Uganda: Besigye Declares 2019 ‘A Year of Action’

Former Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) president Rtd Col Dr Kizza Besigye has said Ugandans can't wait for another rigged election in 2021 while they continue living under the 'military rule' of President Yoweri Museveni.

Besigye who was addressing the media from his home in Kasangati as the 'people's president' was flanked by Democratic Party's Betty Nambooze, FDC chairman Wasswa Birigwa, FDC party president Patrick Oboi Amuriat, former Bukhooli Central MP Wafula Oguttu, Kawempe South MP Mubarak Munywagwa among others.

Besigye who also reviewed the events of 2018, said with the ever increasing corruption which has even sucked in President Museveni, the militarisation of the state, the impunity of the police and the army, increasing poverty rates, Ugandans shouldn't wait for 2021 for "another rigged election" to take back their country.

The country is scheduled to hold its next general elections in 2021 to elect members of parliament and the president, but Besigye said Museveni captured power and it's the duty of all Ugandans from the different political parties to also "capture" back the power through actions in 2019.

He said the longer Ugandans wait for 2021 for elections with the hope of transitioning from Museveni's 'dictatorship', the more the the state of affairs continue to nosedive towards an incorrigible state.

He cited the corruption scandal of convicted former Chinese minister Patrick Ho who was convicted in the US court for bribing President Museveni and Foreign Affairs minister Sam Kutesa with $500,000 each so as to gain business favours for Chinese companies.

"I want you to understand how terrible the people who claim to lead this country are...Museveni is sitting in State House as an exhibit 1510 [as presented in US court]. And the way it [bribing] was done, thanks to the Americans who did the investigations, all the details are there. I invite all Ugandans who have not read the judgement to do so. There are emails when Mr Ho raised fears of passing at the immigration and Mrs Kutesa said 'don't worry, we shall get you from the tarmac [airport].' We now have evidence of thieving in State House... The exists a report of Mr Ho to those who sent the money [bribe] saying it was successfully delivered. It is there." said Besigye.

"There is no longer any doubt that our country is in the claws of very terrible people. I hope that in regards to this corruption on Mr Kutesa and Museveni they [US] should help us sanction. They should at least sanction them."

Besigye said in 2019 they will work with all political actors to achieve the same goal of reclaiming back the country because without the country it is useless to get another leader.

He said Museveni will not hand over the country back to the citizens, they must fight for it through actions that he said his 'people's government' will unveil in the due course of 2019. He said the state, had in 2018, exploited the political differences between the opposition but that, is now the past, as from now they are to move as one force with a common goal since they all share similar objectives.

"We have spent two years organising our people and we think now there's strong competence to regain the control of the country. Apart from the ordinary people being organised, we need better organisation as political leaders. We need to be synchronised, coordinated to achieve what's needed to be achieved, focused on where the problem lies...There has been some uncoordinated movements sometimes. This year is to make sure this is kept in the past and we move as a purposeful pro democratic force." he said.

He said now that they have identified the capable and focused leaders it's easier working towards a common goal as an opposition group. Besigye said it is no longer acceptable for people to work so hard and then earn so little like has happened in 2018 when there was a lot of crop harvest but the prices were at their lowest.

He said that a kilogram of maize and beans has been going for as low as Shs 100 yet the opposition has always proposed remedies around this so farmers can earn decent incomes for their efforts.

He also cited what he called the shameless theft of public resources by state officials in Bank of Uganda (irregular closure of banks), Office of the Prime Minister (stealing refugee funds) and Uganda National Roads Authority (inflated costs for the Entebbe expressway).

"To steal from a refugee is to show the insensitivity of all those involved. It is like stealing from the sick or children...We have been treated to horror stories from Bank of Uganda - the very bank that is supposed to stabilise our economy. The Crane bank saga, again Mr Museveni ordered for the release of Shs 470bn. We've only realised that they needed only Shs 200bn. What happened to the rest remains a mystery." he said.

He said the cost of the Entebbe expressway is perhaps the costliest in terms of cost per kilometre in the world. According to Besigye, the average cost is just $2m/kilometre but Uganda's expressway was constructed at $9.2m/kilometre shooting the total cost to $479m.

Besigye further commended the Ugandans who continue to shine outside the country through outstanding achievements. He cited recently crowned Miss Uganda Quiin Abenakyo who came third in the Miss World beauty pageant and was voted Miss World Africa. There is also Harriet Anena a Ugandan writer and poetess who won the 2018 Wole Soyinka Prize For Literature award.

On her part, Nambooze said 2019 will be the year when they will lessen the controversies among the forces of change and commit to work in harmony despite being under different commands so they can all move in the same right direction at the same speed.

ATTACK ON BOBI

On the perceived attack on popular musician cum politician Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine, Besigye said he holds nothing against the Kyadondo East MP and that his recent comments about tribalism sentiments in the People Power camp has been misunderstood. He referred to a Facebook post in which he explained the context of his comments.

Earlier, he said he has the greatest respect for Bobi Wine because he's been focused and a consistent fighter for freedom despite the several attempts by the state to offer him money or frustrate his businesses.

Although Besigye's comments were taken by some as an attack on Bobi Wine as a person, we have since established that they were actually aimed at former presidential candidate Abed Bwanika, who while appearing on CBS radio, used Bobi Wine's slogan of 'Twebereremu' (loosely meaning not to lose focus) to say it was time for Baganda to support their own (Bobi Wine) because for the last 30 years power has been in the hands of westerners.

Source: Africa Focus