By Paul Watala
The Leader of Opposition, Nathan Nandala Mafabi, has regretted contesting for the FDC presidency which he lost to Gen. Mugisha Muntu, saying he wishes he had known the opposition party had "cheats".
Now the Budadiri West MP has expressed interest in forming his own political party under which he will contest for the presidency in 2021.
Mafabi told voters during several rallies over the weekend not to make the mistake of not sending him back to Parliament because it may frustrate his “plans for 2021”.
He said he has all it takes to start his own political party, “that will shake President Yoweri Museveni”.
“For God’s sake, if President Museveni got to know that Nandala is not contesting in the 2016 presidential elections, he will not move around the country because he knows his opponent in the opposition is weak,” Mafabi said, in a veiled reference to Mugisha Muntu, the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) president.
“It is only me who can give Museveni sleepless nights because of the support I have and style of vote hunting. Recently, I proposed that every person who contests for the presidency must be an MP and Muntu disagreed with me because it would lock him out,” he said.
Mafabi was addressing rallies in Nalusala, Bunyafwa, Buteza and Sironko town. In Buteza, he regretted having contested for the FDC party presidency.
“I wish I knew that even in FDC there are cheats. I would not have wasted my time contesting against Mugisha Muntu. I only fear God and it is better to speak the truth even if it means sleeping hungry,” Mafabi said.
He accused the party’s top officials, especially Alice Alaso, the secretary general, of influencing the results.
Margaret Okuri, a top FDC official, said with pressure from supporters in West Nile and the northern region, they are contemplating granting Mafabi a chance to start his own political party.
Mbale district FDC chairperson, Nasur Mabanja, pledged support for Mafabi’s plan of starting his own political party. Mafabi is in the region to consult voters and FDC leaders.
Residents block Mafabi's convoy
Relatedly, on Saturday, angry residents in Sironko district mounted an impromptu road-block at Kidoowa trading centre in Budadiri West, blocking the convoy of the opposition politian who was enroute to address his supporters in Nakisala sub-county.
The residents were armed with sticks, placards and bottles of alcoho. PHOTO/Paul Watala
Mafabi, who was due to give his constituents accountability for the last three years, first challenged his accusers with questions, asking any of them to single out any of the pledges he had not fulfilled.
The residents, who were armed with sticks, placards and bottles of alcohol blocked the road with huge logs as early as 6:00am and kept checking every car that crossed to Nakisala.
They chanted Lumasaba songs while others displayed placards accusing Mafabi of not fulfilling a number of pledges he made during the campaigns in 2011.
As fate would have it, Mafabi’s convoy arrived at Kidowa trading centre at about 1:00pm, only to be intercepted by the angry residents, asking him to disembark and explain why he had failed to fulfil his pledges.
Residents kept on heckling as he tried to explain himself, while others booed him for the over 30 minutes . They asked him to apologise for making empty promises.
Salim Gidudu, a resident of Kidowa, said while campaigning in 2011, Mafabi pledged to extend power, piped water, buy mattresses for everybody in the constituency, adding that he also pledged to supply hoes to each household, none of which he fulfilled.
Mafabi, however, apologised to the crowd that consisted of NRM and FDC supporters. He promised to fulfil some of the pledges before the expiry of his term.
“Please, I beg you to consider my apology and take it in good faith. But I ask my supporters not to lose hope but understand that I am not God to do everything I promised in time. You should not be used by the NRM to fight the person you elected,” Mafabi said.
Even when a hen steps on its chick, he reasoned, it cannot kill it.
“So please do not forget me when I come back asking for your support and votes,” Nandala pleaded.
After the standoff, he was allowed to proceed to address the residents of Nakisala, where he denied allegations from the crowd that he received sh800m from the Government as compensation for his vehicles that were destroyed during the 2011 campaigns.
“Very many people are spreading harmful propaganda that President Yoweri Museveni gave me sh800m but it’s not true because Museveni can never give you money and he does not announce! I am not too broke to take money from the NRM Government,” the Budadiri West MP told his constituents.