Mr Patrick Oboi Amuriat (POA)
This party is very divided. There is a lot of pulling and pushing of robs with top leaders vowing not to work with each other. There is no unity in our party. In the last five years, this party has been trying to repeat these issues of disunity. I would like to ask; would you like to spend the next five years in this kind of situation?
The second pillar of my presidency is vibrating structures. When Dr Besigye departed this party, you all know that we had structures that we were proud of.
Today we are a shadow of our faults. You may be the chairman of the party, Gen secretary the women league leader and mobiliser but you are there inactive. You have not been helped to act and so the presidency of POA brings more energy to this party. POA’s presidency is going to be that presidency that will review.
In this campaign, I was called a villager and I said to my critics that yes I am a villager and I know that most of you come from the villages. It is to this village that we want to take this party. POA is that village president who will take this party to the grass roots so prepare your houses, POA is going to be the president who will live with you and mobilise the people. My presidency will not wait for another election before I speak to you, my presidency will reach the last person as it is desired of a leader once he is installed.
Never at one point will our offices be closed even for one minute. We are going to put more funding to the function of the lower structures so that you may be able to carry out you work as efficiently as possible.
My presidency will encourage financial empowerment. For the first time in the history of this country, we are going to have the party run as a political and commercial entity. We are going to make money together so that this party is a party that will grow from strength to strength.
I will win back the friends that we have lost overseas.
I will reduce my term of office to three years; collect the money to the tune of Shs500m that we spent on these campaigns once this money is saved, it will be brought back to you at the core of FDC.
POA will build a leadership academy that will be housed at the headquarters. We will also commence the contracting of a storeyed building at Najjanakumbi as another way to raise money that is required to run our functions.
My presidency is going to start identifying candidates for elections at different levels early enough. Today we have been bothering ourselves when it comes to identification of candidates, and so find ourselves not preparing candidates well enough. This is going to change in the next three years.
The third pillar of my presidency is youth and women development. 40 per cent leaders who are women. Is it happening among you. It is not happening. This is going to change because we are going to go to the grass roots, recruit women, nurture them mentor them and make them strong. We are also going to go after the young men in those villages so that our party may grow from strength to strength.
The fourth pillar of my presidency will be reclaiming our victory. All of you knew that we won the elections of 2016 and I want to thank you all for the efforts I went out with Dr Besigye to the countryside and I saw the outpouring of emotion and I saw the strength that you put in. Today, this victory has not yet been reclaimed.
POA is going to build structures for defiance so that we may reclaim our victory. I am going to be your president who will work with you to reclaim your victory in a situation of dictatorship. I say no to dictatorship and the dictator will not be removed by just speeches and messaging him. The dictator has to be pushed and I would like you to prepare yourselves for these actions. Time to put on suits and ties is going to be in the past. We are going to work together using our structures, go back to ensure that we reclaim this victor.
Lastly, I am already working with the people’s government and to make ourselves stronger, we are going to invite the people’s government at Najjankumbi to reinforce our efforts. We are also going to call the founders and elders of this party to return top the position for the party. That way we will take the advantage of the institution that is so much lacking today.
When I talk about founders and elders, I am talking about Dr Besigye, the Hon Augustine Ruzindana, Kyapa Karuhanga the three men who came together and formed the FDC.
I would like ladies and gentlemen to walk this journey with you. We have walked this journey together for a long time and time has come for us to throw the dictators out. Vote POA for actions and for a stronger FDC tonight.”
Amuriat’s acceptance speech - abridged
“I am going to start my remarks by thanking you all for what has happened today. It has been three months of a grueling campaign and it would be wrong for me to call it was an easy road. It was not. It was very difficult.
I wish to thank my campaign team headed by Owek Joyce Nabbossa Ssebugwawo and deputised by Francis Mwijukye. This was a fine team that worked under difficult conditions.
May I extend my thanks to Hon Mubarak Muyangwa who decided to back my candidature even if he had the competence to be in his position.
To my fellow competitors, thank you for being worthwhile competitors. Gen Muntu, I will never stop respecting you as a president that I looked up to. I have listened carefully to your remarks and I believe that once the dust has settled, you and I need to have a discussion. We need each other in FDC.
And so for me the day I see people taking decisions to abandon the party that is going to be my greatest day of sadness. I pledged to you earlier in the day that I will be your president who will pull your party together. To my younger brother, you give us hope for the future. I am sure that in your mind, one day when you succeed, you will remember those three votes that you got today as your entadikwa.
I would like to appreciate my brother Malcolm Matsiko. In the very future, I would like to meet all the candidates so that we may agree on how we can work together. I would like to extend an olive branch to you all because the party that founded together with Gen Muntu has not yet got power.
I would like to remind you all that victory that you have given to me is not my victory, we are all winners in this. It is FDC that won tonight.”
