Sordid secrets why, Joyce Nabbosa Ssebugwawo, the former deputy president of the opposition Forum for Democratic Change-FDC for Buganda Region abandoned the key and accepted to be a minister (State Minister for ICT and National Guidance) in President Yoweri Museveni’s government are being revealed for the first time.
As Deputy President for FDC, Joyce Ssebugwawo was used to Party Presidents and working with colleagues who respected her as a wealthy Muganda lady who is also an auntie to the Nabagereka. That was the case for the 6 years Kizza Besigye was party president and later on Gen Mugisha Muntu.
Things changed from 2017 when Muntu ceased to be party president and Mr. Amuriat Patrick Oboi took charge. She isn’t an eloquent speaker and was used to serving under Besigye and Muntu who respected her and helped corroborate to make her points understood during NEC and Management Committee meetings. The two retired soldiers never allowed anyone to disrespect the ‘Oweekitiibwa’ on account of her not being articulate. They always accommodated her and ensured her views were improved upon to sometimes become dominant views once in a time.
Amuriat equally respected her but never had the guts and the authority to ensure nobody insults or disrespects her during meetings like the way Besigye and Muntu used to shield her. So things deteriorated for her under Amuriat and yet Besigye, who would get reports, never likes to interfere with the running of the party however much anyone petitions him to intervene.
Ssebugwawo began having all her views rejected by bullies in top management committee who POA failed to prevail upon making her to feel more disrespected and because she had a lot of influence on the party especially in Buganda, her Luke warmness towards Najjanankumbi caused many cadres to equally coil. Ssebugwawo had helped the party through turbulent waters for instance by standing up to Beti Kamya who in August 2008 wanted all Baganda out of FDC after she failed to become party chairman after the death of Dr Suleiman Kiggundu. It was Ssebugwawo who contradicted Kamya and asked all the Baganda to remain behind.
When Abed Bwanika became a rabid promoter of Bobi Wine in 2018/19 and targeted Besigye falsely accusing him of many things with the active encouragement of the modestly educated moderator Med Nsereko, it’s Ssebugwawo as Director of CBS that ensured Betty Nambooze who was speaking for People’s Government was given a slot on the same Saturday program to counter the Pastor from Kimanya Kabonera. The same Ssebugwawo was pivotal in the recruitment of prominent Baganda into FDC to fill the vacuum left by the death of founders like Vincent Kimera, Suleiman Kiggundu, Bwanika Bbale and others. She was crucial in the recruitment of the likes of Wilberforce Seryazi of Entebbe, Sentamu Sewandagi from PPP, Semujju Nganda and Wasswa Birigwa who became Party national chairman. Later she was to influence the recruitment of Erias Lukwago, Stella Nyanzi and others. In 2011, she was the one who lured and delivered ex-Katikkiro/her ex-boss Mulwanyamuli to campaign for Besigye under Ssuubi 2011.
Unlike Besigye and Muntu before him, POA team didn’t adequately appreciate the importance of Ssebugwawo in FDC and indeed her exit is going to be followed by a mass exodus of many lower rank FDC members, especially Buganda who always looked to her for inspiration. By failing to shield her against bullies during NEC and management committee meetings, the POA team accelerated Ssebugwawo’s departure from FDC, a party she had joined and co-founded with Besigye in 2005 and even earlier on. In 2001 she defied the Kabaka who had ordered all his ministers to remain neutral by resigning her ministerial position at Mengo to embrace and join Besigye’s Reform Agenda. She did this along with Sewava Serubiri, Kamala Kanamwangi (deceased) and Robert Sebunya who returned to NRM a long time ago and now serves as the Senior Presidential advisor for Buganda.
In 2001 she defied the Kabaka who had ordered all his ministers to remain neutral by resigning her ministerial position at Mengo to embrace and join Besigye’s Reform Agenda. She did this along with Sewava Serubiri, Kamala Kanamwangi (deceased) and Robert Sebunya who returned to NRM a long time ago and now serves as the Senior Presidential advisor for Buganda.
