The cold war between presidential aspirants Amama Mbabazi and Kizza Besigye is threatening to spiral out of control.
The verbal warfare was sparked off by the race for the joint candidate in The Democratic Alliance [TDA] where Amama overpowered Besigye much to the disdain of FDC party.
The standoff saw about 12 FDC MPs defect from Besigye to Amama with the likes of Beatrice Anywar even condemning Besigye’s “selfishness”.
Amama promised to discuss with Besigye and end tensions while Besigye revealed he had nothing personal against the former Prime Minister.
But their two camps think otherwise.
FDC spokesperson, Ssemujju Ibrahim Nganda, warned that all their members allied to Amama would be asked to leave the party.
Writing in The Observer, Nganda says: “the real reason we rolled the opposition red carpet for Amama was simply because we expected him to cause defections from NRM.”
He adds: “We didn’t know that Amama would at any one moment turn the guns against us. Now one of his key campaigners, Hope Mwesigye, is celebrating what she calls “FDC disintegration.” And that is where the real danger is.”
Nganda said they had even restrained their member and Aruu county MP, Odonga Otto, who led a protest against Mbabazi in Gulu hoping for friendly relations until Amama decided to pursue the disintegration of FDC.
“The truth is that FDC is not disintegrating. What if causing its disintegration becomes a JPAM project like it has been for President Museveni? Such disintegration won’t happen without a fight,” Nganda writes.
“I was shocked to see DP president Norbert Mao declaring Amama the TDA candidate and the latter accepting the “nomination” with a broad false smile. Both these men know that TDA failed to arrive at a consensus for a joint presidential candidate.”
Nganda says what followed that false declaration was a smear media campaign to isolate Besigye.
Nyanjura weighs in
FDC preacher, Doreen Nyanjura, woke up very early Thursday to lash at JPAM camp for working to ruin Besigye.
“There are people who have made it a habit to attack Besigye, and when you do, certainly you will attract our wrath,” she promised.
“Some of us who have seen Besigye suffer, almost being murdered fighting for our rights, will stand with him no matter what.”
According to Nyanjura, Besigye has almost singlehandedly kept the struggle alive in the last difficult five years.
She reminded civil society and all the elites that the struggle will not or may not end in February next year.
“Campaigning and voting is a process that ends in February. In fact, the real struggle may kick off after the elections. That is why we must stand with Besigye.”
Alice Ruhindi defends JPAM camp
Meanwhile, Mbabazi’s sister- in-law, Alice Ruhindi, asked some FDC [guys] who are attacking JPAM and Go Forward to [please] send her a telegram.
“I would have thought at this moment in time the person that should be under attack would be Oga [President Yoweri Museveni]. After all is that not what it has been about all along?”
“Is it me who doesn’t get it?” Ruhindi wondered, adding, “Is there a deeper embedded problem with some members of FDC that we are not aware of?”
She further wondered whether JPAM camp and Team Besigye still shared the same planet or if this was the new breed of Ugandan politics.
“Some people behave as if they are on Museveni’s payroll. Only respectful people should bother to enlighten me,” she rested her case.
FDC NEC divided
There are also reports that the FDC National Executive Committee are divided on the backing of Besigye by the party in the 2016 general elections.
Sources inside the NEC meeting of Monday have told URN that not all members of the NEC attended the meeting, which had been convened to come up with a united stand of the party on the alliance.
Beatrice Anywar Atim, the Deputy Treasurer General of the party says she chose not to attend the meeting because there is no point in discussing withdrawal from an alliance which the party wilfully assented to.
Nganda says party president, Mugisha Muntu, will be meeting top officials on the matter.
He said FDC has about 38 MPs in parliament and those who could be supporting Mbabazi may be “one or two”, saying when contacted, the members denied Mbabazi links.
He said there was no need to cry over spilt milk when “you still have some left in the cup”.
Amama-Besigye negotiations extended
The Democratic Alliance Summit meanwhile extended their negotiations to Friday after a five-hour meeting at their headquarters in Naguru.
The summit meeting, chaired by Prof. Fredrick Ssempebwa, discussed how to handle campaigns for the two presidential aspirants, Dr. Kizza Besigye and former Premier Amama Mbabazi.
The spokesperson of the Alliance, Wafula Oguttu told journalists that the Summit did not finalise its discussions on the matter.
He also noted that the Summit is extending discussions on how to field joint candidates for other elective positions to Friday.