Kampala, Uganda: Kampala Lord Mayor, Mr Erias Lukwago who is now the interim president of the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) has unveiled an eight-point plan to revive the once Uganda’s leading opposition political party.
The former DP stalwart was Tuesday elected by FDC strongholds during the extraordinary national delegates’ conference to replace the suspended Patrick Oboi Amuriat at the helm of the party.
The Tuesday delegates conference convened by FDC Chairman Wasswa Birigwa also saw Nathan Nandala Mafabi, the party secretary general and Geoffrey Ekanya, the treasurer general, both suspended and replaced by Harold Kaija and Francis Mwijukye respectively.
The party bigwigs also resolved to establish an interim Electoral Commission with the task “to organize free, fair and transparent internal party elections, hence suspending the current FDC electoral commission boss, Mr Boniface Toterebuka Bamwenda for organizing what was termed as ‘fraudulent’ elections.
Speaking to Monitor on Wednesday after assuming FDC leadership, Mr Lukwago has revealed the eight-point plan he intends to implement during his six months with a focus on lifting the party out of the chaos and mess immersed itself in recently.
Lukwago says he plans to start with an outreach to various stakeholders in the party with the aim of gathering their opinions, listening to their grievances and emphasizing the party’s values to them.
“We are reaching out to various stakeholders in active politics, including those who had become despondent, to pick their opinions. The most important thing is getting the party back [on track] and realigning it to its original mission and vision,” the Kampala Lord Mayor said.
“[We want to] reinvigorate the spirit of ‘One Uganda, One people’, the original struggle because it was on that philosophy that it was anchored and founded, but over the years the people who were suspended yesterday (Tuesday) had diverted.”
According to Lukwago, FDC must become more vibrant again so that it can deal with the current challenges the country faces under what is described as the current gun rule.
To achieve this, he said he will lead the party back to the battlefront against President Museveni’s leadership, and streamline and strengthen leadership structures at all levels by organising credible internal elections.
Other elements of his plan are restoring the sanctity of the FDC party constitution and forestalling all intentions of the suspended leaders to attempt a coup against the party constitution.
Mr Lukwago says he is also looking to build links with other change-seeking forces to advance the liberation struggle in Uganda by offering credible and transparent leadership that inspires hope to party members and the general public.
“We are going to roll out a comprehensive plan because now we are having internal arrangements and very soon we shall roll out an action-packed programme for six months,” he said.
Speaking defensively of the legitimacy of his leadership which has since been challenged by the so-called FDC-Najjanankumbi group, Mr Lukwago invoked the party constitution which states in Article 28(1)b that the national chairman enjoys exclusive powers to convene and preside over the National Council and National Delegates Conference.
“POA [Patrick Oboi Amuriat] and others, instead of asking the party chairman to call the delegates conference, resorted to using Toterebuka Bamwenda, who is planning to convene a seminar disguised as a delegates’ conference to overthrow the party constitution, which we won’t allow,” Lukwago, a celebrated lawyer said.
“The national chairman presided over the delegates’ conference yesterday (Tuesday), which took those decisions. I have no doubts that he will respect the decision of the delegates’ conference he presided over,” he added.
He asked the Najjanankumbi-based “former party leadership” to refrain from whatever they were doing and bow out honourably to avoid shame.
“I would implore POA to discover himself [because] the POA I knew a couple of years ago is totally different from the one I see today. The POA of yesterday is such an astute leader, who avoids violence, espouses the values of good leadership, transparency, generally clean leadership who would inspire hope, charismatic,” he said.
As Lukwago looks to enjoy his interim presidency of the once-strongest opposition party in the country, the public is open to receiving two versions of the party following the resolutions from the National Delegates Conference:
There now seems to be the FDC-Katonga Road led by Lukwago (President), Wasswa Birigwa (Chairman), Dr Kizza Besigye (Founder) and party spokesperson, Mr Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda, among others.
While on the other hand, the FDC-Najjanankumbi faction is headed by Patrick Oboi Amuriat (the suspended President), Nathan Nandala Mafabi (suspended SG) and Geoffrey Ekanya (suspended Treasurer General).
By Thursday afternoon, POA (read Amuriat) had already picked nomination forms to vie for the same position of being the FDC President, insisting that the Katonga-Road faction leadership and its outcomes of the delegates’ conference are illegal and unlawful to the party.
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