The Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) has asked Democratic Party (DP) president, Norbert Mao to apologise for the attacks against opposition doyen Dr Kizza Besigye during last week’s DP Block agreement signing event.
DP on Thursday last week held an event to sign a memorandum of understanding with the People's Democratic Party (PD) of Dr Abed Bwanika and Social Democratic Party (SDP) of Mike Mabike and officially unveil the DP block as they prepare for 2021 general elections.
The meeting held at Africana hotel was attended by a number of political figures including, former FDC president Mugisha Muntu who quit the party to found a new one, Alliance for National Transformation (ANT), youthful firebrand Kyadondo East MP Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine who is also the poster boy of the People Power pressure group, among others.
When their chance to speak came, from Bwanika, Mao to Kyagulanyi, they all directly or indirectly attacked Besigye, who they accused of frustrating opposition efforts by consistently contesting and losing the presidential elections and not giving other opposition members a chance.
Besigye has been Museveni's main challenger for the presidency since 2001. He has on several occasions claimed that the elections were rigged in favour of Museveni, a fact acknowledged by the courts. However the judges ruled that the rigging was not enough to change the outcome of the election results.
FDC says instead of using last week's event to sell the DP Block to Ugandans, they used it to attack Besigye. Bobi Wine accused Besigye of telling Ugandans that elections won’t remove Museveni from presidency without offering an alternative.
“Don’t talk about democracy and stand four times and on the fifth time you tell people democracy doesn’t work. We believe it works. On that point, I will assert that democracy actually works and anybody who despises democracy is despising the people of Uganda,” Bobi Wine said.
This message left FDC diehards seething with anger. Before he became a politician, Bobi Wine is on record for saying that Besigye was rigged out in the 2016 elections and has often referred to him as his political mentor for his consistency and bravery to face off Museveni in the elections and his military machinery.
When Bwanika's turn came, he said; “I have heard one person who has now perpetually become a presidential candidate and wants to become one again. I have decided, whether I will remain alone, I will ensure that Ugandans don’t vote that presidential candidate again.”
FDC deputy spokesperson, John Kikonyogo while addressing journalists at party headquarters said the attack was unfortunate. The best that DP can offer to Besigye in particular and FDC in general is an apology.
"But what was more disturbing to people who are watching politics in Uganda, someone spends his money, he organizes a very nice signing ceremony but when you’re given a microphone, you spend 3/4 of your time attacking another party instead of telling the people of Uganda what you’re going to do after the signing. That was a bit disturbing. You’re attacking an FDC member, Dr Besigye for not joining you. I think Mr Mao owes us an apology as a party." Kikonyogo said.
Kikonyogo explained that Besigye cannot make a decision on behalf of the party and that even if he had attended the DP signing event, there is nothing that he would have done.
But Kikonyogo said FDC welcomes the DP coalition. He argued that if FDC decide to enter coalitions in the coming months, it will be negotiating with blocks rather than individual parties. He said they are consulting supporters at grassroots level on how the party can prepare for 2021.
He gave a chronology of coalitions in Uganda since independence which have not worked. That’s is why, he said FDC is always cautious when it comes to joining coalitions.