The Forum for Democratic Change (FDC), once Uganda’s strongest opposition party, is currently facing a bitter split that threatens its unity and relevance in the country’s political landscape. As the party expected to reinvent itself after the departure of its prominent leader, Dr. Kizza Besigye, it finds itself trapped in a complex situation with two factions vying for control. The recent chaos was sparked by the party’s grassroots elections, leading to a clash between party leaders and causing deep divisions within the FDC.
The chaos within the FDC began with the party’s grassroots elections. Claims emerged that a faction led by Secretary-General Nathan Nandala Mafabi and Party President Amuriat Oboi had been holding meetings across the country, spreading hate speech against key figures within the party, including Ibrahim Ssemujju and Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago. These allegations further accused the Mafabi-led faction of voter manipulation and the registration of unverified new members.
In response to these internal conflicts, Party Chairman Wasswa Birigwa decided to suspend the party’s grassroots elections until the National Council could investigate the matter. However, the Nandala-led faction rejected this decision, arguing that Birigwa lacked the mandate to halt the election process.
The Nandala faction remains defiant, urging party members to participate in the grassroots elections despite the suspension. In contrast, the Ssemujju and Lukwago factions support the suspension, claiming that Nandala’s group is attempting to fast-track the elections to formalize ties with the ruling National Resistance Movement. This has led to a call for a consultative meeting to address the conduct of the Nandala faction.
Ssemujju accuses Nandala Mafabi and Patrick Amuriat of receiving a significant sum of money from an undisclosed source during the election period. The Nandala faction denies these accusations but has failed to disclose the source of the funds, raising suspicions among other party members.
For some time, rumors have circulated about certain FDC members, including Nandala Mafabi and Patrick Amuriat, allegedly collaborating with President Museveni to compromise the party’s principles. While these rumors have been denied, they have contributed to the escalating tensions within the party.
FDC is currently navigating through uncharted waters, grappling with a bitter split between two factions. The party’s future remains uncertain as internal conflicts and rumors of collaboration with the ruling party threaten to weaken its stance as Uganda’s primary opposition force.