The Democratic Alliance-TDA summit has convened in a three day retreat at Royal Suites Hotel in Bugolobi to select the joint opposition candidate.
Four candidates are contesting for election as the joint opposition candidate.
They include Kizza Besigye, the Forum for Democratic Change-FDC flag bearer, DP’s Nobert Mao, former Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi and former Vice President Professor Gilbert Bukenya.
Sheila Kawamara Mishambi, the deputy spokesperson of The Democratic Alliance says the summit will first discuss and adopt the criteria to be followed in choosing a candidate.
Besigye team demand disqualification of Mbabazi
The representatives of Besigye on TDA Candidate’s Selection Committee want the ex-Prime Minister disqualified from the race for the joint opposition candidate.
Ingrid Turinawe and Panga Gloria argue that Mbabazi was fraudulently nominated since he returned his nomination forms after the set deadline and that TDA members who received the forms didn’t constitute quorum.
The duo expressed their concerns in a minority report they tabled before The Democratic Alliance Summit.
According to URN, The Democratic Alliance Summit discussed the report on Wednesday alongside the main Candidate’s Selection Committee report.
The main report rated Mbabazi as the most favourite candidate.
The report also recommended that once Mbabazi is selected as the joint presidential candidate, Kizza Besigye, Norbert Mao and Prof Gilbert Bukenya – the other contenders should form his campaign team.
One of the reasons advanced for recommending Mbabazi, is, that he enjoys support in government structures including the army, Police and Prisons and intelligence.
The report also notes that Mbabazi has a good number of ministers and MPs on his side, relatively better structures in the judiciary and is better placed to woo more people from the ruling National Resistance Movement compared to Besigye.
It also notes that it is better for the alliance to front a new face in the race for the presidency since Besigye has made three futile attempts since 2001.
Besigye contested for presidency in 2001, 2006 and 2011 and lost to the incumbent President Yoweri Museveni.
According to sources, although the Summit discussed both reports, no concrete conclusion was reached.
Further discussions are expected to continue later today.
TDA, twice bent rules to have Mbabazi nominated last Friday night. Nomination was extended to midday the next day after the expiry of the deadline, but Mbabazi returned the nomination forms late in the evening.
TDA is a loose coalition of opposition political parties, civil society and pressure groups.
Mbabazi youth fire back
The development has not gone down well with NRM Poor Youth allied to Mbababzi.
Adam Luzindana, the chairperson of NRM Poor Youth Forum, says their goal is to defeat President Museveni in 2016 Presidential Election.
“Our Go Forward Candidate is H.E Amama Mbabazi. If TDA summit consider Mbabazi as TDA Presidential Candidate, we will commit our efforts towards actualizing the principles of TDA but operating independently as NRM Poor Youth Forum as we struggle to bring an end to the reign of president Museveni.”
Luzindana says they have no problem with Besigye contesting as FDC presidential candidate or an Independent candidate.
“We see no harm. We support this position and it’s an advantage in the struggle to defeat the 30 years dictatorship. We need to reach out to the masses, we must prepare the masses for the aftermath of the election. The bitter truth is Museveni must go in 2016.”
Luzindana warned that if TDA summit consider Col Besigye as its presidential candidate, NRM Poor Youth Forum will request Mbabazi to contest on Go Forward Ticket.
In other words, he continued, both Besigye and Hon Mbabazi must contest for presidential election if we are to defeat Museveni in 2016.
“Museveni’s strength is only in rigging but with two strong candidates all against him, the rigging will not go him.”
Luzindana further alleged that President Museveni has no support because he used to enjoy support in rural areas but things have changed and peasants are now behind for Mbabazi.
“Col Besigye has great support in urban areas yet Museveni has meagre support in urban areas, JPAM has support amongst the students, elites and middle class yet Museveni has support from Asian investors in Uganda.”