BY ZALIMON BASIGHALHA (GOODLUCK)
Former Kasese Municipality Member of Parliament, Robert Franco Centenary, has confidently asserted that he remains unafraid to associate himself with the current top leadership of the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) amidst the ongoing internal strife within the party.
The party’s spokesperson, Hon. Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda, who also serves as the Kira Municipality MP, recently convened a National Consultative Meeting at Nsambya Sharing Hall in Kampala on Monday, July 17, 2023. In the meeting, he publicly accused the FDC President, Engineer Patrick Oboi Amuriat, and the Secretary-General, Hon. Nathan Nandala Mafabi, of plotting to hand over the party to President Museveni. Ssemujju further claimed that both Amuriat and Mafabi received undisclosed funds from State House to finance campaigns and compromise the party’s integrity. These allegations have led to a division within the oldest opposition party in Uganda, creating two distinct factions.
Ssemujju has aligned himself with the founding President of the FDC, Col (Rtd) Dr. Kizza Besigye, as well as the party National Chairman, Ambassador Wasswa Birigwa, and the Vice President for FDC in-charge of Buganda Region, Erias Lukwago, who is also the Kampala Capital City Lord Mayor.
On the other hand, Robert Franco Centenary has chosen to ally himself with the current party President, Amuriat, and Secretary-General, Mafabi, in contrast to the stance taken by Kasese District FDC Chairperson, Mr. Saulo Maate. Maate held a press conference on July 20, 2023, at his office in Kasese town, urging party members to respect each other and the party’s founding President, Dr. Kiiza Besigye, as they navigate the situation.
In a press statement at his residence in Kasese town, Hon. Centenary reaffirmed his support for the party’s duly elected leadership, asserting his belief in the party’s systems, processes, and ideology. He disclosed that FDC members in Kasese had advised him to show respect to Najjanankumbi, the party’s National headquarters, and the top leadership when he rejoined the party after running as an independent candidate in the 2021 Parliamentary Elections.
Asked about the apparent alliance between the Kasese FDC office and the Ssemujju and Dr. Besigye faction, Centenary clarified that within the FDC, each member has the right to make their own choice. He highlighted that the Kasese office is merely a branch of Najjanankumbi, where the party’s headquarters are located.
Regarding the recent Nsambya Consultative Meeting organized by Ssemujju, Centenary openly deemed it illegal and called on FDC members and the public to await the judgment of the Elders’ Forum. The forum is expected to deliver its ruling on July 28, 2023, during the party’s National Council Meeting, which will be held in Kampala.
As the FDC grapples with internal disagreements, the party’s future direction remains uncertain. The unfolding events will undoubtedly shape the party’s trajectory and influence its stance in Uganda’s political landscape.