A row is brewing in the Forum for Democratic Change pitting factions loyal to founding President Kizza Besigye and his successor Gen Mugisha Muntu over what strategy the party should adopt in the run-up to next year’s election and who should fly the party’s presidential banner in the race.
A long simmering hushed tug of war between the two FDC principals was brought to the public fore following last month’s launch of a flagship programme dubbed “Uganda’s Leap Forward”-when Dr Besigye kicked up a storm claiming that party officials sidelined him in drafting the policy document.
At the glitzy launch at Hotel Africana in Kampala, Dr Besigye was not given a chance to speak-leaving his frenzied supporters venting on social media. Sources involved in organizing the event intimated that the Dr Besigye was excluded because party officials were wary he could pour scorn on the policy document.
Following the event, Dr Besigye raised the matter with General Muntu.
But the General was adamant that Dr Besigye had attended a meeting at the Bugolobi based Royal Suites that drafted the document-missing the second meeting at Eureka Hotel in Ntinda, despite being invited.
“You raised with me the concern that you were not aware that there was a process for review to which I reminded you of your participation in the Bugolobi meeting which was one of the two review meetings that were held. You indicated to me that you did not recall,”General Muntu wrote to Besigye.
The General attached an attendance list to prove that Dr Besigye had attended the Royal Suites meeting-explaining that Dr Besigye neither attended nor responded to an invitation for the second meeting.
“About the content, we will have the opportunity to be more comprehensive when we prepare the Manifesto,”Gen Muntu wrote to Besigye.
Dr Besigye was also invited to a public launch at Nakivubo stadium and Iganga district –but he snubbed both events.
The disquiet over the drafting of the Leap Forward come on the heels of growing suspicion within the party that Dr Besigye is quietly mobilizing Opposition politicians to either him as a Coalition candidate or, in the worst case scenario, an Independent candidate.
Meetings have been held at Dr Besigye’s Katonga Road based office. The Opposition figure has reached out to youth groups allied to the Opposition-like the National Association of The Unemployed Youth.
A subsequent meeting organized in Mityana to drum up support for Dr Besigye’s 2016 candidature turned rowdy when one delegate questioned whether the meeting had the blessing of FDC secretariat at Najjanakumbi.
Rattled by the clandestine mobilization, Gen Muntu and the FDC Youth league on March 25 convened a meeting to give Dr Besigye chance to clear over allegations he was using youth groups to build a presidential bid.
He was also supposed to shed light on his insistence on street mobilization. But Dr Besigye was unrepentant, insisting that party officials are yet to get to grips with how they can use street mobilization to buttress covert maneuvers-that General Muntu insists on.
“Where most of the confusion lies in this subject of conflict or no conflict because some people do not understand some of the actions or maybe they are not comfortable with some of the actions. Action is a whole range of things that you can do—right from taking up guns,”Dr Besigye told the meeting of the Youth groups.