The Police’s Director of Operations, Assistant Inspector General of Police, John Nuwagira, has said police will not provide security for the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) delegates’ conference summoned by the party’s chairman Wasswa Birigwa on September 19.
Nuwagira has explained that the police received Birigwa’s letter seeking security protection for the summoned delegates’ conference on Monday this week. However, he adds that on Tuesday another letter was received from the party’s Secretary General Nandala Mafabi challenging the conference.
“This is also to inform you, that Uganda Police Force is equally in receipt of another communication from the Secretary-General, Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) Ref: FDC 1.84/1GP/03/09/2023, dated 12th Septembers 2023, denying any knowledge of such a meeting and complaining that, if it were to take place, it would be in direct contravention of the party constitution and an illegality,” AIGP Nuwagira’s letter reads in part.
But speaking at the Wakiso-Kampala Delegates meeting at Canopy Gardens in Nakawa on Wednesday, the FDC Spokesperson and Kira Municipality Member of Parliament Ibrahim Semujju Nganda said that the police should not worry about providing security. He maintained that the meeting shall go on as planned.
Although the POMA Act talks about notifications to the police, the police have often dissolved meetings, especially of the opposition politicians on grounds that they didn’t get clearance to hold the assembly, or that they were engaged in an illegal assembly. This is done, often, amidst resistance from conveners. Ssemujju says the meeting will happen in whatever manner, be it on the streets come September 19.
According to Article 28 of the FDC Constitution, the party’s National Chairman has the mandate to convene and chair the National Delegates Conference, and the National Council, oversee discipline and overall ethical standards in the party, ensure harmony within the party, and receive periodical reports from the presidency and government performance when the party is in power among other obligations.
Kampala Capital City Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago who is also the FDC Vice President in charge of Buganda, urged party members to stick to the constitution and attend the conference. He says while it has been made to look like the proponents of the conference are in contravention of the law, the fact is that they are the ones on the right path as per the party constitution.
FDC Founding President Dr. Kiiza Besigye took members on an awakening journey demonstrating to them the misdoings of the current government and why they should fight to liberate their party and the country at large.
He talked about the times of the National Resistance Army and the Constituent Assembly whose values and objectives have since been abandoned by the National Resistance Movement-NRM to facilitate the selfish desires of a few people at the helm of its leadership and at the cost of the country.
Besigye highlighted how the people have been impoverished and made to beg from the center, while numerous political offices were established with a high price tag for any candidates seeking to take up any of the positions.
Other party members such the Deputy Secretary General Harold Kaija, the Chairman FDC Nakawa Robert Asiimwe, his Secretary Kennedy Okello, and his Vice, also City Executive Secretary Olive Namazzi maintain that the meeting shall take place.
FDC is currently embroiled in conflicts resulting from allegations that money from an unknown source was used in the 2021 general elections. However, the party’s elder’s forum dismissed the allegations after an independent investigation but this has not erased the accusations.
Birigwa insists that the party’s constitution gives him powers to call the delegates conference and his position has been supported by the founding president Dr Kizza Besigye. A group of FDC members allegedly from 13 districts on Tuesday gave Birigwa 48 hours to cancel the delegate’s meeting or else he would face consequences.
Because of the visible fights, Nuwagira has warned that Birigwa’s conferences will cause confusion and chaos among the population. Thus, the police have resolved that they will not be ready to provide the required security for the event until the party position is harmonized.
“In view of the above, therefore, you are advised to reconcile the party position or seek resolution from the courts of the law to avoid likely open conflict and possible clashes,” Nuwagira said.
Birigwa had earlier declared that the delegates’ conference would be hosted at a beach in Busabala, Makindye Ssabagabo, in Wakiso District. Nandala and FDC party’s President Patrick Oboi Amuriat, declined to approve Birigwa’s budget for the delegates’ conference.
He, however, resorted to asking the public to donate money in order to ensure the delegates’ conference takes place without fail.