LIST: Crisis-hit FDC nominates 77 ahead of controversial party election

FDC presidential nominees Patrick Amuriat and Moses Byamugisha, alongside secretary general candidate Nathan James Nandala Mafabi, address a press conference at the party headquarters after they were nominated on September 21, 2023. PHOTO/ABUBAKER LUBOWA

What you need to know:

  • The 77 nominees confirmed by FDC include embattled FDC president Patrick Amuriat and secretary general of the divided party, Nathan Nandala Mafabi. 

On Thursday afternoon, Mr Patrick Oboi Amuriat declared that his side of the strife-torn Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) remains in charge at the party headquarters in Najjanankumbi outside Kampala capital city.

He was speaking moments after being nominated to run for re-election as president in contentious elections set for October 6.

Until recently, considered to be something of a mild-mannered politician, Mr Amuriat was taking no prisoners as he used the opportunity to deride his rivals at Katonga Road, central Kampala where an interim party leadership was chosen on Tuesday. 

“We still have one command centre in Najjanankumbi, not Katonga because they do not recognise us... They have made several attempts to remove Najjanankumbi, but they have failed… We are still in charge,” Mr Amuriat said, recalling his 2017 election.

His comments drew a sharp response from Katonga Road leaders who told Monitor yesterday evening that Najjanankumbi is “in shock, bitter and desperate”.

Embattled FDC secretary general Nathan James Nandala Mafabi gestures as he appears before the party's electoral commission chief Boniface T Bamwenda during his nomination in Kampala on September 21, 2023. PHOTO/ABUBAKER LUBOWA

Acknowledging that FDC is now effectively running under parallel leaderships, to wit; FDC Katonga Road and FDC-Najjanankumbi, Mr Amuriat attempted to shift attention away from allegations he faces involving improper financial dealings with Uganda’s State House and party betrayal. 

The reason he is at odds with Katonga Road where FDC’s founding leader, Dr Kizza Besigye is believed to be pulling the strings, Mr Amuriat said, is because of his refusal to be a puppet.

“They thought I was going to follow their instructions and serve their interests while at Najjanankumbi. I stood firm and refused to be under their control. That is how my troubles with them started,” he said.

Mr Amuriat was nominated alongside Mr Nathan Nandala Mafabi, who together with Mr Geoffrey Ekanya, were on Tuesday all thrown out of office during a national delegates meeting on Tuesday. Mr Mafabi and Mr Ekanya were kicked out as secretary general and treasurer general, respectively.

He expressed regret over the entry of Kampala Lord Mayor, Mr Erias Lukwago, the deputy president for Bugadan region, and the National Chairman, Mr Wasswa Birigwa, into FDC. 

Mr Lukwago was on Tuesday chosen interim party president by the extraordinary national delegates conference, which sat at the Katonga Road premises of Dr Besigye’s private office. The meeting was convened by Mr Birigwa in exercise of his powers as national chairman.

Amid counter-accusations and claims of constitutional violations being traded between the rival leaderships, Mr Amuriat said Mr Lukwago has a history of disorganising political organisations. 

He did not provide evidence for this claim, although it is well known that Mr Lukwago joined FDC from the equally troubled Democratic Party (DP) in the heat of a similar leadership crisis. The DP president general, Mr Norbert Mao today sits in President Museveni’s Cabinet as minister of Justice.

“I apologise for the error in judgement in bringing Lukwago from Katonga to disrupt us. Wherever he goes, he disrupts the party and moves on to another one…,” Mr Amuriat said.

He added. “Birigwa was a mistake; we brought him from NRM, and he was made the national chairman because he was believed to be popular and had support, especially in the Buganda region. This was our biggest mistake.” 

Supporters of candidate for FDC presidency Patrick Amuriat gesture on September 21, 2023 in Kampala following his successful nomination to contest for the position in the party's forthcoming election. PHOTO/ABUBAKER LUBOWA

Mr Lukwago, who joined FDC three years ago, described Mr Amuriat’s comments as baseless.
“I understand why they are bitter and desperate. My only concern is that their desperation does not lead them to extreme actions. What they are saying is baseless,” he said.

Mr Birigwa, on the other hand, said Najjanankumbi was in shock after what happened on Tuesday.
“I apologise for the shock we surprised him with, and I know he is hurt. I wish him well in recovering from the shock. I do not want to disturb people who are mourning,” he said.

Others nominated
Party veteran, Mr Jack Sabiiti, like Mr Mafabi (secretary general), was nominated unopposed for the national chairman position.  The nomination deadline was yesterday.

It is not clear what to make of the October 6 meeting where elections arranged by FDC-Najjanankumbi are due. Under the Opposition party’s constitution, only a national delegates conference convened by the national chairman can elect members of the party’s National Executive Committee. 

Embattled FDC party leader Patrick Amuriat displays his nomination forms, flanked by supporters of his presidential bid in Kampala on September 21, 2023. PHOTO/ABUBAKER LUBOWA

Mr Birigwa is the present national chairman and has made clear he has absolutely nothing to do with this meeting.

Also, nobody turned up to vie for the positions of deputy president (western) and vice chairpersons (western and northern). Knowledgeable sources say that the October 6 meeting has locked out that side of the party which is generally believed to have thrown its weight behind FDC-Katonga Road.

According to FDC insiders, over 100 people expressed interest in the party's next leadership. 

Nominees- top positions

•Patrick Amuriat
•Moses Byamugisha
Deputy Presidents
• Yusuf Nsibambi (Buganda)
• Margaret Okwuru (Eastern)
•Hassan Kaps Fungaroo (Northern)
National Chairman 
•Jack Sabiiti
Vice Chairpersons
•Mukalazi Kibuuka (Buganda)
• Jamal Wante (Eastern)
Secretary General
•Nathan Nandala Mafabi
Deputy Secretary General (Administration)
•Walid Mulindwa
• Gloria Panga
•James Otto
Deputy Secretary General (Research and Policy)
•John Mugabi
•James Kalijje 
Treasurer General 
•Geoffrey Ekanya
•Judith Akello Franca
Deputy Treasurer (Budget)
•Wilberforce Kyambadde 
Deputy Treasurer (Fundraising)
•Moses Attan
Organisation and Mobilisation 
•Joseph Ajuna
•Ibrahim Kasozi
Information and Publicity 
•John Kigonyogo
•Robert Centenary
•Edith Ouma
•Mbentyo Muhammad