ conference, but you chose not to do so until the end of your term. Your actions are causing disharmony at this critical time.”

“Since this meeting is not a party-sanctioned event, and considering the party’s financial constraints, the working committee has resolved that the party cannot fund it because it is not included in the budget, and you do not have the authority to incur expenses on behalf of the party through claims by third parties,” he added.

When reached for comment, Mr Birigwa said he is scheduled to hold a press conference today to address the fate of this conference and other issues affecting the party.

The crisis in the party deepened after the revelation of two upcoming and competing national delegates’ conferences, one called by Mr Birigwa and the other by the chairperson of the party electoral commission.

While the two conferences have different agendas, both require substantial budgets to accommodate more than 1,700 delegates from various parts of the country. This had left party supporters uncertain about the two competing events.

The agenda for the extraordinary conference called by Mr Birigwa involves receiving reports from the party chairman, party president, secretary general, and treasurer general. This will be followed by plenary sessions, resolutions, and adjournments.

In contrast, the second national delegates’ conference aims to elect the national executive committee leadership, including the party president, deputy presidents, and the secretary general.

The party president, Mr Patrick Amuriat, had last week requested to meet Mr Birigwa to harmonise the two conferences but Mr Birigwa did not turn up.