FDC Senior Party Leaders Reconcile Ahead of 2021 Polls

Key among those who reunited included Christopher Acire, the former Gulu Municipality MP and Reagan Okumu, the Aswa County MP. The reunion is an attempt by party leaders safeguard against further degeneration following massive departure of it members.
10 Aug 2020 05:39
Christopher Acire, Patrick Oboi Amuriat, Reagan Okumu and Betty Aol Ocan, the Leader of Opposition (LoP) during FDC reunion in Acholi - Photo by Dominic Ochola

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Senior leaders of the Forum for Democratic Change - FDC party in Acholi region have embraced a deal to patch up their differences and reconcile ahead of the 2021 general elections.

Key among those who reunited included Christopher Acire, the former Gulu Municipality MP and Aswa County MP Reagan Okumu. The reunion is an attempt by party leaders to safeguard against further degeneration following the massive departure of its members, who are joining other opposition groups, mainly the Alliance for National Transformation and the National Unity Platform.

Acire has been a pivotal mobilizer for the party in Acholi sub-region since its inception in 2005. On the other hand, Okumu is a founding member of the party, its first Secretary-General who later became the FDC National Vice Chairperson for Northern Uganda.

But the two kingpins have been arch enemies for close to a decade. Their differences can be traced to the battle for supremacy in 2011 and heightened in 2015 when Acire, then Gulu Municipality MP shifted his political base to contest against Okumu for the Aswa County seat. Although Okumu had been nominated as the party's flag bearer, Acire then opted to contest as an independent candidate.

Acire cited foul play and sued  FDC Electoral Commission for failing to organize party primaries for the Aswa County position. He accused the party of sidelining him and handpicking Okumu. Subsequently, Gulu High Court presided by Justice Margaret Mutonyi ruled in his favour and nullifying Okumu's nomination, describing it as irrational, unfair and illegal.

Acire lost to Okumu in the election, cementing bitter divisions among party especially those who paid allegiance and loyalty to the two leaders. But the two arch-rivals have now buried their differences and agreed to work again harmoniously, thanks to a peace deal brokered by the FDC party president Patrick Oboi Amuriat, and Gulu Woman MP Betty Aol Ocan.

Reagan Okumu is optimistic that the reunion will help the FDC consolidate its strength in Acholi sub-region which for long has been a stronghold for the biggest opposition political party in the country.

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The reunion was hosted by Acire at him home in Laliya Parish located in West Division, approximately four kilometres North of Gulu City. Acire pledged to bury the differences which had fragmented the party and threatened its support in Acholi sub-region. 

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Betty Aol Ocan described the reunion as a good gesture towards peace, unity and growth of the party.

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Meanwhile Patrick Oboi Amuriat, the party President admitted that internal bickering had torn apart the party in Acholi sub-region and gave leeway to hundreds their loyalists to quit the party to the benefit of the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM). 

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Amuriat also disclosed that the party is still willing to persuade individuals who have denounced the party like Samuel Odonga Otto, the Aruu County MP, and Nwoya County MP Simon Oyet who recently exited the party to reconsider their decisions.

The party is also engaging other former stalwarts like Prof. Morris Ogenga Latigo (Agago North), Martin Ojara Mapenduzi, the incumbent Gulu District Chairperson who recently denounced to "come back home."

Recently, other powerful senior FDC party leaders elsewhere in Uganda quit the party in multitudes including but not limited to Winfred Kiiza (Kasese District Woman MP), Robert Centenary (Kasese Municipality), Paul Mwiru (Jinja East Municipality and Angelline Osegge (Soroti District Woman), Elijah Okupa (Kasilo County) and Herbert Ariko (Soroti Municipality) among others.