Saturday, July 29, 2023

From the corners of both eyes am watching a big fight break out among a pack of wolves and hounds in the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) party over a carcass with each side unlikely to back down soon. Col. (Rtd) Warren Smith Kizza Besigye the destroyer will carry on sinking the remains of a ship he once captained because of greed and need for revenge. At the back of the political slugfest between Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda and Erias Lukwago on one side against party president Patrick Oboi Amuriat and Secretary General Nathan Nandala Mafabi is a pledge Besigye is reported to have made in Nairobi last year to George Soro’s Open Society that he will engineer a merger between FDC and NUP so they could receive better funding and other support. Beneath, is a belief that Buganda region now in opposition to NRM could bring victory to an FDC and NUP merger. 

 Ssemujju is currently the toast of parliament and media slamming people he believes are obstacles on his way upwards is the henchman to deliver blows, and boy, with a penchant to annoy, torment or embarrass, he has done a good job so far until now when he got to Nandala a man of rougher edges. Nandala, Amuriat, Ssemujju, Francis Mwijukye and Prosscovia Salaamu Musumba were part of the Besigye rabid cabal that drove out Greg Mugisha Muntu, Alice Asianut Alaso, Elijah Okupa, Abdu Katuntu, Beatrice Atim Anywar, Robert Centenary and Ingrid Kamateneti Turinawe among others with accusations that they were moles for President Yoweri Museveni and NRM. 

In a sense, Besigye’s political brands are colliding aggressively as two firebrands Ssemujju turns tables on Amuriat and Nandala claiming they want to ‘hand over’ a vanquished FDC to Museveni by 2026. It’s poetic justice considering that Nandala, Amuriat, Ingrid and Ssemujju were on one side in 2020. Fallouts in FDC have followed a familiar pattern, usually, intrigue, crude insults, accusations of bribery, and innuendos of sectarianism and moles crowned by violent confrontations. Ssemujju now says that Amuriat’s rancor, including kicking off his shoes on nomination day in 2021 were cover-ups for his under-dealings with Museveni. It has emerged that election violence in Kampala metropolitan area was planned in FDC.

Beti Olive Kamya was a bright, articulate and virulent spokesperson of the Reform Agenda, and FDC. She fell out with the mainstream when she sought to replace Dr Suleiman Kigguundu who was the first FDC national Chairperson upon his death in 2008. She cut her losses by founding Uganda Federal Alliance but didn’t gain much traction, so she abandoned it, joined NRM but failed to re-enter parliament. As the Inspector General of Government (IGG) you wouldn’t say that both sides of her bread aren’t sufficiently buttered. Then also came Maj. (rtd) Rubaramira Ruranga, then chairman of FDC election body who accused its top dogs of getting NRM money but which they put to personal use. He too left and joined NRM 2013.

James Garuga Musinguzi, a businessman-turned politician, was rumoured to be one of the bankrollers of the Reform Agenda in 2001-2005 gave NRM a good run especially in Kigezi. He tussled NRM strongmen Amama Mbbaazi and Ruhakana Rugunda forcing them to abandon local elective politics there as the ground became hostile. Nevertheless, Garuga failed to enter parliament on multiple times, abandoned elective politics, and sued for peace with NRM. Again one cannot say he isn’t doing well economically because many of his businesses including tea growing and processing are linked to government funding. 

Athanasius Rutaro, Winnie Karangwa Byanyima-Besigye’s ‘Companion’, Winnie Babihuga, Johnson Nkuhe, John Bashaija Kazoora, Miria Koburunga Matembe, and Ingrid the stars from the Ankole-Kigezi political belt all seem to have capitulated leaving Besigye a lone traveler with Lukwago and Ssemujju as his new lapdogs. Mugisha Muntu fell on sword, and forced to bolt out upon which he founded the almost incognito political outfit Alliance for National Transformation (ANT), and you could be excused to think it’s an NGO. In Buganda FDC is pulverized, leaving mainly Ssemujju standing. In Busoga region Musumba the former loudspeaker from Bugabula south remains a wounded lone wolf wondering around. After shifting parliamentary constituencies multiple times without success, she is yet to settle. 

Political sojourner Paul Mwiru last week oscillated to NUP from ANT having abandoned FDC where he was MP, yet earlier he tried NRM. Abdu Katuntu, my friend for over four decades didn’t bother picking FDC ticket because he was watch list of those doubling with NRM and so in 2021 won his Bugweri seat as an independent and seems content. Needless to speak about the very loud Ezati Kasiano Wadri, former MP Terego, and short-lived in Arua Municipality through a by-election in 2018. In Teso region, Alaso FDC first Secretary General, an amiable politician fell and you have to wonder why. Okupa is much like Katuntu. Edmond Ariko in Soroti City East persuaded by Parliament Speaker Anita Annet Among, swapped FDC for NRM as FDC reaps from its politics of intrigue and mudslinging.