Saturday, September 30, 2023

We shall continue putting microscopic eyes on the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) which last week took itself to the edge of the graveyard. In a rather cavalier and dramatic fashion, elements within FDC opposition party leadership, instigated by its founder president Kizza Besigye staged what many in legal circles consider a futile coup that purports to have toppled Patrick Oboi Amuriat, Secretary General Nathan Nandala Mafabi and Treasurer Geoffrey Ekanya. While Amuriat’s persona isn’t that inspiring, he was Besigye’s stooge for a while but probably rebelled or just couldn’t deliver that which was expected of him. Wasswa Birigwa, the FDC national Chairman, the sly man through whom the handiwork is being played has been a double character in Kampala city for many decades.

For now apart from the rumblings, it’s hard to see how the coup cabal will achieve legal recognition by the national Electoral Commission which oversees political parties. It’s even harder seeing how the banks will accept them as bonafide signatories to the FDC accounts as they have publicly stated or gain full access to the headquarters in Njjanankumbi except through physical confrontations. 

But looking at the trails of Uganda People’s Congress (UPC) and Democratic Party (DP), it hasn’t been possible for the outliers to take them over. In UPC Peter Walubiri and Olara Otuunu, and DP Nasser Ssebaggala (RIP), Lukwago, Samuel Lubega Mukaku and Lulume Bayiga in DP simply fizzled out. In the now forgotten Conservative Party, John Ken Lukyamuzi-The Man has been on a lonely walk and perspired on his own when Jehoash Mayanja Nkangi (RIP) abandoned the party to him.

Although the political civil war in FDC has been running for the past three years, it is still early to determine which faction will eventually prevail in both legal and political sense. But for sure, FDC in now very an unviable position and it will be a tall order climbing out of the abyss. The Besigye faction has until now refused to acknowledge that much of FDC troubles originate from its leaders’ greed for money, intrigue, ideology of defiance, and poor political management styles rather than external forces. They have conveniently chosen to conjure non-existent NRM sleeper cells and double agents within their ranks that are determined to bring FDC down to avoid strict scrutiny and explain away their political troubles .

A cavalier faction now led by Erias Lukwago has been installed as the interim president for the next six months by a showy extra-ordinary delegate’s conference that doggedly convened at Plot 10 Katonga road within the city centre. Katonga road, as is famously known, has been the epicenter of Besigye’s defiance movement to try in his own words although in futility, to make Uganda ungovernable since his defeat in 2011 general elections.

There, Besigye and a small coterie of his protégés run what they dubiously call a ‘people’s government’ akin to the one in Venezuela by US puppet Juan Guaido who is now burned out while Nicholas Maduro is still standing upright. Looking at the possible leadership line up under Lukwago, and going by his activism in the Democratic Party (DP) which he fled from after causing so much political troubles, and fifteen years now as Lord Mayor Kampala City Authority where he’s almost a lame-duck embroiled in the-never-ending conflicts, it is difficult for many analysts to see what Lukwago a Rambo like figure will truly achieve for FDC. 

Of course they will be making loud noises particularly in Kampala where anything goes for persuasive content, on radios, television talk-shows and on other gullible media platforms as well as journalists who appear to have already fallen for the ruse if not complicit unable to see through the charade. To sections of the media and fickle journalists putting challenging questions to FDC, Besigye, and their political fan-boys like Lukwago and Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda is considered unwelcome.

Months back, this column said that one of the likely scenarios was a plan for an alliance between the Besigye faction and National Unity Platform (NUP) mainly as a condition dictated by foreign groups hostile to Uganda so they can get better funding. Within them, an alliance or even coordination would bring their forces for disruption against government so as to build maximum and protracted pressure.

The game plan is twofold, first to have President Yoweri Museveni’s government capitulate or even collapse before the 2026 elections, a failed strategy they have pursued since their 2006 defeat and was ramped up in 2011 with violent confrontations with police mostly on Kampala streets. The second, is a long-shot hope to build political momentum probably an election merger between what many still consider the Besigye food-hold areas to that of NUP to deny any prospective NRM  presidential candidate an outright win in the 2026 election. In a sense, a weakened but still ambitious Besigye, a dying FDC with a radicalized following, and gullible partisan media is the gift that is likely to define the political phase Uganda is entering.