Four-time former presidential candidate Dr. Kizza Besigye has called for the stay of internal elections in the opposition Forum for Democratic Change-FDC party.
Speaking to the press at his Katonga Road-based office on Wednesday, Besigye said if the party doesn’t first sort out its disagreements, it risks traveling the path that parties such as the Democratic Party and the Uganda People’s Congress have traveled.
Both DP and UPC have agreed to a working relationship with the ruling National Resistance Movement led by President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni.
Disagreements within the FDC came to the fore on Monday when a group of senior members convened what they called a consultative meeting in which they accused the party President Patrick Amuriat Oboi and Secretary General Nandala Mafabi of accepting money from Museveni that was used in the 2021 general elections.
Led by Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda the MP for Kira municipality, the party leaders also accused the two-party officials of wanting to push through an election when the party was still sharply divided over the issue of money, its source, and the expenditure.
Addressing the media, Besigye who has also been accused by the Amuriat’s camp of interfering in the running of the party, said there is a need to first have harmony before the party can hold internal elections. Besigye said it is also wrong for anyone to purport to be organizing an election when the committee that was constituted to look into the disagreements in the party has not yet produced its report.
The National Council meeting directed for the formation of an elder’s council committee headed by former Kagoma MP Dr. Frank Nabwiso to investigate the cause of the disagreements in the party.
On the issue of money, Besigye revealed that he got to know in 2020 that party leaders had got money from questionable sources. Besigye said he wanted to come out and expose the party leaders but he was held back after some colleagues appealed to him that his coming out would affect their electability.
Besigye said it was this money that influenced his decision to stay away from campaigning for the FDC flagbearer Patrick Amuriat Oboi. He said it couldn’t sit well with him to campaign using Museveni’s money.
Besigye also said that he started observing money being used in internal FDC elections and he wanted to raise it but received a pushback.
“I wanted to raise this issue in the election of 2010 but I was coerced by Hon Augustine Ruzindana who said that my coming out, will undermine our brand. I kept quiet but large sums of money continued to find their way in the party,” Besigye said.
He added that ever since he left the NRM in 1999, he has only met Museveni twice at Namugongo. He disputed claims that he has also received money from sources he hasn’t disclosed that he used to run his own four campaigns.
Besigye also laughed at those accusing him of trying to take FDC to NUP. He said if there is anybody who has received the wrath of the NUP and its supporters it has been him.
He however said he is willing to work with anybody who is willing to fight the NRM regime through means other than elections.
Besigye said since 2011, he has been convinced that change in Uganda will not happen through elections.