What Amuriat, Nandala nomination means for FDC

Incumbent FDC president Patrick Amuriat flashes the party sign on September 21, 2023 in Kampala after he was nominated to run again. PHOTO/ABUBAKER LUBOWA

What you need to know:

  • In a political party whose adherents are rooted in the ideologue of defiance, Amuriat and Nandala have vowed to resist pressure from Katonga. 
  • But amidst looming legal battles, the Katonga faction has hinted on plans to overrun Amuriat’s leadership in attempts to re-capture plot 1164 along Entebbe Road.

The electoral commission of the crisis-wracked opposition Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) has duly nominated the party’s embattled leaders for a likely re-election ahead of a controversial high-level poll.

On Wednesday, FDC’s Electoral Commission (EC) chief Boniface Toterebuka Bamwenda cleared secretary general Nathan Nandala Mafabi’s sole candidature in addition to allowing incumbent president Patrick Amuriat to run again for a 5-year term through the October 6 National Executive Committee (NEC) vote.

By press time Thursday afternoon, EC had only approved founding president Dr Kizza Besigye’s one-time ally Moses Byamugisha to yet again challenge Amuriat’s bid.

“I’m back [in the race]. People have been asking whether I belong to the Katonga or Najjanankumbi faction but there’s only one FDC,” said Byamugisha who contested against Amuriat in 2017.

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

Since 2017, dozens of top FDC leaders have quit or embraced rival internal factions with each accusing the other of plotting an internal coup, following a series of scathing counter-allegations.

Besides, at least 20 of nearly 40 districts that comprise FDC’s Western Uganda NEC electorate have been locked out of the on-going electoral processes limited to a two-week campaign period.

“Don’t think they are running away from FDC. There’s simply a failure in management to explain the contradictions that we’re having,” Byamugisha noted in his post-nomination remarks at Najjanankumbi.

On his part, Amuriat is promising FDC a “brighter future”, but in the face of a lively ouster declared on September 19, against his leadership and its immediate allies, by the Katonga faction through its parallel national delegates conference.

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

In a political party whose adherents are rooted in the ideologue of defiance, Amuriat and Nandala Thursday afternoon vowed their resolute to resist pressure from Katonga.

“Their latest attempt to get into the FDC leadership through the ventilator through the delegates conference hastily organized by party chairman (Wasswa Birigwa) has failed,” Amuriat said.

“We are here. We are in charge. Those leaders who assigned themselves duties are leaders of Katonga, Kizza Besigye and Birigwa. They have no bearing at all on the leadership of Najjanankumbi,” Amuriat told a handful gathering on Thursday.

Still on Thursday, veteran politician Jack Sabiiti had been nominated for the post of FDC's national chairman, four days after incumbent Birigwa denied picking forms to renew his term as the head of the party's supreme organ- under the Najjanankumbi establishment.

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

Amidst looming legal battles, the Katonga unit has warned that chances for dialogue are waning, further hinting that plans to overrun Amuriat’s leadership are imminent in attempts to re-capture plot 1164 along Entebbe Road.

“We will get to Najjanankumbi and ask the impostors to go away. Sooner than later, we’re going to liberate FDC, and then proceed to liberate Uganda,” Katonga faction’s interim Treasurer General Francis Mwijukye told NTV Uganda on Wednesday.  

Over 120 people expressed interest in various positions but only 77 turned out successful in what might appear like a ‘new generation' FDC leadership if the October vote holds.

“Going forward, let these young aspirants compete so that they lose or win fairly,” Byamugisha urged in a Thursday press briefing.  

Most of Thursday’s nominees spoke heavily on the need to unite deeply divided party members who are continuously citing the FDC constitution whilst announcing contentious decisions.   

Meanwhile, the other notable nomination on Thursday was of former Makindye lawmaker Ibrahim Kasozi Biribawa who seeks to become the party’s secretary for Organization and Mobilization.

Former Makindye MP Ibrahim Kasozi Biribawa shakes hands with FDC electoral commission chief Boniface T Bamwenda during his nomination to stand for secretary for organisation and mobilisation in Kampala on September 21, 2023. PHOTO/ABUBAKER LUBOWA

Re-election, if not challenged in court, would imply the last term for Amuriat and Nandala, per the FDC law. 

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