Patrick Oboi Amuriat, the embattled president of the Forum for Democratic Change, has made a vow that the leadership at the party headquarters will not vacate the premises, asserting that he remains the party president.
Amuriat’s statement came shortly after he was ‘suspended’ by the extraordinary delegates conference in Kampala, and subsequently replaced by city lord mayor Erias Lukwago.
The conference also suspended FDC secretary general Nathan Nandala Mafabi and treasurer Geoffrey Ekanya.
FDC spokesperson Ibrahim Semujju Nganda communicated the conference’s resolution from the ‘People’s Government’ offices at Katonga in Kampala.
Nganda announced that Lukwago is now the party president, with Harold Kaija as the secretary general and Francis Mwijukye as the treasurer.
These individuals previously served as deputies to the suspended officials.
The interim officials will hold their positions for six months as the party seeks to address its challenges.
During an interview with NBS television on Tuesday night, Amuriat described the extraordinary delegates conference as a kangaroo court.
“It is evident to anyone familiar with the organisation of delegate conferences that this one does not fit the description. Essentially, it is an abuse of authority and power. The gathering on Katonga road was in contempt of court, as there is a court order that ordered the halt of the extraordinary delegates conference, which was defied,” he said.
Amuriat stated that the decision made at the conference does not affect him, and that they are not concerned.
“I suspect that some members of the party will return to court and raise the issue of contempt of court,” he added.
He emphasised that he is still the party president, and that no one has the authority to remove him from office because the conference was illegal.
“We will remain in Najjanankumbi. This is just a joke; we will not leave Najjanankumbi and this will not happen. We were elected into office. The manner in which they claim to have removed us was crude and uncalled for. They should wait for an election to either vote us in or out,” he said.
Amuriat explained that those who witnessed the extraordinary delegates conference would understand that it was intended to settle personal scores, rather than resolve disputes.
“The meeting was aimed at targeting certain individuals within the party, and this has been a long-standing issue.
It was a scripted plan that started many years ago by some of the proponents of that meeting when they thought they could control the authority in Najjanankumbi, but failed,” he added.
“They thought they could manipulate me, but they found it impossible.I am my own person.I am an experienced politician, and I will not be dictated to by anyone. They attempted to control me and failed, which is why they are going after the leadership in Najjanankumbi,” he continued.
Amuriat noted that the organisation of the conference was quite different from the norm, and it was unclear whether it was a legitimate delegate conference or not, as those in attendance were not elected leaders.
He stated that the elected leaders of FDC are well-known.
The extraordinary delegates conference, called by FDC chairman Wasswa Birigwa, was originally scheduled to take place at his Nature’s Green Beach Resort in Busabala.
However, by 8 am on Tuesday, security forces had deployed at the entrance of the beach to block the meeting.
Over 15 officers from the field force unit (FFU) and more than 10 military personnel were stationed at the entrance of the beach.
Early-morning delegates were denied access and asked to leave, while journalists were informed that there was no activity taking place at the venue, and were therefore told to stay away.
Near the beach, in the trading centre, over 30 non-uniformed men were observed beating a man who identified himself as a delegate for the conference.
When it became clear that the conference could not proceed at the scheduled venue, delegates convened at the Katonga office to hold the meeting.
On Monday, FDC deputy spokesperson John Kikonyogo accused colleagues pushing for the conference of having ill intentions towards the party president and the secretary general.
Speaking at a press conference held at the party headquarters in Najjanankumbi, Kikonyogo stated that the proponents of the extraordinary delegates conference lacked clear objectives, except for their desire to oust Amuriat and Mafabi.
Birigwa had called for the extraordinary delegates conference to address various issues within the party, including contested internal elections, allegations of corrupt money, and concerns regarding poor governance.
When allegations of financial misconduct sparked public debate nearly three months ago, a group of FDC members called for the suspension of elections until the issue was resolved.
However, the party president and the secretary general rejected the proposal, arguing that they couldn’t suspend a party activity that had already been approved by the national executive committee (NEC) and the council.
The elections, which faced significant opposition, were said to have taken place in different parts of the country.
By the time FDC held its special national council on 28 July, it was understood that several areas had already elected their leaders at the village level.
Kikonyogo stated that the national council resolved that areas that had yet to elect their leaders should work with the electoral commission to organize elections there.
He dismissed Birigwa’s claim that he had received petitions against the election, stating that election petitions should be addressed to the party electoral commission and the elections tribunal for appeal, and not to the office of the national chairman.