Uganda: FDC Reunites in Acholi Ahead of 2021 Elections

Forum for Democratic Change (FDC), party structures in Acholi Sub region have buried their internal differences ahead of 2021 general election.

During a reconciliatory meeting held in Gulu District on Saturday, the aggrieved party members accused the top leadership of intrigue, greed and disunity, something that is weakening the party structures at the grassroots.

Mr Christopher Acire, former Aswa Country aspirant on FDC ticket said internal bickering is weakening the party structures in the region adding that uniting the members is a key element ahead of the 2021 election.

"For many years FDC has been known in Acholi region as the strongest political party that has consistently given sleepless nights to Mr Museveni. We have been achieving it because of the united forces with leaderships and guidance from strong individuals," he said.

According to Mr Acire, it is in the recent years when some "spirits of individualism, intrigue and personal vendetta entered amidst the party leaders".

In preparation for the 2016 general elections, the party top leadership disagreed on who should be party flag bearer for Aswa County in Gulu District.

The contest was between Mr Reagan Okumu and Acire, who was the MP for Gulu Municipality but wanted to contest against Okumu the incumbent.

The top organ of the party then handpicked Mr Okumu something that did not go well with Mr Acire who took the matter to court. He argued that the flag bearer was meant to be subjected to party primaries just like any other elective positions.

The clashes saw the case being resolved at Gulu High Court in December 2015 and the then High Court judge, Ms Margaret Mutonyi ruled that a decision by the FDC to handpick Mr Okumu for Aswa County flag bearer was irrational, illegal and unfair.

The ruling saw Mr Okumu contesting for Aswa County as an independent candidate and Mr Acire as FDC party flag bearer in the 2016 general election.

However Mr Acire lost to Mr Okumu who garnered 16,859 votes defeating as he (Acire) collected 5,316 votes.

Nwoya County Member of Parliament Simon Oyet who had earlier denounced FDC, made a U-turn to the party saying he had been frustrated by the party leadership.

"There have been several meetings held in my constituency by FDC central leadership without my knowledge, something that has angered me for years," he said.

"You talk of unity but you want to gang up against someone behind his back for your own gain, this is wrong and unless the party leadership do something now, more members will join other political parties," said Mr Oyet.

Factors for disunity

Amuru District Chairperson Mr Michael Lakony who is also FDC member blamed the disunity on the top party leadership saying they undermine the grassroots structures.

"At FDC party headquarters, I know you have scavengers around you but stop frustrating other leaders. Allow our leaders at grassroots to freely access your office," Mr Lakony said.

In response, party president Patrick Oboi Amuriat, acknowledged that the disunity has made the party very unpopular something the ruling NRM is taking advantage of.

"NRM knows that we are the strongest opposition that has ever won elections that is why we are the people's government. It's on that note that they want to see us fighting one another within the party and lose focus," he said

"It's been many years that FDC leaders in Acholi sub regions don't talk to one another and they have publicly exchanged bitterly," he added.

Mr Amuriat said the party is ready to have talks with its aggrieved members including the MPs to come back to the party as polls draw closer.

"I know we shall have Odonga Otto, Prof Ogenga Latigo and all his other aggrieved colleagues back as party flag bearers," he said.

Last month Aruu County MP Mr Odonga Otto, Prof Morris Ogenga Latigo, the Agago North County MP, Gulu District Chairperson Mr Martin Ojara Mapenduzi, among others declared that they would not be seeking re-election in 2021 as FDC flag bearers.

COMPILED BY POLYCAP KALOKWER, STEPHEN OKELLO & GEOFREY OKOT

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