FDC party president Patrick Amuriat and Secretary General Nandala Mafabi have denied ever receiving money from the ruling NRM party and instead accusing fellow party members Ibrahim Ssemujju and Erias Lukwago of conspiring to sell the party.
Addressing a press conference at the party headquarters in Najjanankumbi near Kampala on Wednesday, 19 July 2023, Mafabi said the allegations made by Ssemujju and Lukwago against the FDC party leaders are evidence that the duo is not part of FDC.
“Hon [Ibrahim] Ssemujju, [Erias] Lukwago and their group made allegations that we got money from Mr Museveni to fight NUP. Why would the FDC spokesperson be speaking for NUP? That confirms that they are not FDC members. They are just sitting on top yet they are actually members of NUP. It also explains why in the last election Lukwago was more sympathetic to NUP and other forces than FDC. If NUP has any allegations against us, we’re here and ready to explain ourselves,” Mafabi said.
“Hon [Ibrahim] Ssemujju and others made allegations that I made a deal with President Museveni to deliver to him FDC in exchange for Bank for Uganda governor position or minister of finance. Those allegations have been around since 2012. Who doubts my experience and expertise! I qualify for those positions but I’m not interested in working with Mr Museveni. They are making those allegations for their own personal gain,” he added.
This comes after Ssemujju summoned what he called an FDC party delegates conference, claiming that the party leaders were giving away the party to NRM after receiving hefty sums of money.
But Mafabi and Amuriat wondered how this is possible and instead accused Ssemujju and Lukwago of being NUP members.
“The record of the Lord Mayor is clear; he is hopping from one institution to another for political experiences. He thought he would be a mercenary here, but we have no mercenaries here,” Amuriat said.
Mafabi said: “The worst-funded election we had in FDC was in 2021. Amuriat suffered while the Lukwago’s and Ssemujju’s had billboards around Kampala worth up to a billion. Where were they getting the money from? Show me Ssemujju’s airtime kiosk.”
“How can our president, Patrick Amuriat carry the whole FDC structure on a pickup and deliver it to Mr Museveni! Unless those alleging know how to. He who alleges must prove. If they have any evidence against us why can’t they bring it out! It’s because they know we have a reputation. We have been tested by the public and we’re clean,” Mafabi retorted.
“I have declared all my personal assets with the IGG and how I have gained them. When I left the bank, I was being paid $20,000 per month in 2001. When Ssemujju left journalism, how much was he being paid per month? So, if he has all those properties when he was being paid nothing, what about me, who was paid in dollars?” Mafabi added.
Amuriat said the allegations about President Museveni funding FDC activities was first made in 2020.
“We’ve never picked money from Museveni. The only money we got from government was through the Electoral Commission as provided in the Constitution,” he said.
The FDC president said some of their funders for the 2021 polls asked not to be named because “if we did, they could be targetted by the junta regime. Some of them could be business people or working for government but believe in our cause. We’re not about to betray them by publicly disclosing their identities.”
“We call for calm among our members. FDC is our party to which we dedicated all our youthful lives building. We shall never sell it to anybody at whatever billions of shillings,” Amuriat said.
As the FDC party leaders were addressing the press conference, FDC founding leader Dr Kizza Besigye was holding a parallel conference at Katonga Road in Kampala where he called for calm and a national party conference to address the misunderstandings.