An internal war is raging in the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC), visit this site as popular musician Robert Kyagulanyi alias Bobi Wine threatens to grab the most powerful opposition party’s stronghold of Kyadondo East.
At worst, Bobi Wine could share the ‘defiance vote’ with FDC candidate Apollo Kantinti in the hugely contested by-election hence gifting NRM’s Sitenda Sebalu a landslide victory.
“If it’s mishandled; it goes,” said FDC’s Deputy Electoral Commission chief, Michael Kabaziguruka.
By Monday morning, FDC officials were openly exchanging insults on social media over the Kyadondo East race.
Kabaziguruka told ChimpReports that a primary election was held in 2016 to determine the FDC flag-bearer during which Kantinti emerged victorious.
However, this victory was challenged in a petition to the party’s EC.
This matter was referred to a working committee which resolved to uphold Kantinti’s victory hence his participation in the general elections.
Kantinti would later in 2017 be removed from Parliament on grounds that the election results from 9 polling stations were not included in the final tally.
According to informed officials, Bobi Wine wanted to contest for the Kampala Central MP seat but dragged his feet, possibly fearing to lose to firebrand Mohammed Nsereko.
In 2011, Bobi also considered taking part in Kyadondo East MP race but changed his mind at the last minute.
When Kantinti was kicked out of the House; Bobi Wine appeared embolden to take on the mantle.
He started by visiting FDC honco Dr Kizza Besigye at Kasangati.
Highly placed party officials said Besigye told Bobi Wine he could only support a candidate agreed upon by the party.
This, Besigye added, was not meant to discount Bobi’s support for FDC political programmes including the defiance campaign.
Bobi Wine’s residence in Gayaza is a 20-minute drive from Besigye’s Kasangati home.
The singer has publicly praised Besigye’s works hence winning the admiration of the strongman’s huge fan base.
According to sources, Bobi wanted FDC to withdraw their candidate in his favour.
“Bobi Wine told us to give him the ticket and remove Kantinti from the race. He said he had agreed with the Democratic Party (DP) not to have a candidate in the race which came to be untrue. Either he was duping us or he was being duped,” said a senior FDC member who preferred anonymity to speak freely.
“But we told him that much as he had associated himself with the struggle, his political inclination was not clear to us. He was not an FDC card-holding member.”
Bobi’s participation in the race left FDC divided.
Some officials argued that while the party had endorsed Kantinti; Bobi Wine would make a better MP given his oratory skills and nationwide appeal.
It is alleged Kantinti was performing miserably in Parliament.
Others observed that Bobi Wine has a national fan base which FDC would tap into for political mobilisation against President Museveni.
In short, Bobi’s brand would attract younger fans, including NRM supporters, to the FDC party. They also called for a fresh primary election to elect the FDC flag-bearer.
But conservative FDC leaders poured scorn on these suggestions, saying Bobi Wine has never been a party member.
Kantinti supporters said they would not imagine a scenario where a tested member of the party would be abandoned for a new political entrant whose allegiance and popularity remain sketchy.
Doreen Nyanjura said she had never supported an independent against any FDC candidate, insisting, “I am not about to start doing that now. I respect and will stick to our FDC constitution.”
She added: “I however do understand and respect that it is a constitutional right for other Ugandans to contest as well.”
Kabaziguruka said the matter is “straightforward”, adding, “FDC resolved to support Kantinti. The party set its precedent by endorsing Kantinti and has no intention of turning against it.”
He said Kantinti could not be subjected to another primary election.
“That’s the position of our party. He was certainly the flag-bearer,” said the Nakawa lawmaker.
For some time, Besigye has expressed his satisfaction with the fact that his area of residence (Kasangati) and birthplace (Rukungiri) were represented in Parliament by FDC.
But Bobi’s entrance in the political fray could tilt this state of affairs in favour of an independent or ruling party candidate.
FDC supporter, Rajab Kaaya Sema, says this election is not between Katinti, Muwada and Bobi Wine.
“It’s an election for FDC to reclaim its stronghold and a historical Constituency. NRM wants to grab this seat to prove a point that the People’s President Dr Kizza Besigye and FDC can be defeated in their own home and stronghold,” said Kaaya.
“This makes this election very critical! If you hae FDC at Heart and the People’s President; reflect on this election very seriously,” he added.
“Much as we love and appreciate the efforts of our other brothers participating in this election in the struggle; Party interest takes precedence.”
Bobi Wine’s rallies have since attracted hundreds of supporters but only time will tell if he can pull through.
An FDC official, who clearly supports Kantinti, said Kyadondo East is not entirely urban.
“The majority youth would go with Bobi in an urban area like Kampala Central. But the rural conservative base would not vote him. His ghetto brand associated with smoking weed will unsettle the locals in rural areas of Kyadondo,” said the official.
“It’s not a straightforward race – people have to choose between Besigye and Bobi Wine. If Besigye publicly backs Kantinti, we don’t see how Bobi will take this seat. He can only injure Kantinti in favour of NRM’s Sebalu.”
Some FDC officials say Bobi Wine should have waited for 2021 or confronted Nsereko for Kampala Central MP seat.
“If he took on Nsereko; we would mobilise the opposition alliance to support him. But he has now put the party and Dr Besigye in a tricky position. Our hands are tied – we have to go by the party position,” said an FDC leader.
But Andy Kabai, an FDC supporter, says, “If Hon. Kantinti has what it takes, let him take on Kyagulanyi by the balls!”
He further states that Bobi is the “true activist” compared to Kantinti.
“Many of us didn’t know Kantinti until he was dragged to court! That unfortunately speaks volumes! I am FDC 311 but, Bikwase_Kyagulanyi.”
The polls are set for June 29, 2017.