Opposition party, Justice Forum (JEEMA) have accused the Najjanankumbi based opposition party Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) of dishonesty and lack of transparency in the efforts to have a joint candidate for the opposition in the forthcoming Bugiri municipality MP elections.
On May 9, a meeting between the two parties failed to reach a consensus on the matter prompting them to schedule a follow up meeting on May 17 which also hit a snag, because JEEMA’s head of delegation Mr. Kibirige Mayanja Muhammed was abroad.
JEEMA’s spokesperson, Kyamundu Abdnoor told this website then, that his party was committed to efforts of having a joint candidate and that they would be available when Mr Mayanja returned.
However, on Monday May 21, FDC party president Patrick Oboi Amuriat, announced and declared Ms Eunice Namatende as the party’s official candidate in Bugiri, adding that having absconded a series of meetings, JEEMA seemed not to be interested in talks.
“We had an interactive meeting with JEEMA officials from May 9, we promised to have another follow up meeting on May 17 and unfortunately, the JEEMA officials never turned up, they seemed not to interested in the meeting,” Mr. Amuriat said.
But, Mr. Asuman Basalirwa, the JEEMA candidate in Bugiri claims that when Mr Mayanja returned from abroad, FDC was notified on JEEMA’s readiness for the talks, but instead, they got no response.
“When Mr. Mayanja Kibirige returned on the next day Friday May 18, he immediately contacted the FDC President that we were ready for the meeting but there was no response from the other side,” Mr Basalirwa said.
He added that: “It is now understandable. I think the reason why there was no response, is because the decision had been taken. Even Hon. Salaam Musumba was on CBS Radio in the morning and she was literally communicating that.”
Asked whether, JEEMA will maintain his candidature and have two opposition candidates, Mr Basalirwa said that his party is the one which wrote to FDC for talks and that JEEMA is still open for negotiations.
On whether FDC has capacity to single handedly win the MP elections in the area, Basalirwa said that history is likely to repeat. No single opposition candidate has ever been fronted in the area.
“Our writing to FDC for talks was aimed at opposition getting victory. There has never been a single opposition candidate in that constituency and that is why we have been losing. Nobody should deceive you that they have capacity on their own to deliver victory,” Basalirwa added.
He revealed that Former Makindye legislator, Hussein Kyanjo has been tasked with responsibility of reaching out to key stakeholders in FDC to continue with the talks even given pronouncements by Mr. Amuriat yesterday. Basalirwa says that dialogue and engagement are JEEMA’s core values.
However, contrary to Mr. Basalirwa, JEEMA spokesperson Mr Ssentongo Abdnoor Kyamundu had no kind words for FDC, describing them as being dishonest, adding that his party will not push for further negotiations with them.
“I think they are just wasting our time. They don’t believe in opposition unity except when it is in their favour. We think it’s a waste of time dealing with dishonest people” Kyamundu said.
“How can Mr. Amuriat say we avoided meetings, yet, he was informed about our absence?” asked Mr Kyamundu.
He added that they (JEEMA) shall not pursue dialogue anymore but are open to negotiations and welcome whoever joins them, adding that if FDC reconsiders their position, JEEMA will be available.