The exercise is to last 21 days and will be climaxed at the party headquarters where the aspirants will interface with the members of the National Executive Committee (NEC) and MPs, who will also cast their votes, before announcing the flag-bearer.
The Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) national party chairperson and party president are facing off in the primaries for the party's presidential flag-bearer ahead of the 2021 general elections.
Ambassador Wasswa Birigwa and Eng. Patrick Amuriat Oboi were nominated by the election body at the party headquarters and heir search for votes flagged off.
The ceremony which took place yesterday at the party's headquarters in Najjanankumbi, a Kampala suburb, was attended by party members and officials including Kibuuka Mukalazi (vice-chairperson), Joyce Ssebugwawo (vice-president Buganda region), Nandala Mafabi (secretary-general) and Buhweju County MP Francis Mwijukye, among others.
The commission first scrutinized and verified all their documents before they were nominated by the party's electoral commission head, Boniface Toterebuka Bamwenda. Bamwenda said the candidates were free to start their search for votes ahead of the sub-regional meetings, whose dates are yet to be announced.
At the same event, the party also announced Salaamu Musumba as acting national party chairperson and Ssebugwawo as acting. party president until elections are completed.
The candidates are to face off in joint campaigns during subregional meetings.
The meeting will be organised by the party's electoral commission. Previously, candidates would traverse the country campaigning among party delegates, and later delegates would converge for the vote. "We are not having normal campaigns because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
We resolved to have relatively smaller meetings in the 21 FDC sub-regions in line with the health ministry guidelines to avoid the spread of the virus.
The aspirants will be campaigning at these meetings and delegates vote on that very day," the party's deputy publicist, John Kikonyogo, said.
He explained that the counting of votes will be done at every subregional meeting after voting, and declaration of results done immediately.
The exercise is to last 21 days and will be climaxed at the party headquarters where the aspirants will interface with the members of the National Executive Committee (NEC) and MPs, who will also cast their votes, before announcing the flag-bearer. The party has a total of 1,210 delegates countrywide.
After nominations, the candidates were also allowed to address the members. Birigwa promised to boost the economy in order to improve people's livelihoods, improve the deteriorating education system and the health sector. "I want to ensure that all those who graduate have the required skills required in the job market or be able to start their own jobs.
The country is stable, but without economic power it makes no sense," he said. Birigwa noted that with 85% of the population dependent on agriculture, he intends to invest more in the sector to promote commercial/modern agriculture and value addition to the agricultural produce.
Amuriat said he wants to protect the education sector in the country, which has rendered much youth idle despite having qualifications.
He said once given an opportunity to serve Ugandans, he plans to reduce the consumptive expenditures, increase the agriculture budget to over 15%, promote youth employment and health services for all.
"Today the agricultural sector gets about 4% of the national budget yet the Government continues to draw colossal sums and invest elsewhere without supporting the farmers," he added.