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Besigye’s refusal to stand, Muntu’s departure injured FDC 2021 polls: Amuriat

Amuriat during election campaigns. File Photo

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The FDC party president Patrick Amuriat Oboi has given an account of events that led to his loss in the 2021 presidential elections, citing the refusal of Rtd. Col. Dr. Kiiza Besigye to contest, the departure of Rtd. Maj. Gen. Mugisha Muntu, and harassment by the security operatives during election campaigns.

According to declared results by Electoral Commission chairperson Justice Simon Byabakama, NRM’s Yoweri Museveni won the January 14th election with 5,851,037 votes (58.64 percent). Museveni’s closest competitor, National Unity Platform-NUP’s Robert Kyagulanyi garnered 3,475,298 votes (34.83 percent), followed by Forum for Democratic Change-FDC’s Patrick Oboi Amuriat with 323,536 votes (3.24 percent).

While addressing FDC party leaders from Kigezi sub region in Kabale district, Amuriat said that Besigye who had reportedly been dragged into holding the party flag for the fourth time in the 2016 presidential elections, refused to contest again in 2021, arguing that it was impossible to win an election whose outcome would be decided by Museveni.

Amuriat revealed that he was the only remaining option for the FDC following a long period of negotiations with Besigye who continuously turned down the party’s pleas to contest.

Amuriat also said that the departure of Rt. Maj. Gen. Mugisha Muntu was another challenge to FDC’s preparation for the 2021 elections. Muntu left the FDC in 2018 following his loss of party presidency in a hotly contested election that was won by Amuriat who was openly supported by Besigye.

The subsequent fall out with the entire leadership resulted into formation of the Alliance for National Transformation Party and Muntu went ahead to become ANT’s presidential flag bearer in the 2021 elections whose results put him in the fourth position as announced by the Electoral Commission.

Amuriat explained that he tried all his best to dissuade Muntu against quitting the FDC, but he could not succeed because Muntu had already made the decision to leave.

“Gen. Muntu left with many leaders which had a notable effect on the party’s preparation for the 2021 elections, I really tried to convince him into staying,”Amuriat said.

During the 2021 election campaigns, Amuriat said that he was harassed by the security operatives who were working on orders of the state from nomination day to the polling day.

Amuriat walked barefoot throughout his election campaigns in protest against the harassment by police who had blocked his way to the nomination venue in November 2020. On that day, a fight erupted and Amuriat ended up losing his shoes before he walked with only socks on his feet to the nomination centre in Kyambogo. Since then, he was seen walking barefooted throughout the campaign period.

Amuriat also narrated how police and the UPDF stopped him from accessing his planned campaign venues including Chanika in Kisoro district, the teargas and live bullets that were fired as he campaigned in Rukungiri, Rubanda and Kabale districts.

“When we reached Rukungiri, the police and the army were all over the place,” Amuriat said. “In Kisoro, we were denied access to Chanika, but we forced our way into Rubanda district. When we reached Kabale, the deployment was very heavy and we were teargassed as usual.”

However, Amuriat said he was satisfied with the votes he garnered after all the challenges he faced on the road to the 2021 presidential elections.

“I want to thank all Ugandans who braved the intimidation, the teargas and live bullets to stay with us until the election day. You were a big encouragement to us and I am very proud of you,” he said.

The FDC party leadership is traversing the country to audit and asses their performance in the 2021 elections, as well as preparing for 2026.

In Western Uganda, Amuriat is accompanied by FDC’s Secretary General Nathan Nandala Mafabi, National Secretary for Mobilization and organization Hassan Kaps Fungaro, and former Rukiga County MP, Jack Sabiti among others.

In Kabale they were received by a team of local leaders of the party led by Kabale Municipality MP Dr. Nicholas Kamara.

Fungaro revealed that after Kabale, they would proceed to Rukungiri and then Bushenyi, before they finalize the Western region tour with a meeting in Mbarara City.

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