The team that was campaigning for Kizza Besigye as FDC presidential flag bearer has shared its secret and why it defeated the rival team championing Mugisha Muntu, the party president.
The long and tedious 60 days campaign across the country came to a dramatic close at Namboole delegates conference on the Wednesday of September 2, 2015.
Team Besigye says it was, by standards, not an easy task to circumvent given the demanding tasks of limited time and resources and state imposed regulations.
“However with God’s Grace the two teams managed to successfully cover a lot of ground within the time.”
The team chaired by Hon Geoffrey Ekanya and including Ingrid Turinawe, a top FDC female activist, says during the course of the campaign, the two candidates pursued different strategies in popularizing their candidatures:
Team Mugisha Muntu (MM) undertook the campaign strategy of town hall meetings which specially addressed the FDC party delegates who would decide the candidate elections and on the other side, Team Kizza Besigye (KB) pursed a dual strategy of which we can say “shooting two birds with one stone”.
“KB held both town hall meetings and public rallies specifically to rally the citizenry to retake their power which a few elites have stolen and also sell his message directly to the elected FDC party delegates.”
The Team KB task force was headed by Hon Geoffrey Ekanya as the chairman of the various committees under the force.
This contest was clearly a contestation of internal FDC ideology between the two candidates from the onset, Team KB pursed a very people driven strategy against Team MM much herald strategy “building of structures and organizational capabilities”.
As Team KB asserts the tag “The Peoples President” is not born after a few peoples fascination with KB but rather the trust and beliefs the citizens have consistently conferred on him hence the approach taken by the team had to galvanize the support base.
“It’s evident Col Besigye’s candidature reinvigorated FDC support base nationally, the peoples president not only mobilized new volunteers but also in the process recruited new members as well as consolidating the already existing members of FDC,” KB team says.
KB traversed the country with a simple message which resonated very well with the people “Let’s prepare our minds, we coordinate and take action to ensure a free and fair election”.
“We cannot accept Museveni to rig our elections any more. A citizenry that is mobilized enough can demand and enforce on how they should be governed,” he repeated over and over again.
In the course of the campaign, continues the KB team, a really unprecedented wave commenced for the first time of its kind in any campaign in Uganda, the ordinary people mobilized themselves and started to collect contributions, drafted programs, organized security erected the platform, hired tents, chairs and public address systems.
This unprecedented undertaking was done by citizens in some places without the involvement of any leader which testifies and solidifies the level faith and love the people have in KB, to the extent that they eke out their own hard earned resources in this tough economic times to facilitate the campaigns in a very fashionable style.
This wave captured the whole country from Mayo to Amudat, Bugiri to Kabale it was all the same, the people demonstrated a very high level of organization from the grassroots leaders to the fund, mobilize, coordinate, organize and plan to the successes of Team KB campaigns trails.
In every aspect there was a real sense of people owning a campaign, this was purely a people driven grass roots campaign financing.
The level of organization was real example of grassroots politics at play, this goes to the core message of KB that an empowered citizenry can achieve a lot, the facilitation came from the ordinary market vendors, Boda boda cyclists, retail business owners, craftsmen, laborers, single parents, bystanders and farmers.
How the delegates quickly switched loyalty to Team KB:
The intervention by the people to fund the campaign was very crucial in galvanizing the country to rally behind KB and also to bridge so much constrained resource purse in Team KB’s task force, therefore faced with limited resources it to took the ingenuity and good political skills of the team to utilize resources to achieve maximum impact on the people and the delegates.
The skilful use of the resources was down to the final days of the campaign, the team unleashed the winning formula dubbed “Organization in action” implying the team did not just sing chorus or the gospel of winning strategy, organization, organization, organization like the rival candidates team.
The team understood that the final showdown was to turn more delegates to vote for KB in the final hours and the secret weapon was to use various forms of last minute campaign literature, branded stationary from folders, note pads, pens, pamphlets detailing and highlighting the flag bearer countrywide campaign trail with messages that captivated the country.
