Nandala leaves Besigye
Previously, the party has been divided into two camps—supporters of the party president Gen. Mugisha Muntu and supporters of its former flag bearer Col. Kizza Besigye. But insiders say, another faction has emerged and is paying allegiance to the party Secretary General, Nathan Nandala Mafabi.
Nandala, who used to be very close to Besigye started withdrawing after 2012 when Besigye did not support him or at least openly endorse him in a party presidential contest against Muntu.
Insiders say Nandala, who thought Besigye was nurturing him as a successor is now convinced that the latter wants to stay and continue contesting for Presidency yet he also harbors presidential ambitions and wants to be on the ballot paper in 2021.
The defiance camp has been looking for a candidate to stand for Party President against Muntu and seems to have zeroed down on Kumi legislator, Patrick Amuriat. It is not yet clear whether Nandala will stand. But Muntu supporters are hoping that Nandala stands so that the defiance vote is divided.
“We want to win the Presidency and push them out of our party,” a Muntu supporter told The Independent, “If we don’t win the Presidency we will leave them in their party and form our own.”
The Muntu camp is incensed because they believe that Nandala wanted the party to fail to send a representative to EALA to further discredit Muntu.
Muntu supporters believe he was tricked into fielding two candidates. Realising the error, apparently, he attempted to correct it by sending one member, Ibi, the real winner of the primaries and withdrawing Turinawe. Apparently, both Nandala and Ingrid were in a party meeting that agreed with that position (Turinawe has since denied knowledge of that meeting or that position in the media). But The Independent has seen the minutes of that meeting that agreed on that position.
“We (Muntu supporters) won’t sit and watch the defiance camp destroy our chances of capturing power,” a Muntu supporter vowed, “The defiance camp has no strategy to add on the 2.5 million votes we already have as the opposition. We believe that we can consolidate and add on those votes by winning over the fence sitters and some NRM members.”
The group plans to reach out to the civil servants and the middle class who desire continuity and who think that continuity is threatened by the extremism of Besigye’s group.
“We will either force the defiance group out of the party or form our own party,” the Muntu supporter said, “September will be the turning point for us but I highly doubt that FDC will stay together.”
But the feud is not raging on Whatapp only. Members of the various camps are speaking out openly. A member of Besigye’s defiance camp, Nicholas Atuhairwe says they want Muntu’s supporters – also called the “organisationists” out because they are “destroying the party”.
“They want to keep us in opposition forever,” he told The Independent, “They keep singing organisation in theory when they are not doing any practical work to achieve that organisation. Muntu has been singing organisation since he took over the Presidency in 2012 but up to now, you go on the ground and there is nothing to show for it.”
He says Muntu cannot cause the Museveni regime to fall.
“He is very weak and we who believe in defiance to achieve our goal must first deliver our party from a weak party president,” he told The Independent, “We’re already looking for a candidate who will take on Muntu and defeat him. We will sit as a group and choose one candidate to run against him. After that we will eliminate them from the party and move smoothly ahead with our plans.”
On EALA, Atuhaire says there was an agreed party position of sending two candidates, which was frustrated by Muntu and his group. He said the Muntu camp wanted to follow the demands of NRM of fielding one candidate the reason Muntu authored a letter withdrawing Turinawe arbitrarily.
“We cannot accept that dictatorship,” he said, “If he wants to give orders he should go back in the army.”
The FDC Leap Forward Whatsapp group is where members from both sides attack each other. Each side accuses the other of selling out to Museveni.
The Muntu group accuses the Besigye group of deliberately giving away their victory in February 2016. They say Besigye was compromised by the regime. The Besigye group also accuses Muntu of being a mole and refusing to announce the results tallied by the party on February 19.
The group administrators who seem to be from Muntu’s camp keep removing members of the defiance camp for being abusive while some of the members from both groups leave voluntarily because of endless accusations and counter accusations.