Former Leader of Opposition in Parliament Ogenga Latigo says Kizza Besigye is the soul of Forum for Democratic Change [FDC].
Latigo made the remarks in an interview with NBS television on Friday, July 1, 2016 while highlighting the challenges FDC faces internally, as a political party.
QN: Is the FDC in disarray or not? Is it at a verge of disintegration?
Latigo: Not at all, what you see is a very normal grass process in a party that is very democratic and allows its members to express themselves.
What you seeing is a latitude of expression that we enjoy in FDC. We do not have a correct forum or line. We say it as it is.
QN: You are trying to say that these are not signs of weaknesses affecting FDC right now?
Latigo: This is really the strength of FDC. And you can seat in the party, feel very upset, say it and no one will take it as a personal thing or a breach of some protocol.
There are clear characteristics that show that there must be egos within or even personalities involved or minor issues showing that there must a problem within FDC right now.
A truly democratic party is a party that people join out of free choice and conviction in particular areas. These degrees of choices, diversity within the membership will show itself when an issue comes that there’s no harmony. That does not mean that something is wrong with the party.
QN: Has the arrest of Rt. Col. Dr. Kizza Besigye affected the structure of FDC in any way?
Latigo: Of course, Dr. Besigye represents the soul of the party. He was the first leader and a person that is patient for change which shows a strong character. However, we the elected leaders in Parliament, at Local Council level etc still have to play our role as leaders of the party.
The party President, Major Gen Mugisha Muntu still has to play his role as the leader of the party. We have limited space to operate in therefore, we have to make choices between one and the other. This is the reason why some times you see the party president in court and Latigo is not in court.
QN: The person of Rt. Col. Dr. Besigye is a uniting factor within FDC. Does that mean that when he is no present the party shakes?
Latigo: No, it is not that he is a uniting factor because at the last election between him and Maj. Gen. Muntu there are people like us who supported Maj. Gen. Muntu and if you say, Dr. Besigye is a uniting factor we would all have united behind him.
Dr. Besigye represents the true symbol of the party, its roots in democratic struggle and the conviction that you can express yourself.
QN: There are some FDC members that have been criticised. How do you think the recent shadow cabinet would have been handled?
Latigo: Tell me which shadow cabinet since FDC’s birth has not been criticised. Even mine in 2006 was deeply criticised. That is very normal. The main thing is that the choices are made as objectively as possible and to address the perception of things at that moment. Eventually we will settle down and get on with the business.
QN: How about the allegations that the National Resistance Movement – NRM Government has been bribing a couple of FDC members to try and sabotage the party?
Latigo: Well, you cannot rule it out of the NRM. They have tried all kinds of things. But to explain it on Government is like we trying to explain our failures on colonialism. We really need to deal with the challenges ourselves. And this is the most important thing.
QN: What is FDC’s way forward?
Latigo: FDC will always survive the ups and downs of politics in this country and we will make progress. You can also see from the level of support we enjoy. We are on the right track and we are not bothered too much by the sentiments that we are about collapse. Some body called us the “Blue bus” fortunately we are not a bus.