Whatsapp war as Nandala quits Besigye camp against Muntu
A feud in FDC which has been raging on the various Whatsapp groups of the party members shows the party could be headed for major fallout.
In one of the most revealing exchanges, former party Secretary General Alice Alaso who is in the camp that supports party President Mugisha Muntu told the members that now that it was clear that their camp is stronger, they should tell Muntu to leave them alone and they force the defiance camp members of party strongman Kizza Besigye out of FDC.
“We should decide from this moment not to defend defiance for the sake,” Alaso said in one of the Whatsapp chats, “We cannot accept to be used by a strategy that is killing our party…I learnt a serious lesson from NEC yesterday, if we fight these guys, they will flee. We have the numbers in NEC we shall apply pressure on MM (MugishaMuntu) to leave us alone and those guys will flee like they fled yesterday.”
Alaso is a member of the so-called Project 525 group, which is for Muntu supporters. There is also FDC at heart, which is for the defiance camp of Besigye supporters and the FDC Leap Forward whatsapp platform which has members from both camps.
Alaso was referring to events of March 01 in the FDC National Executive Committee (NEC) where Muntu stamped his authority on the party during appointment of party deputy secretaries.
According to sources, Muntu had postponed the issue since September last year when the substantive secretaries were elected.
The issue was first on the agenda of the NEC meeting of march 01. When it caused a lot of disagreements, a decision was taken to have the positions filled by voting and not by appointment as has been the norm. Muntu’s camp took more than 80% of the positions and this infuriated his opponents.
Party Mobiliser Ingrid Turinawe who is firmly in the Besigye camp wrote on r # FDC @ heart: “We tried so hard to have Hon Mwijukye as mobiliser Western, Hon Munyagwa as mobiliser Buganda, Hon Amuriat as Mobiliser Eastern. All of them were rejected! Hon Ariko is already a member of NEC by being in Parliament. He now occupies two positions of NEC. Senior influential members from the Eastern region like Hon Amuriat, Hon Wafula, Hon Kevina etc will remain redundant as Ariko serves two positions of NEC.”
“Even Mr. Bihande has been added as deputy mobiliser Western! All efforts to have Hon Mwijukye as deputy mobiliser Western fell on deaf ears. Even my protest by walking out of the meeting did not help. I pleaded. Kasese already has 7 members of NEC, Hon Mwijukye is the only MP from Ankole, he is popular and a good mobiliser. But party President ruled me out of order. He said he understands matters of Ankole more than me. So he appointed Bihande. But it became clear to all of us that he is interested in dividing our party by appointing only his campaign managers and not minding about senior members of the party who have influence over the public. That is how bad it has become.”
Some members of the Muntu faction are calling for disciplinary action against Ingrid Turinawe for promoting confusion in the party. Yokasi Bihande, the new deputy mobilization Western Uganda, is the husband of the current LOP Winnie Kiiza. Muntu’s opponents said it is unfair to appoint both husband and wife to NEC.
From the exchanges, it is clear that Muntu’s Project 525s are determined to push Besigye’s group out of FDC. It is also clear, however, that Besigye’s FDC at Heart members are also determined to push the Muntu group out.
While these tensions have haunted FDC for years, they appear to have got out of hand again as the party recently struggled to get a slot in the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA).
The party had managed to hold a seemingly peaceful election to select representatives but trouble started emerging when Ingrid Turinawe, the party’s outspoken mobiliser and ardent supporter of Kizza Besigye, the party’s perennial presidential flag bearer, came second to Florence Ibi Ekwau who supports the current party President Gen. Mugisha Muntu.
The Besigye group, which is referred to as the “Defiance camp” owing to their defiance campaign against the government, felt that Turinawe was best suited for the slot and once she lost, forced the party to forward two names to parliament.
When Muntu attempted to recall her name in an attempt to improve the party’s chances after reaching a deal with other party leaders, which wanted FDC to field one candidate, he was publicly challenged by both Turinawe and the party Secretary General, Nathan Nandala Mafabi.
Yet while public debate has focused on how these internal fights cost the party an opportunity to get a slot in the EALA for the second term, insiders say the situation is much worse with different camps within the party threatening to push out the other or secede from it and form another.
To get to the bottom of what is going on The Independent has spoken to supporters from the different camps, and accessed party meetings’ minutes and WhatsApp exchanges between party leaders and supporters. All three camps are engaged in vitriolic attacks and threats to push out the opposing camp.