FDC struggles to move on after Muntu exit
Written by Lindah Nduwumwami on October 3, 2018
Hardly a week after former Forum for Democratic Change president, Maj. Gen. Mugisha Muntu announced his exit from the party, its leadership appears to be panicking, at least according to the communications out of the party’s headquarters in Najjanankumbi.
Muntu announced his departure on September 27 and on October1, Party Secretary General Nathan Nandala Mafabi in two letters demanded from the return of party materials from one of the members and party executive said to have left with the former army commander. Mafabi also noted that following the exit of Muntu, the party had decided a “membership audit” where members are required to indicate where they belong.
“Following these political events,” the letter reads, “it has been decided to undertake a membership audit at all leadership and elective positions.”
The letter adds: “This is to request all party leaders and elected officials on the party mandate to indicate to the party, in writing, whether they are still members of the Forum for Democratic change within 14 days.”
Failure to respond, Mafabi warned, would be treated as renouncement of membership.
Observers have questioned the practicability of this action, which they say is not provided for under the party constitution.
“There is no provision for this measure,” said a senior party official. “Offices have periodic duration and how they fall vacant.”
“What is the basis of such action?” another party member asked, “Did I write when I was joining?”
Under article 12 of the party’s constitution, one can cease to be a member of the party upon death, upon resignation by writing to the Secretary General, upon dismissal by the party’s recognized constitutional organ, if a member joins another party or in an election stands as an independent or engage in activities hostile to the party.
The party can decide to expel these members but that will not affect their political positions. While voluntary crossing from one party to another before the end of the term makes one lose their political seats as provided by article 83 (g) and( h) of the constitution, expulsion by the party as per the precedent by the Supreme Court in the case of Ssekikubo & 4 others against the Attorney General, doesn’t.
Mafabi’s directive, therefore, appears a major contradiction not just of the party constitution but the national constitution too. The directive follows Muntu’s departure, which the former party president said was informed by irreconcilable differences over strategy that had created warring factions in the party shifting its focus from the pursuit of its core objectives.