FDC is walking a tightrope after Bobi Wine rallied behind firebrand politician Kassiano Wadri to take Arua Municipality in this Wednesday’s by-election.
Under their new political catchphrase ‘People Power’, Wadri’s team is backed by former FDC president Mugisha Muntu who campaigned for the former Terego County lawmaker last week.
The ‘People Power’ force humiliated the FDC candidate in the recently concluded Bugiri polls that saw Asuman Basalirwa emerge victorious.
Observers say the ‘People Power’ is disproving the widely held notion in opposition that one needs endorsement of big political parties such as FDC to defeat NRM candidates.
Addressing a mammoth rally in Arua on Sunday, Bobi Wine said as they take on leadership as young people, “we must also tap into the wisdom and guidance of the elders especially elders that Museveni fears most like Kassiano Wadri.”
He said voters should be guided by “what we stand for as a nation well knowing that while we have patriotic elders like Wadri, we also have many elders that continue to sell our people to the regime.”
Bobi added: “So as we go into the election on Wednesday, I call upon all of you brothers and sisters, men and women, young and old, to come out and vote for Kassiano Wadri”
Unlike FDC’s candidate Bruce Musema, the ‘People Power’ alliance attracted larger crowds that walked through the town, bringing business and traffic to a standstill.
Tens of thousands of cheering crowds lined the streets to catch a glimpse of Bobi and Wadri as they drove together to the rally.
Throngs of supports — many wearing T-shirts, hats and scarves emblazoned in the profile portrait of Wadri bearing his likeness were seen peering down from pedestrian overpasses to show support for Wadri.
Bobi and Wadri waved and thrust their fists into the air from the open top of their car as crowds cheered them on.
Wadri said he was committed to the transformation of Arua and pledged to serve them better than previous legislators.
FDC Spits fire
The FDC leaders, Kizza Besigye, Patrick Amuriat and Nandala Mafabi had no kind words for Wadri, saying he should never have contested in the race.
While campaigning for Arua Municipality FDC candidate Bruce Musema on Sunday, Amuriat said Wadri should never have left his Terego County to divide the party’s vote in the by-election.
“Wadri is a very dishonest person. We were with him and other FDC members who agreed that the incumbent party candidate should serve for five years,” said Amuriat.
“Within that period, a by-election comes up, that person automatically becomes the candidate. Wadri is FDC candidate for Terego; Musema is FDC candidate in Arua Municipality. Why did he have to abandon his constituency and come to cause confusion in Arua?” he charged.
Mr Nandala Mafabi, the party general secretary, said Mr Wadri is “dishonest because we agreed as a party that the candidates who contested in 2016 remain the flag bearers until 2021, so for him to come back and contest in Arua is greed.”
Dr Besigye also said Wadri had made his contribution and should have left the municipality seat for Musema.
Chimp Corps say the vote is too close to call considering that President Museveni will be in the area to rally support for Nusura Tiperu.
A divided opposition vote could work in the favour of NRM which recently swept the municipality and local elections with a landslide.
Museveni will address two rallies in the two divisions of River Oli and Arua Hill.
The election has attracted 12 candidates. They are: Ms Nusura Tiperu (NRM), Mr Bruce Musema (FDC), Mr Jaffar Alekua (Jeema) and Mr Kennedy Madira (DP). Others are Independents Kassiano Wadri, Francis Elton Nyero, Sunday Anguandia, Alfred Nyakuni, Jackson Atima, Simon Avutia, Safi Bavuga and Robert Ejiku.