Uganda’s opposition Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) has refuted claims that President Yoweri Museveni bankrolled the party’s participation in the January 2021 elections.
This week, under the headline “How Museveni Infiltrated FDC”, a weekly newspaper -The Observer ran an article claiming the opposition party had been infiltrated by Museveni to the extent that some of it’s top leaders received support from the man they purportedly wish to uproot.
Quoting “insider sources” the writer claims that prior to the 2021 elections, two high-level party officials separately met President Museveni and “discussed the elections.” The Observer alleges that Museveni through undisclosed third party offered cash part of which was used to buy a fleet of cars party officials used during the 2021 election campaigns.
In a barrage of tweets posted on the party official platform, the party said the story is devoid of supported facts, rife with allegations, and totally misleading.
FDC however admits that indeed the party involved in fundraising activities to pull off the election as The Observer stated but also listed several other sources which it claims helped raise funds for party activities during the 2021 elections. The listed sources include; member’s contribution, candidates contributions, well-wishers’ donations, business community funding, diaspora Chapters donations and credit through institutions and individuals.
“We, therefore, want to state categorically that we as a party have not received neither recorded any funds through the source that the Observer newspaper would like the public to believe” One of the tweets undersigned by FDC Deputy Spokesperson John Kikonyogo states.
FDC also claims it has made annual returns of all its finances and sources to the Electoral Commission diligently and professionally as required in order for it to benefit from government funding for political parties under the Political Organizations Act as amended.
“It is our practice not to disclose our funders other than the obviously known government contribution. This is because it is in the best interest of our funders to remain anonymous given the hostile political environment in which we operate” Kikonyogo said.
“The FDC which has been in existence for 17 years now has participated in all elections (2006, 2011, 2016, and 2021)from the time of reintroduction of multiparty politics in Uganda. To do this, we have at all times prepared and participated in spite of all the legal, administrative, and military deterrents constructed to undermine our effective participation, leading to successful elections supported through effective raising of funds. It is these organs among other responsibilities that decide on whether the party should participate in any election, what level of elections the party can engage in and the lines of financing that can be adopted. We confirm that in the case of the 2021 elections, NEC in its various sittings authorized the raising of funds for electioneering purposes through the following channels:
(iv) Well-wishers’ donations
(v)Business community funding
(vi)Diaspora Chapters donations
(vi)Credit through institutions and individuals (FDC is creditworthy).
We also accept donations in kind.
“We are inclined to believe that the Observer newspaper source of information was either inaccurate, malicious, or both and challenge the paper to reveal their source of information if for the sole purpose of putting the record straight.”
Dr Besigye angry
Following the alleged discussions and eventual “support” from Museveni, The Observer noted that FDC strongman Dr Kiiza Besigye got wind of the dealings and was very angry about it. The article affirms that Besigye felt betrayed by the leadership at Najjanankumbi and expressed urgency to purge the party of people he called businessmen.
It is also stated in the article that Besigye’s minimal participation in the 2021 election campaigns for Patrick Oboi Amuriat could have been a consequence of this incident.
The story comes at the heels of Museveni’s unapologetic declaration that he has been in talks with some officials within the Forum for Democratic Change FDC. While speaking during the election of the speaker at Kololo Indpendence Grounds, Museveni said Democratic Party DP and Uganda People’s Congress UPC are on now good talking terms with his government while FDC is in set to fall in line.
The Observer says tension has been bubbling for months at Najjanankumbi allegedly curtesy of Museveni’s money.