FDC faction suspends Amuriat, names Lukwago interim party president

Kampala City Mayor Erias Lukwago gestures as he arrives at Katonga Road in Kampala for the FDC delegates meeting called by national party chairman Wasswa Birigwa on September 19, 2023. PHOTO/ISAAC KASAMANI

What you need to know:

  • Additionally, delegates agreed to set up a disciplinary committee to expeditiously investigate all the suspended leaders.

A faction of the Forum Democratic Change (FDC) has unanimously agreed to suspend the leadership of party president Patrick Amuriat, replacing him with his deputy Erias Lukwago on interim basis.

On Tuesday, defiant FDC party guests swiftly carried on with a delegates conference prohibited by High Court in Kampala on Monday.

Resolutions adopted by the faction at the conference also decided on the suspension of FDC Secretary General Nathan Nandala Mafabi and treasurer general Geoffrey Ekanya.

“Their deputies Harold Kaijja (secretary general) and Francis Mwijukye (treasurer) will perform the duties of these offices,” FDC spokesperson Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda announced to delegates who included founding party president Dr Kizza Besigye.

Opposition figure Dr Kizza Besigye arrives at his Katonga offices in Kampala on September 19, 2023. Some FDC delegates who had reached Busabala have returned to Kampala at the Katonga office. PHOTO/ABUBAKER LUBOWA 

The faction at Katonga also resolved to put in place an interim Electoral Commission “to organize free, fair and transparent internal party elections.”

This would also imply that delegates on Tuesday set aside what Ssemujju described as “fraudulent elections organized by FDC electoral commission chairperson Boniface Toterebuka Bamwenda.”

Additionally, delegates agreed to set up a disciplinary committee to expeditiously investigate all the suspended leaders.

Police use tear gas to disperse delegates

Earlier, police used teargas to disperse FDC party guests at the conference which was summoned by Birigwa.

People, including FDC delegates run after police fired teargas at Katonga Road in Kampala as party members sought to meet in for a conference. PHOTO/ABUBAKER LUBOWA

The meeting was initially to be held in Busabala before it suffered security blocks a day after Monday’s court ruling.

On Tuesday, supporters of rival factions in FDC clashed in Busabala amid heavy security deployment before the conference was shifted to Katonga Road which houses a major power centre and offices of Besigye.

A wounded man (C) at Katonga Road displays injuries sustained after he was allegedly beaten by goons in Busabala where FDC members were due to meet for a national delegates conference on September 19, 2023. PHOTO/ABUBAKER LUBOWA

As the party braced for a chaotic day, some delegates were held inside the Katonga premises as police fired tear gas at arriving FDC supporters with access cut off by midday.  

Most arrivals were of delegates who were bounced upon reaching Busabala which was under a police lock out.

Speaking to NTV Uganda, Ssemujju accused Amuriat and Mafabi of “using police in attempts to capture the party.”

“The FDC people want to rescue their party from Mafabi and Amuriat who are paid agents of President Museveni because how can they fear that party members are meeting,” the lawmaker said in a morning interview.

However, policemen on scene were hesitant to explain their deployment, constantly referring journalists to “higher security authorities for a comment.”

Anti-riot policemen arrive in Busabala on September 19, 2023 ahead of a party delegates conference planned by FDC national chairman Wasswa Birigwa. PHOTO/ISAAC KASAMANI 

Over two months ago, FDC descended into chaos with two rival factions emphasizing accusations that have since created a great divide in what was once Uganda's leading opposition party. 

As of September 19, a faction loyal to the Najjanankumbi establishment led by Amuriat- is on course to holding a national delegates conference in October 2023. 

“National Executive Committee (NEC) is directed to challenge in courts of law, the illegal, October 6, 2023 delegates conference,” Ssemujju noted on Tuesday.

By press time, the pro-Amuriat caucus was yet to respond to the developments at Katonga. 

FDC members arrive at Katonga Road offices after they were frustrated in Busabala which was the intended venue for a September 19, 2023 party delegates conference called by national chairman Wasswa Birigwa. PHOTO/ABUBAKER LUBOWA