INSIDE FDC’S FEUD OVER KCCA SPEAKER HOPEFULS ABUBAKER KAWALYA, DOREEN NYANJURA
By Isaac Wandubile &
The battle for the Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) speakership has left the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) councilors torn apart between two party members, Makerere University’s Doreen Nyanjura and Rubaga North’s Abubaker Kawalya, who have declared interest in the seat.
The 2019 KCCA Act reintroduced the posts of Speaker and Deputy Speaker, positions which had been hewed off by another law governing the city’s affairs about a decade ago.
All was going well in the FDC camp until the party’s administration, as well as members of People’s Government (PG), a pressure group allied to the political institution, moved in to alter the guidelines for the nomination of the party’s flagbearer.
According to Kawalya, Party President Patrick Amuriat Oboi had okayed the criterion of the FDC Council Caucus picking a flagbearer from among the party’s council members.
Documents seen by Mulengera News indicate that members of the top FDC Executive met all the 18 party members of Council at Najjanankumbi, the party’s headquarters, on December 14, 2019.
Rubaga South III Councilor Faridah Nakabugo, the FDC Caucus Chairperson, chaired the meeting with the party executive members who “tasked us to convene a follow-up meeting” on December 17 “to reach a consensus on the positions of a speaker and deputy speaker of Council.”
The December 17 was supposed to happen at Najjanankumbi but Nakabugo and her team say they were welcomed by “a hostile situation.”
According to a City Hall FDC Caucus Report signed by Nakabugo and Caucus Chief Whip Umaru Kajumba (Makindye West Councilor) and sent to Amuriat and his executive on December 17, the caucus leader says the unfriendly welcome had made them ask the party president to allow councilors “find another venue.” That is how they ended up holding the FDC caucus meeting at City Hall’s Councilors’ Lounge.
Kicking off at 3pm, the meeting discussed events that had transpired in an earlier meeting, that happened on December 11 at City Hall, in which caucus members were attacked by “a combined force of goons claiming to be FDC diehards together with the Lord Mayor’s cadres.”
The instructions from Najjanankumbi, continued Nakabugo in her report, were that the councilors pick two candidates: one for the speaker position, and the other for the deputy speaker role.
For the speaker position, Kawalya, Nyanjura and Kyambogo University Councilor Olive Namazzi expressed interest in the seat. The trio was requested to meet in the Deputy Lord Mayor’s office, speak to each other “and see whether they can reach an agreement.”
About half an hour later, they returned to the caucus with news that they had failed to agree among themselves. Namazzi had asked for more time to go and consult her voters and team, then return the following day, but Nakabugo ruled that the councilors vote on whether to have an election or not. The Chairperson reasoned that the party president had tasked her to “furnish him with a conclusive report.”
Some 13 members voted in favor of an election while five opposed the move. Consequently, 10 councilors chose Kawalya, Namazzi managed one vote while Nyanjura trailed with no vote. Seven members, including candidate Nyanjura, abstained from the exercise. Based on results of the poll, Nakabugo declared Kawalya the FDC flagbearer for the Speaker position.
For the post of Deputy Speaker, Nakawa II Councilor Alice Amony garnered six votes ahead of Happy Nasasira, the Nakawa II Female Councilor, who polled three, and Kawempe South’s Michael Ziggwa Wamala who managed one vote. One vote was declared invalid. After garnering majority votes, Amony was declared the flagbearer for the position.
THE NEW TWIST
Days later, at least five councilors – Nyanjura, Namazzi, Nakawa I Councilor Kennedy Okello, Nakawa II’s Moses Okwera and Makindye West’s Doreen Sabuka – appealed to Najjanankumbi to nullify the outcome of the City Hall poll.
As a result, the FDC executive declared the poll results null and void and issued new guidelines and roadmap for the caucus model repeat poll. The candidates, including Kawalya, picked the guidelines and nomination forms.
Two days later, Nakabugo received a call from the party headquarters instructing her to inform all candidates to pick fresh forms and revised guidelines. While Nyanjura picked the new forms and guidelines for speakership, and Sabuka got the ones for the deputy speaker role, Kawalya refused to get the new documents, reasoning that he wouldn’t subject himself to the NEC decision since the new rules now gave NEC the right to choose flagbearers.
A few days before NEC was expected to decide on the candidates on February 05, FDC’s Deputy Chief Electoral Commission (EC) Chairperson Boniface Toterebuka Bamwenda wrote to the councilors informing them nominations for the two seats had been postponed because “the law seems not to be clear and the Party has sought legal guidance from Party Lawyers.”
Receiving no other communication from the headquarters from that notice of postponement, the Kawalya Camp says they were shocked to learn that the FDC executive had zeroed down on Nyanjura and Sabuka as flagbearers for speaker and deputy speaker positions, respectively.
On Monday, Amuriat, flanked by Secretary General Nathan Nandala Mafabi, told reporters at Najjanankumbi that the party had held four meetings with Councillors to arrive at Nyanjura and Sabuka
The FDC NEC comprises 69 members, but on Tuesday, Kawalya told Mulengera News, only about 15 members had chosen Nyanjura.
The Kawalya Camp, which includes Kajumba, has punched holes into NEC’s choice of Nyanjura.
For example, most of them think Nyanjura is being rewarded for her role in the PG, which is led by four-time presidential candidate Dr Kizza Besigye, and Lord Mayor Lukwago. Nyanjura is a PG Minister and has participated in various FDC defiance campaigns, alongside Dr Besigye and strongwoman Ingrid Turinawe.
Kajumba insists Kawalya is the caucus’ best choice because he was picked by the party Councilors. “The FDC NEC has simply refused to consider the caucus decision. They didn’t follow the procedure when they chose Nyanjura,” said Kajumba.
He added that Nyanjura needed to compete for the post of Deputy Speaker to allow Kawalya groom her for the speaker seat which he plans to occupy for only one year.
Both Kawalya and his fellow camp member Ismail Ddamba of Rubaga South III agreed that by failing to follow the caucus criterion, the FDC had engaged in “brain and political masturbation.”
They also accused Nyanjura of having a “character” problem, and for having failed as the Chairperson of the Revenue Committee. “She doesn’t attend meetings, she thinks she is special and underestimates Councillors,” said Kawalya, whose camp has vowed not to allow PG, headquartered at Katonga Road in Kampala, to decide for the FDC.
On claims that NEC could have chosen Nyanjura for her loyalty to the party and PG, as well as for his continued association with PG rival People Power (PP) pressure group, Kawalya said: “It’s my right to support People Power; I don’t believe in People’s Government because it has promised a lot of things and nothing has happened.”
He added that Owek Joyce Ssebugwawo, FDC’s Vice President for Buganda, can testify of his loyalty and contribution to the party. “I am one of the few councilors who contribute to the party’s events,” he said. But both PG and FDC officials insist they had altered the guidelines to find a candidate who would advance the struggle against the President Yoweri Museveni government.
Bamwenda said they had picked a candidate “who would advance FDC’s political interests”. He added that the party had ditched rules as laid out in the Local Government Act because it was no longer relevant to KCCA.