Amid heavy deployment of riot police outside the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) party headquarters at Najjanankumbi near Kampala, Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago was unveiled as the opposition party’s newest member.
Under the watchful eye of the party’s strongman, Dr. Kizza Besigye, FDC president Patrick Amuriat Oboi, and secretary-general, Nathan Nandala-Mafabi handed Lukwago an FDC card, number 616467, cementing his new relationship with the party that he has closely worked with for more than a decade.
By this, the Kampala Lord Mayor had effectively denounced his life membership to the Democratic Party (DP), a party that he served as Legal Advisor before falling out with its current president, Norbert Mao.
“Dr Paul Kawanga Ssimogerere recognized me in 2004 with a life membership card number 11 for my contribution to the DP and the struggle to liberate Uganda. The next question you are going to ask me is that, “what are you going to do with that card?” Let me answer it now, it is going to remain in my archives as a souvenir or call it a memento,” Lukwago said.
Lukwago has been an estranged member of the DP ever since Mao took over the leadership of Uganda’s oldest political party in 2010 when he and other party members including MPs Mathias Mpuuga (Masaka Municipality), Betty Nambooze (Mukono Municipality), Moses Kasibante (Lubaga North), Muwanga Kivumbi (Butambala) and Medard Lubega Sseggona (Busiro East) contested the legality of the delegates’ conference that convened in the eastern Uganda town of Mbale at which Mao got elected.
The result of the fallout was the formation of the Ssuubi 2010 pressure group which later joined the Dr. Kizza Besigye-led Inter-party coalition (IPC) ahead of the 2011 general elections.
Five years later, in 2015, Lukwago formed another pressure group named Truth and Justice (TJ) which however did not register as much success as Ssuubi 2010.
Lukwago tagged his fall out to the DP having what he called “non-credible” leaders whom he accused of keeping him “in the cold for too long.”
“The strong record I have in DP can’t be easily wished away… I am convinced beyond any doubt that now is the time for me to move on and begin a new chapter in my political life,” he said.
“I have been here [at the FDC headquarters] several times, I have flashed the V-sign [FDC symbol], chanted the FDC slogan several times but in the capacity of a visitor, well-wisher, and comrade in the struggle. I am glad that I am now here as a fully-fledged member of the FDC,” Lukwago said.
He dismissed talk that he is joining FDC in return for some favours saying that the two terms he got elected City Hall as Lord Mayor were without the backing of any political party.
“It is time to cement my bond with the party that has always stood with me in all the struggles I have had,” Lukwago said.
As the party prepared to unveil him as its member, there was talk that he is also being prepared to hold the FDC flag at forthcoming presidential elections now that it is increasingly getting clear that Besigye will not challenge Museveni for the fifth time.
Nominations of candidates aspiring to lead the party into the 2021 presidential elections will be held next week.