What you need to know:
- Both dfcu and Centenary banks have reportedly received letters advising them to cease and desist from transacting with Mr Nathan Nandala Mafabi and Mr Geoffrey Ekanya as signatories to FDC bank accounts.
Two financial institutions have been dragged into the ongoing dispute at the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) after being asked to stop dealing with “suspended” individuals holding out in the party’s Najjanankumbi head office.
The instructions were made public yesterday by the FDC’s recently chosen interim leaders who revealed that they have written to the banks, replacing signatories to party accounts with immediate effect.
Both dfcu and Centenary banks have reportedly received letters advising them to cease and desist from transacting with Mr Nathan Nandala Mafabi and Mr Geoffrey Ekanya as signatories to FDC bank accounts.
Interim president of the Katonga faction, Mr Erias Lukwago, told journalists early Monday afternoon that going forward the banks can only continue dealing with either of the two persons at their own peril.
“We have communicated with the banks regarding the management of funds in the party accounts. Our Secretary General and Treasurer, who previously held signatory authority, are currently suspended. As long as they remain suspended, their signatures on those accounts cannot be considered valid,” Mr Lukwago said.
Appearing clearly unsettled by the direction things are taking, the banks seemed to have chosen to take cover behind customary confidentiality rules yesterday.
The not-unexpected apolitical self-preservation posture was in evidence throughout Monday as they struggled with decisions on how to respond to requests for comment.
Officials at both institutions gave the impression that their enforced role as unwilling actors in the unravelling political soap opera is not in their best interests.
READ: Can the FDC survive?
Ms Jude Kansiime, the head of marketing at dfcu Bank told Daily Monitor in an email yesterday that “as a financial institution, we are committed to protecting the privacy and confidentiality of our customers’ information”.
“We are, therefore, unable to disclose specific details about customer accounts, transactions, or any related matters without the explicit consent of the account holder,” she said.
At Centenary Bank, Ms Allen Ayebare, the chief manager for Corporate Affairs and Communication, referred us to her boss, the General Manager of Corporate Communication and Marketing, Ms Beatrice Lugalambi.
By press time last night, Ms Lugalambi was still not responding to our calls.
As party secretary general and treasurer general, respectively, Mr Mafabi and Mr Ekanya were authorised to sign cheques and any other financial transaction involving FDC and the said banks.
HERE: The rise and fall of FDC
That authority was effectively withdrawn upon their suspension from those positions during FDC’s extraordinary national delegates conference held on September 19, Mr Lukwago said. Both banks have now reportedly received instructions to change signatories to FDC accounts.
The newly named acting Secretary General, Mr Harold Kaija will, together with the interim Treasurer General, Mr Francis Mwijukye, now take over as the new authorised signatories.
At yesterday’s briefing, Mr Lukwago who is also Kampala Capital City Lord Mayor, revealed they have also submitted a list of the freshly elected interim leadership at FDC to the country’s Electoral Commission (EC) as required by law.
It, however, remains unclear how that notification will affect the party’s legal standing at the EC whose mandate includes registration of, and being custodian of, political party particulars in the country.
EC spokesman, Mr Paul Bukenya, followed the bankers’ lead in refraining from comment when approached.
“We are aware that FDC has gone to court over some internal issues relating to their governance. Looking at the matter before a court of law, we can’t comment until it is heard and determined. That is when we can comment,” Mr Bukenya said yesterday.
These developments wrap up a troubled three months since the political unrest inside FDC went public, culminating in the September 19 conference convened by the party’s national chairman, Mr Wasswa Birigwa.
In the immediate aftermath, delegates attending that meeting backed a vote of no confidence brought against Mr Patrick Oboi Amuriat and Mr Mafabi, resolving to suspend them as president and secretary general, respectively.
The two men continue to face unresolved questions surrounding allegations they reportedly received ‘dirty money’ from State House towards the 2021 general election.
Delegates also resolved to throw out Mr Ekanya and disbanded the internal elections body formerly led by Mr Boniface Toterebuka Bamwenda.
Mr Bamwenda has now been sued by FDC’s interim leadership who accuse him of purporting to convene a meeting at which illegal elections for new party leaders are planned on October 6.
Under FDC internal rules, only the national chairman has the authority to call such a delegates conference for the election of leaders.
Mr Bamwenda is also accused of conducting fraudulent grassroots structures’ elections in August and also without the necessary approval of the party’s National Executive Committee (NEC).
Also at yesterday’s media briefing, FDC spokesman, Mr Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda, criticised the police for looking on as thugs allegedly hired by the Mafabi-Amuriat wing assaulted FDC members and seized party property in the chaos which has engulfed recent FDC meetings on July 28 and September 19.
In response to yesterday’s pronouncements, Mr Amuriat said: “That is wishful thinking on the part of our friends, Lukwago and company because the people who are registered with EC are clear. The banks also know the substantive person they have been working with, so they will not respond to hearsay”.
Mr Amuriat said Mr Lukwago and like-minded colleagues “are going deeper and deeper into illegalities”.
Lukwago hosts NEC
Mr Lukwago is expected to preside over his first FDC National Executive Committee meeting this Thursday. The meeting’s agenda includes discussions on a fresh roadmap for the election of new party leaders. The interim head of the party’s elections body, Mr Michael Kabaziguruka, said a roadmap for proper elections of party leaders, right from the grassroots to the national level, is ready pending consideration at the upcoming NEC meeting.
Similarly, the same meeting will be asked to endorse planned nationwide mobilsation rallies against what Mr Lukwago described as “bad leadership”.
Rounding off what was a dramatic media briefing, Mr Birigwa announced that the party’s operational offices would be moving to Katonga Road, where founding party president and Opposition stalwart, Dr Kizza Besigye, maintains a private office. He also distanced himself from events unfolding at Najjanankumbi and the upcoming meeting called by Mr Bamwenda for October 6.