Retired Major Rubaramira Ruranga says this is the time for the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) to build and strengthen its systems in order to move forward.
Rubaramira was the lead petitioner after the party’s November 2012 Presidential elections citing numerous irregularities that led to the formation of a commission of inquiry.
In the elections, Major-General Mugisha Muntu defeated Budadiri West MP Nandala Mafabi and his Tororo counterpart Geoffrey Ekanya to replace Dr Kizza Besigye as party leader. But the supporters of Mafabi, the Leader of Opposition in Parliament, accused the FDC Electoral Commission of rigging the ballot to favour Muntu, a claim that threatened to tear the party apart.
Against the party electoral commission which he once headed, Rubaramira claimed that there was vote rigging, stuffing, messed up declaration forms and invalidation of Nandala Mafabi’s votes among others.
Speaking to press early this month, Major-General Mugisha Muntu, FDC Party President, said the only way to eliminate such complaints is by using an electronic voter register. However, Rubaramira argues that it’s not machines that mess up elections but individuals.
During the hearings of the commission, majority of Nandala’s supporters including FDC Deputy Spokesperson Toterebuka Bamwenda had stopped appearing at the party headquarters. This among others painted a visible picture of cracks at the leading opposition party with several missed press conferences in the past months.
Now Rubaramira says the Nandala sympathizers are going to hold a team meeting because he had promised that the outcome of the report shall be their way forward.
John Kikonyogo, one of the petitioners says the report is not final, but it must be discussed in all the party organs before adoption. He argues that the truth and reconciliation part was done by the commission of inquiry; however, other avenues should be explored for individual differences.
Kikonyogo reveals that some party members are not in agreement with some of the recommendations in the report. Recommendation four of the report states that in a bid to promote internal democracy and cohesion the party should hold a general election for all offices from grassroot to Party President in 2014 or as soon as practicable.
The report also calls for the terms of the party President to be synchronized with terms of other party positions, recommending a four or five year term as may be practical. Otherwise, it adds, there would arise a situation where a general election is held without electing a Party President which defeats the purpose of a General election.
Kikonyogo argues that during the elections, they knew they were electing a President to complete two years at the helm before elections are held after the 19 of February 2014 when Muntu’s tenure expires.
The FDC official also insists the electoral process must be cleaned to avoid irregularities that took place in the 2012 elections. Kikonyogo adds that Alice Alaso’s duties as FDC secretary general must be streamlined so that she knows where to start and end instead of over stepping her authority.
However, for now, they are going to stick with the party and pave a way forward.