Bugiri By-Election: My take on the squabble between Basalirwa and the FDC!
There is an upcoming Bugiri By-Election on the 10th July 2018, this is the new district with a new MPs and councilors. However, this will be focused on the MP election, which has been heated even long before the polls. Like it was been discussion and hard words hit either way. The Opposition has attacked each other and also shown disdain as the FDC are having a candidate and also JEEMA. Therefore, some people are saying they are splitting the vote. But if the candidates are good, then that shouldn’t matter. NRM, FDC and JEEMA fights for the same slot in Parliament.
The Candidates for this By-Election is National Resistance Movement (NRM) John Francis Oketcho, Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) Eunice Namatende and Justice Forum (JEEMA) Asuman Basalirwa. Therefore, there are three candidates, they are competing for the same possible office. This shouldn’t be shocking, as the Democratic Party (DP) and the Uganda People’s Congress (UPC) could in theory have fielded a candidate in this race. Even independents could run in it. So it is not a major crisis that its three candidates. Are the state of affairs so weak, that the opposition only feels safe if they field one candidate in every district?
There are many who is worried about fielding two opposition candidates, especially when many are standing behind JEEMA President Basalirwa, the UPC are standing behind him, Bobi Wine has endorsed him and parts of the rallies. There have been negotiations between JEEMA and FDC for a joint candidate. However, that stranded and the JEEMA team has attacked the FDC. Even went after Dr. Kizza Besigye, just like they did when he campaigned for the FDC candidate in Kyadondo East By-Election. So, we have seen this before. This is trying to tarnish FDC for their work and struggle.
To defend Besigye here is easy, as he has on both occasions just stood behind his party. It is natural, would Museveni rally behind any other party candidate? Both have been part or key person behind establishing their parties. Mao has helped other party candidates, but that is when their party doesn’t field anyone to be the flag-bearer like he did with Amama Mbabazi for President in 2016.
When people complain about the one candidate standing for this place, remember they already scrapped former Leader of Opposition in Parliament Wafula Oguttu. He is not just a random FDC leader and former MP. He was fielded for the slot in 2016. Therefore, Basalirwa should be Namatende is put forward now. That he is so bitter on FDC shows more signs of desperation, than of strength. That Bobi Wine wants the parties to prioritize is natural, but has already used his card and endorsed someone. The FDC has had talks with JEEMA without succeeding. Bobi Wine is also independent, so has not a structure to support or someone else to answer. That does the ones who has parties behind them. That is why it is more hard for a Party President not stand as an MP. Because that is the highest rank except for President. That is why James Akena stood as MP and Norbert Mao tried get in time before the 2016 without succeeding. So if Basalirwa didn’t stand he would show weakness to his party and no one wants that.
So please, just let it be. Let the challenge the NRM as two big opportunities for the Bugiri By-Election. Just like there were two possible candidate to pick from in Kyadondo East, there will be two in Bugiri. If the public want to go for them, then they should vote and stand-by as the counting appears. The NRM will use their tricks. But if they want justice and a fair candidate to elected. All of the parties should rally and be sure to get people behind their candidate. That Basalirwa is black-balling the FDC is just to post his narrative. Instead of seeing that the FDC tried to have talks at all. There is nothing automatic about that. Already Basalirwa have already gotten rid of Oguttu.
The ones blaming all on FDC should understand, that its all up to the parties itself to resolve this. Just like it is understandable that a party want their President to be an MP. There is nothing automatic about that, just ask Mao whose residing at home and waiting from reports from other DP MPs. Surely, Basalirwa want to be in Parliament and not at home.
That is why I say this, work for you cause and your candidate. The throwing shades between JEEMA and FDC will not further the fight against the NRM. Unless JEEMA wants to be a bitter rival who favorable to NRM, as they stood behind the TDC Presidential Candidate in 2016. If that is the case, the voting should be simple. Everyone is entitled to their opinion. However, the FDC has the same right to field their candidate as anyone, but the failed negotiations here is a blunder from both. If they don’t believe Basalirwa can beat the NRM candidate, unless he is alone. That is not a sign of strength, but weakness.
So please, Basalirwa, stop be bitter and spread your political agenda. Do that together with Bobi Wine. That is fine. Just as Besigye and other top officials from FDC support their candidate. That is all natural. But expect the NRM to come with funds and the military like they always do. So, be alert and woke, guard the voters if you believe you have the strength to conquer the NRM. We haven’t heard much about the NRM candidate. Because Basalirwa and the candidacy of Namatende has been so hostile. When it has no reason to be so, unless JEEMA have so little message to spread to the people of Bugiri. Peace.