Museveni is pumping money into FDC, Besigye Reveals

Museveni’s Financial Influence on FDC Acknowledged by Besigye

Dr. Kizza Besigye, a four-time presidential candidate, has finally spoken out about the internal conflicts plaguing the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC), an opposition party in Uganda. In a press conference held on Wednesday, Besigye admitted that the party, which he played a part in establishing, is currently under the influence of the state.

Besigye revealed that substantial amounts of money have been flowing into the party during every election cycle. He pointed out that party delegates from rural areas are being accommodated in luxurious hotels, not by the party itself, but by individual candidates. According to Besigye, this type of behavior signifies that the party is being controlled by external forces.

When asked for more details regarding Museveni’s financial involvement in the FDC, Besigye mentioned the formation of a committee tasked with investigating these allegations. He stated that a report is being prepared, and it would be unfair to disclose any information before its release.

Concerns about Amuriat’s Compromise

Earlier this week, several FDC members, led by spokesperson Semujju Nganda, shed light on the internal turmoil within the once-dominant opposition party. They accused the current party president, Patrick Amuriat, and Secretary General Nandala Mafabi of having a propensity to “sell” the party to President Museveni.

Besigye, speaking on Wednesday, revealed that after the 2016 general election, he realized he would never stand against President Museveni in any future elections. In 2018, he called a meeting in Namugongo, where he informed all FDC leaders of his decision not to run in the 2021 general election.

“In 2015, I faced immense pressure to run in 2016, and to avoid that, I made it clear in 2018 that I wouldn’t be available and that they should find another candidate. Unfortunately, the party failed to initiate any process to select an alternative candidate. As 2021 approached, they once again approached me to be a candidate,” Besigye explained.

He emphasized that when he insisted on not running, the FDC was left without a candidate for the 2021 election. Amuriat became a last-minute compromise as the overall party leader.

Besigye stated that this situation created a desperate scramble for campaign funds. Fundraising for an election depends on the candidate’s identity, as fundraisers want to support and establish a relationship with the candidate. With no clear candidate and no plans in place, the FDC struggled to secure funds for the campaign.

Besigye recounted that despite the party’s requirement for a campaign bureau to strategize for the upcoming elections, it was nonexistent on the eve of the 2021 general election. Even when it was eventually established, it was too late.

“The party entered the campaign without a plan, candidate, or campaign bureau. This already set them up for trouble. They then started pressuring me to help them raise funds, but I had no one to approach. Time was ticking, the election was approaching, and there were other challenges like COVID. In the midst of this chaos, Amuriat emerged as a candidate. It is in this messy situation that the issue of questionable funds arose,” Besigye revealed.

Besigye shared that upon discovering this situation, he discussed it with trusted party leaders. However, they were unhappy with him for raising the issue. Consequently, he stepped back, and the elections proceeded.

FDC’s State of Capture

Besigye, a four-time presidential candidate, expressed his belief that political parties in Uganda are falling prey to state capture. He explained that these parties continue to function as democratic institutions in a democratic society, with their main roles being the organization of ideas into political programs and the development of leaders for elections. However, Besigye argued that this notion is nothing but a fallacy.

“When there is state capture, you cannot simply present yourself and compete within a politics that has been commercialized, as seen in Europe. I became fully convinced of state capture in elections after the 2011 elections within the FDC. I suggested adjustments to adapt to this new reality while I was still a leader. However, I received no support,” Besigye lamented.

He insisted that since Ugandan political parties want to operate as if they were in a democratic country, they have become susceptible to state capture. With the economy under Museveni’s control, political parties lacking sufficient funds must rely on the government, either formally or informally. This, according to Besigye, is how parties end up with both positive and negative factions, such as the “good” and “bad” within FDC, DP, and NUP.

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