Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) leaders and founding members are courting Dr Kizza Besigye to be the party's presidential flag bearer in the 2021 presidential elections, Daily Monitor has learnt.
However, high placed sources in FDC said the party has not formally approached Dr Besigye for his decision on the matter but top individuals in the party hierarchy have been contacting him to contest against President Museveni, the likely NRM flag bearer, for the fifth time.
A source at the FDC headquarters, who preferred to remain anonymous, told Daily Monitor that there are still high-level negotiations by both the internal and external leaders in the party to have Dr Besigye hold the party flag in the 2021 elections.
The source said although Dr Besigye has not given them his final decision on his candidature, he expressed reluctance to contest in 2021, alleging that the vote will be rigged like in the previous elections.
"Several people both internal and externally are requesting him to stand. Internally, the founder members and the current leadership have all been requesting him to stand against President Museveni. Even our local supporters have been reaching out to him," the source revealed.
"Dr Besigye, however, has a lot of reservations on elections because he still looks at it as a ceremonial ritual that cannot yield anything big," the source added.
FDC president Patrick Amuriat, on Monday said the party had not yet met Dr Besigye officially but they are slated to meet him any time soon over the matter.
"We are looking for the party presidential candidate at the moment. If there are some people who have met Dr Besigye to ask him to be the party flag bearer, we do not have any problem with that," Mr Amuriat said.
"There are a number of internal discussions that are underway and we are meeting a number of people over the same. Since Dr Besigye is our big fish, we are also going to meet him to tell us if he is going to hold our flag or not," he added
Mr Amuriat added that a number of people have approached him to hold the FDC party flag in 2021 and he is still considering the proposal .
What LoP says
The Leader of the Opposition in Parliament (LOP), Ms Betty Aol Ocan, said she is among the people who have been contacting Dr Besigye to contest as the party's presidential candidate because she thinks he is the right person.
She, however, said Dr Besigye has not yet given them a positive response because all the grievances he had raised in the previous elections have not been addressed by the relevant authorities.
"We contacted Dr Besigye and he told us that he has done his part in participating in non-violent struggle and it is time for other people to try. He told us that at the moment, the elections are not going to help and we understand him. But if he changes his mind and picks the nomination forms, I will always support him because to me, he is the best candidate,' Ms Ochan said.
The FDC vice president for central region, Ms Joyce Ssebugwawo, confirmed that although the party has not yet met Dr Besigye officially, they are still in talks with him over the matter. She said when everything has been finalised, they will notify the public.
FDC chairperson Wasswa Biriggwa said the party at the moment does not have any candidate to hold its flag for presidency in 2021, but added that the doors are open for any qualified person who is interested in contesting on the party ticket.
"People are free to approach Dr Besigye to contest but as a party we have not yet met him. In the meantime, the doors are open to all qualified candidates to come and pick forms. Until then, we cannot speculate who is going to hold our flag," Mr Biriggwa said.
We could not reach Dr Besigye for his response on whether he will heed the party's desire to carry its flag in 2021 elections as he did not pick our calls.
According to Mr Amuriat, all those interested in the party presidency have up to July 31 to pick nomination forms from party headquarters.
He said FDC will hold its delegates conference on September 4 to elect the party flag bearer.
Dr Besigye has been holding the party flag in all the previous elections, first in 2001 under Reform Agenda pressure group which later morphed into FDC in 2004. He contested again in 2006, 2011 and 2016.
The four-time presidential candidate for FDC was in 2006 elections nominated in absentia.