Uganda: Museveni Pumping Money Into FDC, Besigye Admits

Four time presidential candidate, Dr. Kizza Besigye has broken his silence about the fallout within opposition Forum for Democratic Change(FDC) party.

Addressing journalists on Wednesday, Besigye admitted that the party that he partly helped found is currently under state capture.

“Large sums of money have been coming into our party at every election. You find our delegates coming from upcountry accommodated in big hotels not by the party but candidates. When you take that path, you know you are under state capture,” Besigye said.

Asked to divulge more about Museveni money coming into the FDC, Besigye was however quick to say that a committee has been set up to get details of these allegations and that a report will soon be released.

“I understand it has written a report and it is unfair for me to repeat what I told committee before report is released.”

Amuriat compromised?

Several FDC members led by the spokesperson, Semujju Nganda earlier this week shared insights into the internal turmoil within the once strongest opposition party in the country.

These accused the current party president, Patrick Amuriat and Secretary General, Nandala Mafabi of being bent towards “selling” the party to President Museveni.

Speaking on Wednesday, Besigye said following the 2016 general election, it became clear that he would never stand in any other election against President Museveni and that to this, he summoned at meeting in 2018 in Namugongo where he informed all FDC leaders of his decision not to stand in the 2021 general election.

“In 2015, I had come under huge pressure(to stand in 2016) and to avoid that, well in advance in 2018, I informed all our leaders I wouldn’t be available and they had better get somebody to contest. I was completely unequivocal. Regrettably no process went underway in the party for another candidate to emerge.

He noted that when he insisted on not standing, FDC literally had not candidate to stand for the 2021 general election, noting that Amuriat was a last-minute compromise to stand for president since he was the overall party leader.

Besigye noted that this state of affairs meant that there was a mad dash to secure funds for the campaigns.

“Anybody who has had any slightest interact with electoral politics will know fundraising for an election depends on the candidate. Fundraisers would like to know who the candidate is. Many do not only raise funds for any candidate but also want the candidate to know them. You cant raise money when you don’t have candidate and sell him to potential funders. We simply had no candidate and no plan to have one and later alone to fund elections,” Besigye said.

He noted that whereas the party was supposed to have a campaign bureau to make plans for the upcoming campaigns, this was not the case on the eve of the 2021 general election and that even when it was set up, it was too late.

“The party was now going into the campaign without a plan, candidate and campaign bureau. With this, you have already set yourself for trouble. They then begun putting me on pressure to help them raise funds but there was no one I could raise them from.The time was ticking, election coming with other challenges like covid and there was crisis in which Amuriat emerged as a candidate.

He said when he became aware of it, he discussed it with close party leaders, adding that they were not happy with him for discussing the same.

“When I realized there was this attitude, I backed off and went elections on.”

FDC under state capture

The four time presidential candidate told journalists that once political parties fail to change with the changing situation, they are liable to being captured by the state as it is currently.

He explained that political parties in Uganda have continued to act as democratic institutions in a democratic society where the two main roles of political parties is to organize ideas into coherent political programs and develop leaders for elections yet this is just a fallacy.

“When there is state capture, you are not going to just present yourself like it happens in Europe and just compete in the same politics captured by commercialization. In the FDC, I became completely convinced about the completion of state capture in elections after 2011 elections. I was convinced the elections will not remove Museveni. I therefore went while I was still a leader and suggested we make adjustments but I was never supported.”