Ssebugwawo disagreed with POA and other top FDC honchos on many things including the election of Abubaker Kawalya (now Rubaga north Mp) as the KCCA Speaker. She preferred Kawalya because she felt making Doreen Nyanjura, a Mutooro from Kyenjojo Speaker, would demoralize FDC Baganda supporters in Kampala. She had also been approached by many lord councilors of FDC then who made it clear they would never vote Nyanjura because she was too proud and seeing them as illiterates and uneducated. Ssebugwawo suggested Nyanjura goes for deputy Speakership and Kawalya becomes Speaker. Secretary General Nandala Mafabi ignored her and gave the ticket to Nyanjura who eventually lost to Kawalya and the deputy slot went to Bruhan Byaruhanga of NRM.
Years earlier, Ssebugwawo had told colleagues in the top management committee that it was better for the party to front Bobi Wine for the Kyadondo East MP Seat. Kyagulanyi had been to her home pleading to be given the FDC flag because she was the one in charge of party mobilization in Buganda. She proceeded to market the name but the others in the management committee refused and fronted Apollo Kantinti who Ssebugwawo rejected and went for Nkunyingi Muwadda who was an FDC-leaning independent.
Kantinti, who never picks calls and all other weaknesses had already been reported by voters to Ssebugwawo as someone who had become unelectable. The same had been reported to Besigye but who, unlike Ssebugwawo proceeded cautiously not wanting to offend Kantinti. Ssebugwawo was hurt that the FDC she had been funding for all these years lost an opportunity to recruit a vibrant mobilizer in Kyagulanyi who has since grown into a political giant.
When time came for the 2021 elections, Ssebugwawo who had remained in touch with Kyagulanyi told colleagues in the top management committee that it wasn’t too late to work with what became NUP. This view was shared by Besigye who equally felt an alliance of sorts between FDC and NUP was possible going into elections but hard liners like Salaam Musumba, Wafula Oguttu and others refused dismissing Kyagulanyi as a muyaaye. Besigye’s view was POA gets nominated but midway pulls out and endorses Kyagulanyi, a thing that would bolster many FDC lower rank candidates especially in Greater Kampala since some NUP candidates were too low profiled and poorer than them. Ssebugwawo was branded a tribalist after she suggested that the POA candidature was unnecessary and in any case was going to demystify and weaken the party as opposed to making it stronger.
Her argument was that FDC can back Bobi for Presidency but use his momentum to promote the candidature of its candidates for MP and other lower level positions. Ssebugwawo rightly believed if that alliance had been agreed upon there is no way FDC’s good candidates like herself, Mubarak Munyagwa, Mike Kabaziguruka, Stella Nyanzi, Makindye East’s Ibrahim Kasozi, many incumbent KCCA Councilors, Buikwe’s Stella Nanteza, Godfrey Kayemba Afaayo, Jinja’s Frank Nabwiso or even Bugweri’s Julius Galisonga wouldn’t have won their respective races.
POA and colleagues never listened to her and they remained remorseless even after her prediction came to pass after elections when Bobi’s even weak candidates had floored giants from FDC. Even without any formal alliance, the FDC candidates would have appeased voters by individually declaring their support for Bobi in case the very unpopular POA wasn’t in the race. In fact the likes of Stella Nyanzi who was destined to win got rejected by voters because they insisted on marketing POA yet the Kampala crowds wanted Kyagulanyi. Ssebugwawo herself would easily win Rubaga if she hadn’t been burdened with marketing the very unpopular POA.
All this made her more frustrated hence her decision to quit. Besigye’s unwillingness to get involved to talk to POA and others to treat the elderly Ssebugwawo more courteously only made an already bad situation even worse.
