MBALE – There have been accusations, denials and counter accusations of money changing hands from Museveni to the Forum for Democratic Change-FDC through some of its leaders.
Whether this allegation has any merit or not is no longer a subject of debate, the elders of the party have since exonerated the Amuriat and Nandala Mafabi and made recommendations for tolerance and reconciliation of party members.
The elders’ decision seems to have been influenced by the fear of an impending mass exodus of another set of members. With all the animosity and all that has been said by the warring members, I don’t see any serious reconciliation in FDC.
And take I leave it some people’s hearts may have switched allegiance to the NRM ruling party.
When Semujju Nganda and Dr. Kizza Besigye first sounded the “mole” alarm, many regarded it as a joke and a norm like it was before the exodus at reform Agenda which saw the exit of Kaijuka, Amanya Mushega, Ruzindana, and Musinguzi Garuga among others.
Another exodus of “moles” saw the exit of Mugisha Muntu, Winnie Kizza, Paul Mwiru and Alice Alaso among others. Unlike before, this time round, the claims were backed with some proof; somebody had taken money to another to keep but failed to explain its source.
It was neither from the usual funders nor borrowed. Atleast no evidence was provided to the recipient. Somebody even threatened to provide the serial numbers of the money that was picked by the Budadiri West legislator Nathan Nandala; a sign of total mistrust.
Be that as it may, Semujju has maintained his earlier accusations that Nandala Mafabi and the FDC party President Patrick Amuriat picked money from Museveni and the item on sell was FDC as a party and of course with all its members.
But the allegation fell short of disclosing the purchase price and whether the consideration was paid in full or in installments. We are also not sure if the arrangement was a hire purchase or outright purchase of FDC as party.
To Semujju, the plan was to come up with a phased hand-over which would be sealed by a change of “guards at FDC through a mock election and then allow them to transfer all the “shares” to the new funder or in the alternative form a joint venture under a new formation that would probably go to the silent but vibrant MK project.
Having been busted for being in bed with the ruling party, Nandala Mafabi decided to raise counter-accusations by asserting that Semujju and others like Erias Lukwago had planned to sink the party or sell to NUP.
So while the elders were investigating the issues, they were mindful that some disgruntled FDC members could quit and join the National Unity Platform- NUP which has a huge support in Buganda and some areas of the east.
To the complainants, Museveni’s plan was to keep FDC intact by giving it all the desired funds to support liberal candidates on the FDC ticket. Similarly, money would be made available to fund NRM leaning members to win top party leadership during the party elections at Najanankumbi and kick out the likes of Nganda and Lukwago.
The FDC party leaders would then go on a full pay roll of the ruling party and wait for the 2025 FDC party primaries to endorse FDC-NRM leaning candidates. Like it was in the previous elections where NRM cunningly refused to field candidates against Mpuga and Mukasa Mbidde, they will appear to have failed to identify a contender and indirectly endorse the FDC-NRM candidate to win.
All this is a long term plan to eject NUP off the political scene. They think NUP may get tempted not to field a candidate in the name of not wanting to get at loggerheads with a fellow opposition party.
With prior planning, the strategy is to turn FDC into an “opposition” branch of the ruling party but unfortunately, the plan seems to have been dismantled and dis-assembled by the fore-sighted Semujju Ibrahim Nganda hence the current bickering.
With this background, I don’t see how the mercenaries who have been paid are going to accept any reconciliation; they would rather exit the party but will leave some remnants inside the party to execute their long term plan.
With all those billions in the hands of a single man, real FDC cadres should accept with a pinch of salt. Am glad some members have argued that the elders report lacked credibility and failed to address the real issues in contention within the party.
To them, the recommendations cannot be implemented while intimidation, mistrust, evasion of accountability, connivance, violence, and deceit persist within the party. The good thing is that the party chairman has been a victim of the Nandala-Amuriat Najanankumbi violence, a precursor of what to expect in future.
