ARUA – FDC leaders in Arua District have rejected the party’s choice of a flag bearer to contest for the Arua Municipality MP seat and demanded to hold primaries.
In a heated meeting held in Arua Town on Tuesday, some members were in support of the party’s choice of Bruce Musema to hold the party flag in the August 15 by-election but others rejected this, insisting the party constitution must be followed.
“The constitution is very clear, it is when you win the elections, that’s when you remain a flag bearer. We either go for primaries or consensus because the political situation here has changed,” said former Terego County MP Kassiano Wadri.
Wadri, who is one of the founding members of the FDC party, also insisted that whereas Musema performed well in the 2016 elections, the political temperature in the area has changed and others need to be given chance.
“Primary elections are inevitable in Arua. Since the last elections, the political terrain has changed completely. We do not want the practice of NRM of ring fencing of the candidates where we may end up in courts and this will not be good for the party,” he added.
In the 2016 election, Col Abiriga defeated Mr Musema by only 1,246 votes. Following defeat, Mr Musema went to court, accusing the Electoral Commission (EC) of conniving with Abiriga to make parallel declaration forms that bore neither the codes nor serial numbers.
However, in June 2016, the High Court in Arua dismissed the election petition against Abiriga as the judge said the petitioner failed to prove that the use of unauthentic results declaration forms to declare him winner affected the final outcome of the election.
Obongi County MP Hassan Kaps Fungaroo urged the different members who are contesting the party’s choice of Musema to hold more discussions until they reach a consensus.
“What you saw as chaotic scenes are exchanges of views and this means that we have capable people to take on the party. We knew the party had a flag bearer and yet there are people who have expressed interest. So there should be agreement among the candidates in order to avoid more chaos. But the party should be aware of the factors at play in the Municipality,” Fungaroo said.
The district FDC chairman, Hajji Hakim Moli, called for calm, promising to hold more meetings in order to iron out differences and come up with one candidate.
The seat fell vacant after the incumbent, Col Ibrahim Abiriga, was gunned down alongside his brother, Saidi Kongo, in Kawanda, Wakiso District, on June 8.
Last week, Mr Paul Mwiru, the FDC deputy spokesperson, said Musema, who contested against Col Abiriga in the 2016 election, is the right candidate for the job.
“We know this is our seat and we do not want to take any chances. We can’t have any other candidate for the place. We now confirm that our candidate as FDC will be Mr Musema, any FDC who is interested in the same position as they have been posting on social media should just forget,” Mr Mwiru said during the weekly press conference at the party’s headquarters at Najjanankumbi last Monday.
The EC has set July 5 to July 9 for voter registration while nomination of candidates will be conducted on July 19-20. Arua Municipality has 45,184 voters and 65 polling stations.