Ssebugwawo had also joined Ingrid Turinawe to oppose the way the party top honchos spent the Shs1.2bn that EC gave FDC during the campaigning period. They chose to buy five posh vehicles moreover at an alleged inflated prices yet Ssebugwawo and Ingrid wanted the money to be invested in party candidates who were struggling through the scientific election. She believed buying cars was unnecessary luxury because since the days of Besigye and Muntu the party never invested in opulence. She believed the money wasted in funding POA’s unpopular candidature that was clearly dead on arrival should have been used to boost strong FDC candidates at lower levels.
Ssebugwawo and Ingrid wondered why the party bought posh cars and forgot to buy the public address system for the presidential candidate. She saw this as wasteful expenditure. And reports that the price of the cars had been inflated made her more demoralized. She became more frustrated when a clique of party leaders and moles from Eastern region ganged up and expelled Ingrid Turinawe from the party while using the Rukungiri elections where she stood as independent as an excuse. The departure of Ingrid left Ssebugwawo alone in fighting and questioning the bad decisions the clique of easterners was taking for the party.
Ssebugwawo became even more annoyed when the top officials reportedly shared the cars after campaigns yet the same had been bought for the party. She tried to ask Besigye to intervene and the man from Rwakabengo declined saying he doesn’t want to interfere with the POA era decision making. He said he doesn’t want to be misunderstood. Ssebugwawo, a strong believer of fellow Ganda politicians, was also unhappy recently when POA came to a meeting and proposed Betty Aol to become the new whip for the FDC party in the 11th parliament yet many members felt she didn’t perform well as LoP.
Majority members preferred Semujju Nganda who one of the POA supporters reportedly openly decampaigned on grounds of Aol who is soft enough to be able to give the only available Parliamentary job of being administrative secretary to Joan Annet Pario who is a daughter of POA.
Ssebugwawo would sit with her fellow disgruntled party officials to reflect on the party’s future but hopelessness is all they kept seeing. POA who they see as not powerful enough to prevail on the bullies from the East will be FDC president up to 2024 because he cajoled FDC NEC and national council to extend his term because there is too much Covid-19 and delegates conference can’t be convened. This also made Ssebugwawo hopeless about the chance of ever rescuing FDC from a clique of powerful but very destructive easterners.
Rumors were also abound that some members of the top management had committed acts of corruption including inflating the number of candidates FDC fronted for MP seats. That because each MP was entitled to Ugx2m facilitation and posters, some officials reportedly inflated the number of candidates by over 70 and were able to make some quick money.
The number of MP candidates that FDC declared to have nominated turned out to be less than what the EC declared by close to 100. Money was eaten at the rate of Ugx2m per candidate and yet when this fraud was reported to POA he reportedly feared to act saying those involved were too powerful for him to tackle.
There are also claims that people who got shadow cabinet positions and those who got to chair committees after Winnie Kiiza were made to pay money to look after one of the big men sitting in the top management committee. That a certain official also allegedly had to part with Ugx5m per month to be able to keep her. All these things angered Ssebugwawo especially after POA reportedly acted on a slow pace to commission an inquiry into these allegations because he reportedly feared members of the very powerful clique.
Ssebugwawo was also approached by disgruntled party officials who were questioning why POA had become a parasite on the party yet when Besigye and Muntu headed FDC they were pure volunteer servants who invested in FDC without taking away anything. “Besigye always mobilized resources for the party and he never took away anything but this POA is always being allocated money to go for mobilization in the districts yet members who come for those meetings transport and feed themselves as if FDC is a very poor party. They are asked to show loyalty to FDC by paying their own accommodation to attend the President’s meetings and this exploitation is why members upcountry and in Kampala have lost interest in FDC and even Besigye is disappointed.”
Sources also add that before deciding to leave, Ssebugwawo had told the clique of powerful easterners currently strangling FDC to become more transparent with finances but they never listened to her.
“She was tired of being asked to always contribute personal money for the party as if there was a permanent financial crisis. She got heartbroken the day she realized the party had a lot of money coming through parliament in the LoP’s office and EC yet she was always asked to contribute as if there was nothing totally. She had been saying the party should work with Kyagulanyi of NUP but the Eastern clique members insisted to fight him and she said that was bad because it was going to cost many FDC lower level candidates especially in Buganda and that is what exactly happened.
