For over the past fifteen years since its inception, the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) has led Uganda’s opposition struggle. The party was created on the pillar of agitating for regime change and this had been initiated by a string of politicians who once wielded power in the National Resistance Movement party. Prominent faces like Mathew Rukikaire, Salam Musumba, Patrick Amuriat, Amanya Mushega, Reagan Okumu among others had once rubbed shoulders with the NRM but as time sailed on, they found it prudent to defect and initiate a pro-democratic party having realised that the NRM was ready to stick to Yoweri Museveni all the way to the grave.
The 2006 general elections was their first show down as they had to lock horns with other deeply rooted opposition parties like DP which was deeply rooted in the circles of Buganda region. The FDC that year ferried 37 legislators iur of the then 289 total seats and the party candidate, Rtd. Col. Dr. Kizza Besigye was allocated 37% in a disputed election where Museveni garnered 59%. In 2011 general elections, the party performancw shrinked with just 34 parliamentary seats and a 26.01% performance for the presidential candidate, Dr. Besigye. The year 2011 was a blessing in disguise for the party to topple the regime. Africa had been swept with revolutions that sparked from the Arab Spring which overthrew Tunisian despot, Ben Ali and Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi. Ugandans too had a chance to resist Museveni’s regime after a hyper inflation that hit the economy and left the downtrodden majority struggling to survive. That year, FDC lost the only matchstick that would have ignited change.
In the 2016 general elections, the FDC won 36 parliamentary seats and scooped 35.4% of the total presidential vote in an election that was widely disputed and marred with irregularities.
FDC Slump days
The rise of a new face in the struggle has dethroned the FDC from its apex seat. The 2017 Kyadondo East byelection that initiated Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu alias Bobi Wine to the national politics is significant in Uganda’s political evolutionary history. The youthful leader created a movement dubbed People Power which is identically designed like the early 2000’s Reform Agenda that morphed to the FDC. Similarly, People Power now has a political vehicle dubbed National Unity Platform (NUP). NUP has changed the odds of FDC’s survival in urban politics. The voting character of Ugandans is still consistent. They will always go for what is trending. Apparently, now that their game changer, Dr. Kizza Besigye has dropped the towel, FDC needs to harmonise with Bobi Wine and NUP to politically survive. They should harness and iron out their discrepancies if they are to retain grip of of what has been the opposition stronghold. They need to surreptitiously agree on which candidates to front and where. Short of that, the NRM may bank on their division and outpace them for the elective slots in 2021.