By Henry Chemba
Opposition Chief Whip Ibrahim Semujju Nganda has warned that he will not hesitate to leave the Forum for Democratic Change if he and the group that lost in the last week’s party presidential elections are not treated well by the winners.
Hon Nganda was the Campaign Chairman of incumbent presidential candidate Gen Mugisha Muntu, who lost the top seat to Patrick Oboi Amuriat.
The election however, was more about two rival factions within the FDC, — one tilted toward violence and ‘defiance’ and the other toward change through peace and dialogue – than just the individual candidates.
After losing the election, Gen Muntu uncharacteristically did not promise to work together with the winner for the good of the party. He instead warned of “tough times ahead,” and announced that he will be making an important decision in the coming weeks.
Now his appointed Chief Whip in parliament, Hon Nganda says his stay and that of many others in Muntu’s camp will depend on what Mr Amuriat does at the very start of his leadership.
“It will depend on how he (Amuriat) humbles himself and invites the likes of (Augustine) Ruzindana, Muntu and others to come and guide him,” Nganda said.
“The way (he) treats Muntu now, will determine the way the rest of us will behave.
Nganda said during a radio talk show that his position as Opposition Chief Whip is not big enough to hold him hostage in the party.
“There are people who have a misconception that being chief opposition whip is such a big thing,” he said.
“I left a job where they were paying me millions of money and went onto the street,” he noted, referencing the time he left Daily Monitor after one of his colleagues Kevin Aliro was fired.
“You cannot blackmail me because I am the chief whip; I can give it to you any time.”
“I am one of the people who were defeated in the last election and I have told people; nobody should ever think that I am going to negotiate surrender; that I must work under certain terms,” he added.
Nganda further said on the show, that FDC lost a great leader by voting the former army commander out of office, and warned that he would be hard to replace.
“I feel sad that we lost this opportunity. The trouble is that to get leaders is very difficult. The supporters you can get, they are many; but to get a leader in a political party is hard.
“That is why in the last elections, on day one of the nominations we had nominated 201 Mps, but the direct constituencies were 290. We couldn’t even find 80 nominees. Meanwhile in NRM they had dozens running unopposed.”
During his acceptance speech after winning the elections on Saturday morning, the FDC President elect Patrick Amuriat said that members quitting the party would be one of the scenarios that he would never wish to see.
“Gen. Muntu, I will never stop respecting you as a president that I look up to. I have listened carefully to your remarks and I believe once the dust has settled, you and I must have a discussion about it,” Amuriat said.
Amuriat was quick to remind the delegates that all as members of the party need each other to further the struggle.
“We need each other in FDC, and for me the day I see people taking decisions to abandon the party, that is going to be my greatest day of sadness,” Amuriat said.