The recently formed opposition leaning alliance of political and pressure groups is on the brink of collapse for fronting a member of the ruling NRM party as one of the candidates to represent it in the fourth coming 2016 Presidential elections.
The Democratic Alliance intends to support former Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi to run for presidency against the traditional opposition top contender Dr Kizza Besigye.
Because Mr Mbabazi has maintained that he is still a member of the NRM but running as an independent because of disagreement with his party election regulations, many in the mainstream opposition feel that they will take to the grassroots to canvas support for an NRM candidate against President Yoweri Museveni, making it an all NRM affair.
It is against this back ground that Rukiga County legislature Jack Sabiiti, who is also close ally and supporter of Dr Besigye, has petitioned FDC seeking a review of the party’s membership to TDA to essentially prevent an Mbabazi elevation.
The FDC leadership at Najanankumbi has also reacted called for an emergency NEC meeting, scheduled for tomorrow, Tuesday Sept 15, to discuss whether they should review their membership with TDA and the way forward.
If FDC moves to rethink its TDA membership, efforts by a TDA group being led by retired Assistant Bishop of Kampala, Dr. Zac Niringiye the Director of Operations at TDA, to front Mbabazi as the groups’ flag bearer would need to be revised as FDC would walk out with a big chunk of grassroots support.
Dr. Niringiye couldn’t be reached for a comment as his known mobile phone was off by the time of filing this story.
Another bone of contention is the seemingly high level of favoritism that the TDA gave Mr Mbabazi when they allowed him to submit the nomination forms way passed the official time.
All TDA aspirants for the flag-bearer should have handed in their nomination documents by Thursday at 4:00pm.
However, Mbabazi did not submit until Friday midnight.
Social media critic Tom Voltaire Okwalinga posted last night castigating the logic of Niringiye of reasoning that Dr. Besigye weighed last and that his past could as well curtail him against Mr Museveni of the NRM.
“If the TDA’s Zack Niringiye thinks that the alliance should front a flagbearer who is the best at fundraising and bringing in money, then he can as well nominate Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, who can in minutes “fundraise” billions from our treasury””
When reporters questioned TDA’s commitment to implementing its own rules, FDC chairman, Wasswa Biriggwa attempted to sugar-coat the matter only to be silenced by Besigye.
The bending of rules to favour Mbabazi angered Besigye and other political leaders who suggested that the alliance was exhibiting double standards.
“Mbabazi’s delay to return forms is a total disrespect to TDA,” said Besigye while addressing a press conference at the party headquarters in Najjanankumbi on Friday.
“I expressed my concern yesterday. You all well know that the first time Mbabazi appeared at TDA was actually also my first time. He was present in the meeting when the TDA timeline was clearly stated. He knew when the closing date would be but he did take action until the last hour,” added Besigye.
A top FDC official questioned how TDA can claim to fight for electoral reforms to secure free and fair elections in 2016 when it cannot respect its own rules.
TDA came under criticism whether it has the moral authority to claim to fight for electoral reforms to speak against electoral malpractices when itself is engaged in manipulating its own rules to favor some candidates in the alliance’s internal election.
“Imagine FDC, which has been opposing government policies for all this long, going to the villages to tell voters that it is now supporting an NRM member (Mbabazi) for presidency. People will think we are going crazy,” he added.
Niringiye favoring Mbabazi?
Officials, who spoke to us on condition of anonymity so as to speak freely, said Niringiye wants Mbabazi “because they expect him to bring a lot of money in the campaigns.”
They also contend that Besigye’s strength cannot be compared with Mbabazi’s crowds at only three rallies.
TDA spokesperson, Wafula Oguttu, emphasized that the position of TDA is the position of everybody. “I have read a lot on social media but Iam not in position to comment on that currently until I consult,”
Sources further said Mbabazi cannot be trusted to lead the opposition coalition since many hope for a change of heart to reconcile with President Museveni.