The upcoming 2023 national delegates conference of the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) is shaping up to be a defining moment for the opposition political party. The question of succession looms large, creating divisions that threaten to undermine the unity the party once enjoyed. Political analysts caution that unless the internal bickering is carefully managed, FDC could find itself in the midst of a succession crisis.
The fissures within the FDC are complex and multifaceted. Some attribute the discord to alleged involvement of “dirty money” from State House, which has only exacerbated existing tensions. Even before this, a simmering power struggle was brewing among members vying for leadership positions.
Presently, the FDC can be seen as divided into two main factions. The first camp, endorsed by the party’s founding father, Dr. Kizza Besigye, consists of the current party spokesperson, Ibrahim Ssemujju, and the vice president for Buganda, Erias Lukwago. On the other side, the second camp is led by party president Patrick Amuriat and secretary-general Nandala Mafabi.
Joseph Tindyebwa, former FDC deputy secretary-general in charge of research and policy, hints at governance failures as a driving force behind the succession crisis.
Dr. Besigye, a key figure in determining the FDC’s succession, has previously endorsed General Mugisha Muntu and later supported the current party president, Patrick Amuriat, over Muntu. However, his current stance remains unclear, leaving room for speculation about his preferences between confidants Lukwago and Ssemujju Nganda.
Amuriat, who appears inclined to support Nandala Mafabi’s bid for leadership if he decides to serve only one term, has faced criticism and accusations of drifting closer to the “yellow camp.”
The schism within the FDC dates back to its 18-year history, primarily revolving around issues of succession. It all began when party founding president Dr. Kizza Besigye passed the torch to former army commander Major General Mugisha Muntu.
As the December delegates’ conference draws near, the uncertainty regarding Dr. Besigye’s favored successor continues. However, it’s evident that his loyalists are gaining prominence within the party.
Political analysts Mwambutsya Ndebesa and Prof. Sabiti Makara underscore the gravity of the situation, describing the FDC’s predicament as a deepening succession crisis.