By Brian mayanja and Moses Mulondo
Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) has summoned Dr. Kizza Beisgye to explain why he is discouraging supporters from engaging in the 2016 general elections.
In a meeting convened on Thursday, FDC national executive committee (NEC) members expressed bitterness towards Besigye on his message, which, they said, was poisonous to the development of strong structures of the party.
Besigye, the founding FDC president, recently announced that he would not participate in any election organised by the NRM Government.
Party members asked their president, Gen. Mugisha Muntu, who chaired the meeting, to allow them to publicly respond to the remarks Besigye made.
But Muntu, according to a source, advised them to take the matter cautiously.
Cecilia Ogwal, the newly-appointed chief whip took time to explain the dangers of shunning the 2016 general elections.
She told them that Uganda People’s Congress and the Democratic Party lost their glory when they boycotted the 1996 elections.
Bugweri County MP Abdu Katuntu made a presentation, outlining the dangers of FDC boycotting elections.
“Political parties are formed to win power through constitutional means. We cannot plan to take power through unconstitutional means,” Katuntu reportedly explained.
He also indicated that boycotting elections would be interpreted as FDC leaders failing to do their work.
The other risk the FDC leaders see in boycotting is the possibility of having many members crossing to the NRM party.
Nabilah Naggayi, the Kampala Woman MP, said if they shunned the elections, NRM would have an upper hand in running the affairs of the city.
Members also denounced association with 4GC, a political pressure group, comprising various politicians from different parties.
“We cannot leave the party in the hands of hooligans. FDC legally exists and we should put emphasis on creating strong structures,” one of the NEC members reportedly said.
The NEC also endorsed the joint opposition programme, which will be launched on Monday in Kampala. Opposition parties FDC, UPC, DP, JEEMA and CP, together with civil society organisations, have held a series of meetings to draft electoral and political reforms that should be implemented for free and fair elections in 2016.
Retired Bishop Zac Niringiye has been the uniting elder for the opposition and civil society groups to jointly work on the programme.
Some of the demands will include an independent Electoral Commission and a new, transparent and clean voters’ register.
Others are exclusion of the army from the electoral process, a new process of tallying election results that leaves no room for rigging, restoration of presidential term limits and blocking the incumbent party from using state resources to fund its political activities.
One of the strategies they have agreed upon is to involve the change-seeking members of the NRM in this cause for electoral and political reforms.
All Opposition candidates who participated in the 2011 presidential race rejected the outcome, saying the elections had been massively rigged.
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FDC to grill Besigye on 2016 boycott talk