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ANALYSIS: FDC WhatsApp fight intensifies

Muntu group wants Besigye to show results of 2016 elections

It is just a few months to elections for party president and the war between supporters of different rivals for leadership in the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) has intensified.

“I feel horrible about the goings on in my party FDC,” said former Leader of Opposition Wafula Oguttu in the whatsapp group of former Presidential candidate Kizza Besigye diehards, [email protected] heart.

Wafula continued: “Some FDC members are busy plotting for the downfall of others. When you join an enemy to fight a family member, you are simply a disgrace and deserve no respect from any right thinking member of the society.”

But not all are as concerned as Oguttu. Others say it is better to fight until one group leaves the party for the other.

In a response to Oguttu’s concern, former Kumi legislator Patrick Oboi Amuriat, another prospective contender for the Party’s top job revealed that they (Besigye’s camp) will uproot the other group (current party President Mugisha Muntu’s camp) from the party.

“Some people are fighting tooth and nail to diminish the influence of our beloved president (KB) but they won’t succeed because that power is got from the people… what we must do is to reduce their influence on the party. There are two ways to do this; uproot them from the leadership of the party now that we know them and secondly, turn our countrywide popular support against them. Let them stop fighting KB coz they will certainly loose,” Amuriat posted.

In the bickering which is spewed out daily on WhatsApp, the target recently has been the party’s three times presidential candidate, Kizza Besigye. Some members have challenged him to reveal the party’s performance in the 2016 election instead of always claiming he won the election but providing no evidence.

Besigye’s supporters insist that the party collected 22,000 Declaration of Results (DR) forms from the 2016 presidential elections and from those forms they determined that their candidate had won the elections with 52% of the vote.

But members of the Muntu camp accuse Besigye’s supporters of being delusional and ask them why they do not bring evidence to prove that victory.

“Our candidate lost and the party is shy to bring out the DR forms that we collected even for an internal evaluation,” says Wilberforce Sseryazi, a Muntu supporter who is a member of the party’s administrative organ, the National Executive Committee (NEC).

The WhatsApp fight that has been running non-stop intensified after Besigye’s camp accused Muntu of failing to enforce the party’s 2016 victory. They said Besigye won the 2016 elections but Muntu failed to “take them to State House” by appointing the Leader of Opposition in parliament, which they say, was a sign of cooperating with the NRM government of President Yoweri Museveni.

Besigye’s supporters say, by that single act, Muntu condemned the party to staying in opposition even when they had won the elections. The defiance camp wanted the opposition, especially FDC MPs not to take up the position of Leader of Opposition (LOP) in parliament. Instead, they preferred to be called the Minority in Parliament.

“The truth is, we worked hard and we won but the top leadership of the party failed to take us to State House. They want to remain in opposition. They don’t want to lose the small benefits that come with being in the opposition.” Said Moses Byamugisha, a member of the Besigye camp who has said he will also stand against Muntu in the upcoming elections of party president.

But Muntu’s supporters shoot back by asking why Besigye, who has ever participated in the elections when he is also the party’s president, did not defend his victory on those two occasions in 2006 and 2011.

“There was a time when KB was both party President and Presidential flag bearer of the party, when did he ever hesitate to name LOP? When did he and his bureau announce their results? When did he take us to State House?” asked another Muntu supporter Goldino Nyabugabwa.

Besigye’s supporter, only identified as Walid appears to have worsened matters when he attempted to explain.

Walid wrote: “The FDC campaign Bureau received over 22000 DR forms out of the 28000 polling stations.  (But) on most occasions, the results we obtained didn’t match those declared by Kigundu. I do admit that as a party we had both internal and external weaknesses of retrieving 100% DR forms. We faced a lot of bottlenecks and in some places the NRM rigging machinery didn’t make it possible for us to get the DR forms.”

In response, Seryazi told him that the bottlenecks are not anything new and Besigye had assured voters in 2016 that he would make sure their vote counts this time.

“My question is,” probes Seryazi, “why hasn’t the party since 28th Feb brought those DR forms to management or any party organ for evaluation? All we hear are blanket statements in the press from some leaders that we collected DR forms which show that we won. Ok; where did we win? Where did we lose and by what percentages? Or where were we rigged and by what means? That is how serious organisations work.”

Seryazi adds: “Those bottlenecks and the NRM rigging machinery that Walid is yapping about, we went into the elections well aware of their existence. Didn’t we know we would face these bottlenecks? Aren’t they the same bottlenecks over which KB threatened never to participate in elections again? Don’t you see that the strategy of glorifying KB instead of building robust party infrastructures will never take away those bottlenecks?

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