The justification for exonerating the duo invites more questions than answers. I am still wondering whether the elders expected the complainants to provide an invoice, receipt, voucher, video footage or a memorandum of understanding to prove the accused received money from Museveni to antagonize, sell and or transfer FDC to the ruling National Resistance movement.
On the contrary, Nandala insists that Semujju and Lukwago should be scrutinized for their funding sources, questioning how they managed to finance their re-election campaigns yet they do not have any known alternative sources of income.
Nandala who doubled as FDC secretary General seems to suggest Semujju and Lukwago might be receiving money from the state-same source. Human beings from the historical perspective are difficult to understand but the underlying reason for their behavior is the desire for power and money.
Any person has the capacity to betray another for gain or even for no gain. Semei Kakungulu is on record for having turned against his own country to appease the colonists which saw him die a frustrated man like the biblical Judas Iscariot.
With such a backlash, the last thing that the FDC leadership should have considered was to set up a probe committee to investigate the allegations. If anyone was victimized especially by Besigye, they should have been allowed to exit honorably like past members.
The fact that Museveni had previously sounded a warning that he would get rid of the opposition by all means is the first signal to those who were investigating the allegations. We know that Museveni has successfully bagged two old political parties and a number of new formations. There is no doubt he is on course to engulf others and the Forum for Democratic Change cannot be an exception.
Many Ugandans know for a fact that it is not Museveni’s method to physically kill his opponents but he has the capacity to use one or a few against the rest. This method has proved effective in the way he has silenced the Democratic Party and the Uganda People’s Congress. First of all, he makes it so hard for these parties to breathe financially, then he goes against the leaders and before we know it, he sends emissaries to approach them with money or a government job. Ask Betty Anwar, Betty Kamya or Nabosa Sebugwawo to understand where I am coming from.
It is therefore wrong for my brother Nathan Nandala Mafabi to allege that Besigye abandoned the party and that he did what he had to do to keep the party afloat. If doing all that he had to do meant going to pick Museveni’s money, then Nandala, is obviously out of order and has no justification for his actions, Besigye was never meant to police the operations of FDC forever.
Having served at the helm of Reform Agenda and later Forum for Democratic Change, Dr. Kizza Besigye felt it wise to allow a new set of leaders to take over the party. To avoid interfering with their work, Besigye retreated to Katonga Road to continue his pursuit for good governance.
Even when Hon Nandala defended his actions saying he was only protecting FDC from being swallowed by NUP and on the other hand a section of FDCs think Besigye wants to merge FDC with NUP because of their current numerical strength in Parliament.
This sounds like a joke; I had no idea that FDC has forgotten its core rival- the NRM. Is FDC still serving the interests of the opposition, I think not. By pointing its guns at NUP, Mr Nandala and not FDC is telling us that they now have two perceived opponents to fight, one being Kyagulanyi and other is Museveni yet in the backyard, NRM is said to be cashing its enemy- FDC to fight its other enemy-NUP, gash, where are we going, what happened to the integrity of our people.
If indeed it is true that Museveni gave money to FDC to mobilize, the purpose was not for FDC to regain its lost glory but to help them divide up the opposition support especially in some parts of the east and Buganda.
This clearly shows Museveni was and is still fearful of NUP’s blossoming support base. Seeing that UPC and DP are no more, Museveni could have desired to uplift FDC to create antagonism in NUP as the only surviving opposition party.
On the sidelines, I fear for NUP, many of its members may have been bought out but are still pretending to be opposition in order to eavesdrop and disseminate information for the NRM Party.
The underlying justification for what happened during that election speaks volumes of what we are seeing today. It is a long term plan to build a power base for some people within FDC so that they can be used in future for dirty schemes.
I want to state that the opposition may be perceived as bad but all over the world, their opposing views have contributed positively to democracy and the rule of law. And FDC must know that her enemy is within the divided house.
The author, David Mafabi, a veteran journalist and PML Daily senior writer