At 16:20 hours East African Time on October 22, more about http://cigarworld.com.au/old/cigars/includes/smarty/libs/plugins/function.popup_init.php a Dubai-bound Emirates Flight number EK 730 departed from Entebbe Airport.
Inside this executive plane’s Economy Class were two top FDC leaders – Dr Kizza Besigye and Hon Nandala Mafabi.
The duo was in company of The Democratic Alliance top figure, Dr Zac Niringiye.
After a brief stopover in Dubai, the three leaders at the centre of secret negotiations to front a joint candidate in the 2016 presidential elections, proceeded to London.
In Britain, they met with a highly connected official thought to be an agent of the British government.
Sources have told ChimpReports that the trio met with Mbabazi in Manchester to discuss the strategy for the 2016 elections.
While Dr Besigye has ruled out the possibility of standing down for Mbabazi in the 2016 presidential elections on grounds that the former Prime Minister’s commitment to good governance and accountability is questionable, foreign powers seem determined to persuade the FDC flag-bearer to think otherwise.
“The UK and some powers in the U.S. government have since told Besigye that they will support Mbabazi in the next election. He will either choose to rally behind Mbabazi and take the position of Prime Minister if they win elections or forget about their material support,” said a high ranking source in TDA.
The latest development underscores Besigye’s indecisiveness on the joint presidential candidate.
However, senior TDA officials say for Besigye to run a successful campaign, he still needs the support of two influential powers – UK and United States.
David Cameron’s Conservative Party has for the last ten years been providing money and logistics to FDC.
Besigye has as well tapped into the UK party’s networks to influence foreign powers to reign in on what opposition calls President Museveni’s excessive force in cracking down on dissent.
Forsaking the support of Cameron and maintaining a tight grip on the radical domestic fanbase seems a nightmare for Dr Besigye.
The FDC strongman was physically removed from a TDA meeting and taken to the party headquarters in Najjanankumbi by his radical fans upon hearing that the alliance intended to field Mbabazi as a joint presidential candidate.
TDA speaks out
The TDA issued a statement on Monday, saying Besigye and Mbabazi “under the auspices of the Kofi Annan Foundation held a two-day meeting in London, UK to continue the discussion previously held in Nairobi, Kenya.”
The statement further states that the duo has made “substantial progress in preparation for the 2016 general elections in Uganda.”
Asked if any of the presidential aspirants has agreed to give way for the other, a close friend of both Besigye and Mbabazi responded: “Not yet.”
But TDA said it would “subsequently report to our respective political structures so as to complete the arrangements guaranteeing our success in the presidential elections.”
Pressed to explain why the Democratic Party was not invited for the function in London, the source conversant with the recent developments in TDA observed: “That party was used as a pawn in this whole game. The real deal is between Besigye and Mbabazi. They must agree not to divide the opposition vote to secure foreign backing. The DP was not even invited for the Nairobi meeting.”
TDA official, Godber Tumushabe said the London function was a “meeting of the two candidates endorsed by the member parties of TDA,” adding, “it is also common knowledge the DP has previously declared publicly that it supports the candidature of Mbabazi.”
The second TDA meeting in a foreign country has blown the lid off foreign powers’ growing influence in Uganda’s opposition politics.
There is a report showing Besigye was promised $5m to compensate for his expenses in recent mobilisation activities but this website was yet to confirm this allegation.
According to TDA officials’ plan, Niringiye is expected back in Uganda today while Nandala and Besigye could return this Tuesday.
Mbabazi has been attending to his ailing wife, Jacqueline Mbabazi, in London.
[This story was edited to reflect the view of TDA that the meeting was endorsed by the Alliance’s structures and that DP did not have to send an envoy to London or Nairobi since it has already publicly showed support for Mbabazi].