FDC PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE: BUILDING DEMOCRACY

Forum for Democratic change is Uganda’s leading opposition party. Formally started on 16th December 2004, the party is a breed of dissenting voices to the 26-year regime of Yoweri Kaguta Museveni. Many of the founding members of the party trace their political roots to the NRA guerilla war that ushered in the NRM regime in 1986.

FDC party participated in the 2006 elections from where they won 34 out of the 289 parliamentary seats, a major step to their walk of democracy. the FDC flg-bearer in that election Col. Dr. Kiiza Besigye went ahead to win 37.4% of the vote, a result he contested over alleged rigging and bribery of voters. The supreme court went on to affirm his allegations though contended that the result was not sufficient enough to overturn the election.

FDC went on in the quest for democracy and contested in the 2011 elections where the party suffered a major decline in it’s perfomance getting 34 seats as compared to the 37 in the 2006 elections and the party flag-bearer Col. Kiiza Besigye garneering 26.01% of the vote.

The quest for a new party president has been ongoing with three prominent personalities challenging for the slot.

1. Gen. Mugisha Muntu

A prominent former army commander for 9 years, born in 1958 in Kitunga village to Enock Muntuyera and Aida Matama Muntuyera, Muntu is running for the second time for the presidential office of the FDC party. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Makerere university and is a christian.

2. Nathan Nandala Mafabi

A revered former public servant and legislator/ leader of opposition in parliament are soMe of the few defining words that stand stature for the graduate of statistics and economics in Makerere from where he holds a bachelor of laws too. He was blown to the political limelight as one of the country’s best graft fighters while serving his term as chairman of public accounts committee. Nandala hails from Bugisu and is a christian too!

3. Geofrey Ekanya

He holds a master of arts in sociology from Makerere university and is the current shadow minister for finance in parliament. He is the legislator for Tororo county.

The presidential debate will be live on WBS television a local station.

4:05 pm : the show is underway, tense moods in the room, faces of expectation as Charles Mwanguhya, a prominent journalist announces the panel of judges as Angelo Izama, Job Kiija and himself, moderated by peter Kibazo

4:10: The candidates take to the podium to commence a hot,fierce debate on national matters also to add, the first of its kind, national anthem follows

4:15 pm; Mugisha Muntu having problems with microphone but keeps his pitch high. re-affirms belief in freedom,democracy, transparency and zero-tolerance on corruption. “I believe in building party democracy” reemphasizes need to hasten the fall of the NRM regime due to impeding problems hitting the nation at the time

4:18pm; Geofrey Ekanya takes to the microphone and gives the history of the FDC party. His candidature is bent on re-affirming belief in the opposition. “We need the party to be strong in the youth, women and children

4:23pm: Nathan Nandala Mafabi : “I left public service to join politics”….the country needs systems that work and infrastructures running. He adds that he has won three elections and has an FDC blanket of leaders in his district. “to build a strong and accountable party”

4: 25; what will it take to restore faith in governance?
asks the moderator

4:27; dead microphones….cannot hear a thing….sorry for inconveniences

4: 35 pm . Candidates take seats after the first round of debate.

4:43 pm; the second round of debate commences…..

4: 45pm; Muntu: answering the security question of foreign engagements …..AU and EAC should move in to consolidate gains in the Somalia.

Ekanya responding to whether Uganda has interest in the Congo, accuses Museveni of using the security question in the region for political survival.

Mafabi responds to whether Uganda’s interventions in the region are genuine. No they are not, He gives an account of how Uganda has had a history of interventions pegged with gross theft of funds citing Congo. Echoes Ekanya’s claim that the regime is surviving on the interventions therefore they are not justified.

4:53 pm; Muntu responds to why the party has been losing elections and his plan to change the party fortunes. He corrects the statement saying the party has been cheated for the past elections. The political environment of bribery and intimidation has not enabled smooth operation. Focus must be put on fulfilling electoral reforms and strong party structures. The recruitment from grassroots must continue to be profound

4:56PM; Ekanya responds to how he will consolidate a divided electorate, strengthens that the party must be profound in rural activity and says the party need s to focus on young people.

5;02 pm; what is important is accountability and public trust will be bought says Nandala

5;10 pm; Angelo peeks into the backstage moments with his tweet “Backstage Muntu asks Nandala ” do you believe we have never contributed to the party”? Both laugh. Break now #FDCPresidentialdebate”

5; 12 pm; Muntu; we have a joint position with the opposition, we have tried negotiating with the ruling party though they have never shown seriousness in doing so. The regime must have an agenda and a wider interest group involvement.We also want to advise the security services that they must create an atmosphere for change and change is inevitable, so they must learn to manage the situation.We must disintegrate the movement in all regions to attract all Ugandans to the FDC.

I will never share power with the NRM says Muntu.

5:18pm; Ekanya: The relevance of Museveni is slowly being cut-off and elections shall be the final blow he suffers. Talks with NRM are a waste of time! 14 years of parliament and mobilization, my candidature is committed and all national executive meetings shall be taken to the village.

5: 22pm: Nandala: I am beneficiary of a bullet in the leg due to guarding elections. strong party structure will guarantee a party campaign not a personal campaign. the party needs a strongman with capacity and skill just like I do says Nandala.

the election should be decided by experience and not anything else.

cut away all RDC’S and re-unite   the already factioned districts is Ekanya’s latest proposal.

5:48 pm; It was a NEC decision to suspend all shadow ministers from the shadow cabinet and I wasn’t party to the discussions though I am bound by them.- Mafabi

the party will continue doing what it deems right, If the party decides we provide accountability I am ready to account.- Muntu

candidates responding to funding queries;

– I have received funding from DP, UPC and not NRM – Ekanya

– I have received funding from no party but individuals – Muntu

– I have received no funding from those parties – Mafabi

final remarks by the debaters…

Muntu: “Uganda is in a leadership crisis, a credibility crisis and that’s what I offer”

debate ends…

For the first time in the unknown years of existence as a nation, Uganda has witnessed a turn around from the politics of guns and bullets to microphones and speeches! congratulations FDC for moving a step into democracy!

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