She felt disrespected because every time she gave ideas she was ignored and this clique never listened to her. They are very arrogant and in meetings they just dictate. We were always told westerners had over dominated FDC but those guys were decent and were never involved in funny deals which are very embarrassing to the brand called FDC. There is a lot of mediocrity these days and FDC is dying anytime soon.”
There are fears that if founders like Besigye don’t intervene FDC will disintegrate real soon because the clique of power brokers from eastern Uganda are determined to run it into total political oblivion between now and 2024 when the delegates will be convening to elect new leaders.
There is also a group of FDC members who are demanding an audit into how the party has been distributing job opportunities associated with the office of LoP including the circumstances under which the likes of Harriet Sebuwufu of Nakawa and Eunice Namatende from Bugiri applied but were denied jobs to work as staff in the LoP’s office.
There are also questions regarding how Ruth Ekirapa Byoona was allowed to become the director of the LoP office yet it is well-known she is very hostile to FDC. She is for instance faulted for imposing one Kyaligonza to serve as Principal Policy Analyst in the LoP’s office yet the man was allegedly clearly specialized at spying for David Bahati, a Minister in Museveni’s government.
Kyaligonza has been reportedly brought back and planted by the same director to work under the new LoP Mathias Mpuuga of NUP.
There is a photo which making rounds on social media, which analysts say it could be the work of sour grapping FDC adherents.
The photo seems to indicate that Sebuggwawo, who was acting party president during campaign and election period never voted for her party presidential candidate Patrick Oboi Amuriat.
The photo shows her pointing a pen on the lower end of the ballot while FDC candidate Amuriat was the first on the ballot. Those pushing that narrative opine that because of the large number of candidates, 11 in number, it was rather easy to tell if a voter had picked the candidate on top or at the bottom of the long ballot paper.
Ronald Muhinda who is Personal Assistant of Dr. Kizza Besigye, FDC founding president and four-time presidential candidate seemed to indicate the photo had already circulated within the FDC inner circle. “Out of anger, someone told me recently he would release this photo showing acting FDC president not voting FDC presidential candidate Patrick Oboi Amuriat during presidential election,” Muhinda posted on Facebook.
Muhida added; “I tried to plead with him not to cause the embarrassment and he said ‘that woman must be exposed. I know how complicated politics is. While I already knew the Acting FDC President had not voted the FDC Presidential Candidate, I knew if released it would cause embarrassment.”
Basing on the above analysis one can judge why Ssebugwawo would have opted not to vote for POA.
FDC TO GET SSEBUGWAWO REPLACEMENT
FDC has given itself two weeks to select Ssebugwawo’s replacement. According to FDC, Joyce has accepted the appointment and as a result, it has offended Article 12 of the FDC Constitution and therefore she ceases to be a member of FDC and has accordingly voluntarily relinquished her position as Deputy President.
FDC party president Eng Patrick Amuriat has also appreciated Ssebugwawo’s hard work, sacrifice and commitment that she put into the formation, growth and running of the party over the last more than 20 years of her political life.
“It is this political investment that she has out of her own volition chosen to abandon especially at this time when the struggle to free this country has reach a critical stage and requires all of us. Eng stated. Her decision to leave the party in order to join our tormentor is purely personal and the organs of the FDC were never consulted. She now joins our former colleagues who earlier on parted ways with us leaving behind an even stronger party,” he stated.
He explained that her departure although hurting the organization will not lead to FDC disintegration and should encourage them even to work harder in pursuit of its goals.
“I wish to appeal to you my dear friends to desist from unnecessary attacks on the person of Owek. Joyce Nabbosa Ssebugwawo does not add value to our political mission and is not in our culture as FDC. After consultation with the Organs of the party, I will be appointing a caretaker Deputy President within a period of two weeks to replace her,” POA appealed.