All these personalized materials was a shocker to the delegates as almost over 1000 delegates at the conference were handed branded stationary from file folders info packs containing a Speech from the chairman Team KB task force Hon EKenya, Introduction letter from field campaign coordinator Hon Amuriat, copy of electoral reforms citizens compact, copy of FDC declaration in support of electoral reforms signed by the party president, note pads, pens, FDC blue T-shirts with party logo, KB budges and pamphlets detailing the highlighting moments of KB’s flag bearer countrywide campaign trail.
These were precious memorabilia for the delegates that they can keep for posterity and its effect was resounding and did miracles for Team KB.
It was a last minute “Organization in action tactical genius” that paid off and won more votes for the team in that night besides the great campaign speeches, town hall meetings with the delegates and public rallies.
KB put up a very impressive performance in the FDC Decides debate coupled with his speech at the delegates conference: “We are still deep in Egypt and Moses still has to lead Israelite s across the red sea and We shall have elections only after reforms”.
These are the messages that won the hearts and minds of the delegates.
No bad blood
Team KB says its instead grateful to Team MM, for presenting a “very formidable opposition, the Team MM consisted of many crafty and witty upcoming leaders, who were very aggressively went about canvassing support for Gen Muntu”.
To FDC, they say, these are all valuable assets for future leadership position with in the party and the country, Uganda greatly needs such intelligent minds.
Gen Mugisha Muntu is the party president and for the past 2 years his stewardship has been characterized by building the internal capacity of FDC party.
In this race for flag bearer position, Team MM put to test the ideals of Gen Mugisha Muntu, who believes in hard work, passion for strong and well organized administrative institutions.
“The DNA of Party President is very active in the democratic credentials that FDC has built internally, in Gen Mugisha Muntu we have a leader who cherishes a culture reconciliation, healthy political competition and this qualities within FDC party has become the envy of many rival parties in Uganda, for this FDC is very grateful to him and to God the Almighty.”
At end of it all, the team with the most appealing message and strategies carried the day “and this is not only a victory to FDC but it’s a great step to the growth of democracy in Uganda”.
Besigye, according to the team, won in a free and fair contest organized by most emerging Democratic Party and the delegates made a decision to entrust KB with the flag.
“The ordinary people who contributed to this victory have a strong believe that KB deserves more than a place in the front seat for fighting to liberate Ugandans from the gun rule.”
His team is confident Besigye has proved to be very resilient and dependable politician of the all-time in Uganda “despite him being wrongly imprisoned in numerous occasions and also being held captive at his own residence by the dictatorship, KB has remained resolute to humiliation, to dehumanization, to torture and he correctly assured the country that the struggle for elections reform is still on.”
“I am not one who throws a towel easily, so my first line of defense is electoral reforms,” Besigye himself went on record affirming his resilience.
Message to Ugandans
The tragedy is the citizens of Uganda seem comfortable in a state of hopelessness with a population that is very despondent from the rich or poor, informed or ignorant, highly educated or less educated, young or old, urbanites or rural folks.
During the struggle to end slavery, it’s the slaves themselves who complained and resisted end of slavery.
They Would say…where do these people want us to go? But we are comfortable with our masters? Just leave us, we are okay. It’s the same mentality of Ugandans who are resisting change.
Our hope lies in the strategies and philosophy of Dr Besigye to liberate us from the gun rule without firing a single gun towards our oppressors.
We are calling upon citizens to take action either through civil actions or continue to use information and communication technologies as a means to express their aspirations and concerns more freely, to mobilize in large numbers, and to collaborate with other citizens countrywide and demand for reforms before elections.
The technology can be used to build resilience and also manage risks in ways that minimize costs, build capacity to sustain our momentum to demand for these critical reforms.
Finally this path would have not been possible without the persuasion of a group of activist who launched a campaign for fuel fund raising.