With less than 24 hours for John Patrick Amama Mbabazi to be nominated as a presidential candidate, the loose opposition coalition, The Democratic Alliance has failed to zero-in on a joint presidential candidate to take on incumbent president Yoweri Museveni in next year’s elections.
Writing on his Facebook wall earlier today, official TDA spokesperson Wafula Oguttu said Mbabazi and Col Dr Kizza Besigye of the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) would both contest in the elections as individuals.
‘Because of the time element, given that the Presidential nominations are due on 3 and 4 November, we agreed to move on and have the two candidates nominated while we continue the contacts and exploring the possibilities of future cooperation most especially on vote protection and resisting partisan and unconstitutional police actions during the ongoing electoral process,’ Mr Oguttu wrote.
For about four months now both Mbabazi and Dr Besigye have been engaged in a series of meetings aimed at choosing who among them would become the TDA official candidate.
And, over the past two weeks both teams held a series of meetings in the United Kingdom under the auspices of the Kofi Annan Foundation, attended by among others Kofi Anna himself and the former International Criminal Court (ICC) Chief Prosecutor Louis Moreno Ocampo.
Meanwhile, the talks held over two days in Uganda as a follow-up to the earlier talks in the UK were co-chaired by seasoned lawyers Medard Lubega Ssegona and Augustine Ruzindana, while the two teams were led by Ambassador Olara Otunnu and FDC president Maj Gen John Gregory Mugisha Muntu, for Mr Mbabazi and Dr Besigye, respectively.
‘When the negotiations hit a stalemate, FDC proposed alternative B as the fallback position; of both candidates testing the ground after nomination and then (the) two sides meeting again to review the situation. The Go Forward team said they would go back and consult on the proposal,’ Oguttu added.
According to the FDC Dr Besigye is a ‘better candidate’ who has withered the political storm in Uganda for the last 15 years and therefore should be given chance to lead the joint opposition.
‘Pushing for our candidate as the better option, FDC president Maj Gen Muntu argued that Besigye, who had been elected by the Party Delegates Conference, had for 15 years demonstrated his consistence in the struggle for democracy, had a more popular appeal, has millions of voters and supporters behind him despite being rigged out of victory, has strong party structures behind him and was unlikely to suffer any more surprising-state-trumped-up charges,’ Oguttu, who is also the Leader of Opposition in Parliament, adds.