Nabwiso dismayed over FDC washing dirty linen in public

Dr Frank Nabwiso. PHOTO/FILE

What you need to know:

  • Over nearly two hours, Dr Besigye on Monday laid bare his side of the ‘dirty money’ story.

A top leader of the Forum for Democratic Change’s (FDC) Special Elder’s Committee (SEC) has asked his founding president to stop exposing the party’s secrets in public hours after Col (rtd) Dr Kizza Besigye launched a scathing attack on the current leadership.

Dr Frank Nabwiso’s appeal came a day after Dr Besigye on Monday morning delivered an emotional address at a media briefing in which he heavily criticised what he suggested was SEC’s shabby handling of investigations into politically inspired corruption inside FDC. 

The SEC was chaired by Dr Nabwiso, and he told Monitor yesterday that the retired colonel, a veteran of the Bush War which brought President Museveni to power in 1986, ought to respect himself as FDC’s first leader, who is taken as the father in a family. 

Dr Besigye went from being Mr Museveni’s Bush War doctor to leading ruling party ideologue and government minister before spectacularly denouncing his former leader between 1999-2000 as a non-democrat with dictatorial tendencies. 

He has been in political Opposition since then (four-time presidential candidate in 2001, 2006, 2011 and 2016), getting repeatedly arrested, harassed, tortured and jailed by the regime.

It is probably against that background that Dr Nabwiso found the Monday revelations unsettling.

“If you are the head of the clan and there is a problem in your clan, do you go out and tell the public about it? If your wife is dirty, can you tell people about it? Besigye is destroying his own legacy. If you have built a legacy, don’t destroy it,” he said.

The former one-term MP for Kagoma County in Busoga sub-region said Dr Besigye’s media appearance was dividing the party further as it struggles through the latest outbreak of internal strife.

Over nearly two hours, Dr Besigye on Monday laid bare his side of the ‘dirty money’ story believed to have been shipped into FDC by party secretary general Nathan Nandala Mafabi ahead of the 2021 General Election. 

Dismissing SEC’s report as not being worth the paper it was written on, he also lambasted Dr Nabwiso’s committee for not making the slightest attempt to establish the facts. 

“I consider that the SEC report didn’t help at all in disposing of the highly contentious issue of “dirty money, ’’ Dr Besigye said at the briefing where he, at one point, openly shed tears.

Dr Besigye spoke with conviction and deep feeling about the many people who have sacrificed their lives; shed their blood, for the cause of liberating Uganda through FDC, “only to be betrayed by Mr Mafabi and party president Patrick Oboi Amuriat.” 

He used the media briefing to issue a rallying call to party faithful to prepare to fight “to recover FDC from the capture facilitated by Mr Mafabi”, who he accused of staging a coup in FDC. 

But in his committee’s defence, Dr Nabwiso yesterday said they did not proceed as expected to verify the source of “dirty money’’ because Dr Besigye declined to reveal who tipped him off.

“It is common sense when somebody makes an allegation, it is that person to show evidence; who gave him that information. It was a sensitive matter, so he could not give the name of that person. We couldn’t go to State House because it is big. Where would we have started from?’’ he said.

Dr Nabwiso said they could not go to Bank of Uganda because they had statements from a Kyambogo bank where Mr Mafabi said he borrowed the money.

Dr Nabwiso said it was confirmed that Shs500m was borrowed by the party secretary general, and that Shs300m of it became contentious over Dr Besigye’s association since he was not in the party’s mainstream leadership.

He said the committee did not interest itself in the Shs280m Mr Amuriat received since to SEC, the money was used for campaigning.

“We did not investigate Shs280m. It was part of the presidential campaign money,’’ he said.

Dr Nabwiso said he is puzzled by the words “dirty money” as being used by Dr Besigye because Mr Mafabi was authorised to borrow the money by the party.  

On Monday, Dr Besigye denounced Mr Mafabi for reportedly lying to him about the Shs300m. He said Mr Mafabi asked him to help keep “his money” for fear of risking its seizure by Uganda Revenue Authority -- with whom he was embroiled in a tax dispute – if he banked it on his own accounts. 

At the time, in September 2020, no mention was made of the money having been borrowed by FDC for election purposes, Dr Besigye said. He added that there was also no mention of the source of the money.

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