Gen Muntu’s campaign pitch - abridged
“Ladies and gentlemen, do not put feelings in politics. Politics is about interests. We are well positioned to take this country but must build our entity which is not based on Museveni because if Museveni woke up in the comma and he is no longer existing and if we have not built our identity, we would find ourselves with an identity crisis.
Many of you, as we sit here, you are focused on me, my colleague Patrick, Malcolm and Byamugisha. It is a human tendency to do that. But do not forget we have had many party presidents in this country. So it is not the individual who matters. This process in which we are engaged is the most critical thing that we need to focus on.
I hear people who say Muntu has killed the party. Look at these journalists here. Why do you think they are here? Let me tell you for those who do not have analytical skills. Because we have positioned ourselves as a party which is attractive, as a party doing things which have failed in this country for 50 years. We killed one another in 1960s, 70s 80s and 90s, lets pray to God that as we go forward, we are not going to into another bloodshed.
I have abandoned my own individual interests to the collective interest of our people. I do not promote myself but I concentrate on the development of this party. I have heard my colleague Patrick who said that there are internal conflicts and that he wants to come and manage them but Patrick, I do not know whether you are the one going to become the party President but let me tell you, before you talk about managing these internal conflicts, first establish the source of those conflicts in the party.
I have stood on the platform like this and this is the fifth time. I am glad Dr Besigye you are seated here. In 2009, we competed together, you won I went behind you without any question. 2010, I stood on platform like this on campaign, we were competing for flag bearer, you won I did not question.
I was behind you. 2015, by then incidentally I was a party president, we competed with my colleague, you gave the flag to Dr Besigye. I saw your heart in your throat, you were fearful, you did not know what was going to happen. Do you remember what I said when I stood on the platform? I told you I am a democratic and I respect your choices.
Let me ask you, do not put feeling in politics or your interest, how many leaders in this political environment understood things like this?
In 2012, I competed with two gentlemen, they conceded defeat. Within a week, I received a position from the chairman saying that elections had been rigged. We spent two years solving that. 2012, some people could not accept change and those people are behind you so how are you going to deal with that contradiction?
Let’s focus on building this party. I am here, they have called me a mole I want you to determine that question today.
I want to know for sure that party leaders of FDC either trust me or not, I do not want to burden you, I am a military officer I am a military man and if there were no soldiers behind you, you cannot win a war.”
Gen Muntu’s conceding speech
I thank all the colleagues of the party. I thank the leadership of the party, the EC and the colleagues who competed in this exercise. I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate you Hon Amuriat for your victory.
May I also take this opportunity to sincerely apologise to those who do not trust me. It was not my intention to waste your time all this time.
It has been a pleasure working with you all in the last five years. Where we are heading, there are going to be quite interesting times that we are going to go through.
For those who believe in my methods, those who believe in my approach, Please, I urge you –don’t be frustrated, don’t panic, don’t be provoked, don’t give tasty statements.
We are going to be moving through complex times. Our country is amidst lots of challenges. If we do not tighten our belts and focus on the major challenges in this country, we may have a crisis in this country and none of us would want to go into that crisis and have loss of lives. But whatever happens, maintain focus on the country, maintain focus on the people.
At a personal level, there are decisions that I am going to have to make because while I congratulate you Hon Oboi, I also recognise that within the party of FDC, there might be irreconcilable ideological differences or irreconcilable methods of work or irreconcilable approaches. I am an honest person. I am always honest with myself, I would like to be honest with you as well. We are in a common struggle for the liberation of our people. I joined this struggle at 23 years.
I do not intend to backtrack in as far as the struggle for the freedom and the rights of the people are concerned. But I would also like to operate in an environment where I feel I am trusted. Colleagues, I do not want to be unfair to you and nor would I like to say that you are being unfair to me. The tasks which are ahead of us are heavy; we could slide into a situation where this country could face a crisis. So whatever decisions we take down the road, all of us need to recognise what the main objective is.
On my side in the next few weeks or so, there are decisions I will have to make. So we need to bear with each other even as we ponder the decisions we will have to make. We need to bear with each other.
Hon Amuria, take over the seat of FDC, I can tell you it’s tough. I hope you do not go through the same environment I have operated in. I wish you a better environment. I did not have the opportunity to go through a better environment that I would have desired to go through. Tighten your shoes and belt.
One thing I am sure of as day follows night is that we will become a free people, a free citizen in this country. Those who are resilient, those who are wise will be on the right side of history. Do not get discouraged at all. The main objective is there. The freedoms and rights of our people.
Remain objective. Amuriat and the colleagues that you will be working with, continue on the same path of building democracy within the party. But if you lose those values that you believe in, you lose the party.
No party will survive unless it has those values embedded within it. I can tell you. Words are words, practices are different from words. If at any point you find out that what you talk about is in conflict with what you do, you will become history. Thanks be to the living God. May God bless you all.”