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Dr. Kiiza Besigye Criticizes FDC Leadership For Undermining Party Members’ Efforts In Pursuit Of Change

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One of the opposition Forum for Democratic Change’s (FDC) founding fathers, Dr. Kiiza Besigye, was on the verge of tears as he described the sacrifice party members have made in their quest for “change” on Monday. He worries that the present administration is undermining the work of FDC activists.

“Our effort has cost those who seek change a lot of money. Many people have been killed and maimed… In a press conference, he described recent allegations of “dirty money” in the party and said, “It is emotive.

Besigye disregarded the Elders’ Committee report that investigated claims of “dirty” money being brought into the party.

The committee headed by Dr. Frank Nabwiso was established when Dr. Besigye informed the FDC National Council that he had learned that Nathan Nandala Mafabi, the party’s secretary general, had smuggled shady funds from the State House into the party.

Besigye allegedly acquired the information weeks after Nandala had handed him 300 million shillings and the party president, Eng Patrick Oboi Amuriat, another 280 million shillings. Besigye claims that Nandala informed him that he was concerned that the Uganda Revenue Authority would stop withdrawing funds from his account because of unresolved tax matters with his firms.

The FDC leadership established a committee to look into the charges made by Besigye in May 2023. The committee delivered a copy of its inquiry findings to Patrick Oboi Amuriat, the party president, in July 2023. The same was brought up at the special National Council meeting that was conducted on July 28, 2023, at the party headquarters.

Dr. Besigye commented on the findings on Monday morning, claiming that the investigations failed to address the crucial query he brought up with the party over the “dirty” money and instead worked to mend relations between him and Nandala. Dr. Besigye clarified that the committee needed to be reconciled and that he had no personal animosity against Nandala. Speaking to reporters in front of his offices for the People’s Government on Katonga Road, Besigye claimed that the report was not even worth the paper it was printed on.

The four-time candidate for president claimed that the way the committee was chosen was where the problems with the probes began. Before the National Council meeting in November 2022, after Besigye had made the discoveries regarding the “dirty” money, it was decided to form a committee to look into the situation.

But six months later, the committee was established. According to Besigye, there was information indicating that the controversy over who should appoint the committee was the root of the delay in its appointment. According to him, some people thought the party president Amuriat should appoint it, while others suggested the National Committee.

Amuriat ultimately chose a committee of seven members, and the FDC National Executive Committee-NEC gave their approval. Dr. Besigye is perplexed as to how someone who received a portion of the “dirty” money himself could appoint a committee to look into him. This is the reason, according to Besigye, why Amuriat told the committee at its inauguration that their major responsibility was to aid in the reconciliation of the two leaders, as stated in the report.

Besigye criticized the committee for not being biased, claiming that the committee’s actions caused one of the members to resign because the committee secretary—who is purported to have been chosen by Nandalawa—wasn’t appropriately recording the sessions’ proceedings. Besigye asserts that some of his opinions were left out of the aforementioned report.

Adding that there are plans by disgruntled party members to rally others to rescue the party, he claims that the party is currently under siege and that its members should rescue it. He claims that the People’s Government will battle to save FDC as well, but on a much larger scale, saving the entire nation.

When the party was holding internal elections last month, the disputes over the aforementioned funds became public. Elections should be postponed, according to some party members, until internal disputes are settled and the party electoral commission is better prepared to manage the process. The elections, which Amuriat, Nandala, and their allies claim started on July 21, 2023, were insisted upon nonetheless by them.

Besigye disregarded the elections, claiming that media reports suggested they had not taken place even in the locations where it was stated they had. When the party’s National Council reconvenes, Besigye hopes it will install interim leadership to guide the party toward a legitimate election. According to him, the transitional administration should begin by selecting experts to carry out a forensic investigation of the party’s assets and general management.

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