KAMPALA. A meeting of the opposition coalition summit had by press time yesterday hit a deadlock over the choice of a joint presidential candidate (jpc) to lead the alliance in the forthcoming 2016 polls.
The Democratic Alliance (TDA) summit had given a quartet of candidates in former prime minister Amama Mbabazi of the Go Forward team, FDC flag bearer Kizza Besigye, Democratic party President Norbert Mao and former vice president Gilbert Bukenya of the Pressure for National Unity up to Monday afternoon (yesterday) to present a report on their consultations.
Mr Bukenya attended yesterday’s proceedings before briefly leaving to see a doctor. He was reportedly unwell.
Late last evening, Dr Besigye left the TDA headquarters in Naguru, Nakawa division, unceremoniously without a word to the press. At 8.30pm, Mr Mbabazi also left the meeting.
When journalists asked whether he was leaving in protest, he responded: “How can I walk out? I can’t walk out,” he said. He asked the prying journalists to wait for the eventual pronouncement. “Don’t be hasty. Have I told you before, ‘patience is a virtue.’ We expect a decision. It doesn’t matter when it will come. When the process is over you will be informed.” He then turned to his past punch-line before he finally declared his presidential bid. “Can I tell you something you have heard before, ‘You will be told when the right time to tell you comes.”
Supporters of Dr Besigye and Mr Mbabazi camped outside the TDA offices together with journalists who anxiously waited for the summit’s decision. Dr Besigye’s camp remained entrenched on their position to have their candidate lead the alliance or have the two candidates tussle it out on their own but with the backing of the alliance.
In a statement about the goings in the summit published earlier on his Facebook page, Mr Mao confirmed media reports that had attributed the two candidate approach to Dr Besigye.
“In the quartet, only Col Besigye is insisting on that position,” Mr Mao wrote.
The DP leader insisted on the issue of the alliance coming up with one candidate. There was also no indication of Mr Mbabazi’s team moving an inch on their position to have their candidate lead the alliance.
Another position fronted was for the alliance to be dissolved but according to an inside source, this was rejected by members of the alliance.
Dr Besigye also reportedly told the summit that the alliance could not hand the flag to a candidate without tangible structures.
Meanwhile, FDC president Mugisha Muntu has called for calm and patience within the opposition, even as yesterday closed without joint presidential candidate (s).
Gen Muntu who cited anxiety gripping the country because of the delayed decision by the TDA made the call while addressing the media at the FDC headquarters in Najjanakumbi. The former army commander said opposition supporters and democracy seeking individuals ought to remain focused on the main objective which he said is the ousting of the NRM dictatorship.
“The main problem would be if we fail to succeed in coming up with a winning formula but all indications show that we are getting closer to coming up with a winning formula and we are asking our supporters to remain patient but also calm,” Gen Muntu said without divulging details.
At a media briefing on September 11, FDC flag bearer Kizza Besigye had set September 18 as deadline to government to pronounce itself on electoral reforms but Gen Muntu said the party would only return to that question after the TDA process was resolved.
“We are still so absorbed on the issue of coming up with a winning formula in terms of the candidates and it has taken literally all our time. Immediately we resolve that, we shall go back to that question.
FDC 2016 road map
Gen Muntu said FDC was separately preparing for the 2016 polls by putting in place all the things necessary for a successful campaign.
“We are working on the road map, preparation of candidates, gathering signatures. We are working on all things that are necessary to ensure that we go in full scale campaigns when the time comes.”
Last Friday, TDA failed to pronounce itself on the issue of a joint presidential candidate citing need for more time to build consensus. The announcement was pushed to yesterday.