KAMPALA – Former Forum for Democratic Party president Dr Kizza Besigye has urged former Leader of Opposition in Parliament Winnie Kiiza and her cohorts in the House to accept the new changes made by the party president, saying failure to leave power is the biggest problem of the country.
“This country has not been failed by people who do not have experience. This country has been failed by people who have a lot of experience. The new people should be given chance to lead and then you judge them by their performances,” Dr Besigye said in an interview on Tuesday.
He was referring to protests by Ms Kiiza and other MPs who lost their leadership seats in Parliament following last Friday’s reshuffle by FDC party president Patrick Amuriat. On Monday, Ms Kiiza described the recent announcement of new leaders in Parliament as unconstitutional. She said that appointing “minority leaders would be foolish since there is no such position in the Constitution and the Parliamentary rules of procedure.”
However, on Tuesday Dr Besigye said change and competition in democratic systems are normal and that the members should accept the outcome. He said there are always divergent views, which form part of normal democratic processes.
“There are always such internal competitions as people compete for positions. How can you have elections without people supporting this one or the other one?” he said.
He added that this is not the first time such disagreements happen in the party, saying even when Gen Muntu changed Mr Nandala Mafabi from the LoP position, he was criticized but life moved on.
The four-time presidential candidate also clarified that the leader of opposition in Parliament can be changed before completing the five-year term in the Parliament.
“Professor Ogenga Latigo served for five years in Parliament, was there anything wrong with that? Did he have to be reappointed after two and a half years? That decision is for the party leader to make,” he said.
Dr Besigye also denied allegations that he played a crucial role in the parliamentary leadership changes.
“I am not in charge of FDC party. There is absolutely no way that I can be talked of controlling FDC. What levers do I have in FDC, I am not a member of any of its organs. Actually, when I led FDC all the seven years FDC was not receiving any money from the national budget. We looked after ourselves with our own resources of the supporters. Since I left, the party receives funding from the national budget. All parties represented in the parliament receive money depending on the numbers of representatives in the parliament.”
Amuriat on Friday last week fired Kiiza and replaced her with Gulu Woman Member Of Parliament Betty AOL Ochan. Others that were also dropped are Commissioner of Parliament Cecilia Ogwal of Dokolo who was replaced by Buhweju County’s Francis Mwijukye; and Chairperson of Committee on Commissions Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises, Abdu Katuntu who replaced by theatric Kawempe South MP, Mubarak Munyagwa.