Former President Candidate Col Dr Kizza Besigye is accusing President Yoweri Museveni of spending chunks of government money on a smear campaign that is meant to portray him as a wealthy man who is out of touch with poor Ugandans.
Besigye claims Museveni is running this “propaganda” through mainstream media, social media and though pro-government journalists.
“There are people who are in the news; people whose names I don’t want to mention such as (Andrew) Mwenda, who for years, every time they open their mouth they are talking about Besigye,” Col Besigye charged.
The aim of this propaganda, he says, is to “weaken our people, so that even those who want to fight will come to think that Besigye and Museveni are the same.”
“Most of this propaganda comes from our enemy; from the one who hates our unity,” Besigye told CBS fm.
The four time presidential candidate says he has often heard people accusing him of being affluent, which he says his not true.
“You hear them say, ‘Besigye is wealthy while the rest of the opposition is poor.’ I want someone to come out and show me a house that I own in Kampala,” he noted.
“They said I owned the Equatorial Hotel. I told them to go set it on fire and see if I come to put it out. It is almost like people are bewitched, they say Besigye is rich. In this city I don’t even own a single kiosk.”
According to Col Besigye, who claims to have won the last two presidential elections, propaganda is one of the tools that President Museveni uses to disorient the opposition.
“Why is it that Coca-Cola spends billions of dollars every year on averts? Coca-Cola is water and sugar, but they show you images of Coca-Cola and you think nothing cures thirst like it. This is the money that is being spent by government to move this propaganda on every media station, on Facebook; it will make you think Besigye is wealth.”
Government spokespersons were unavailable to respond to Besigye’s claims.
Some of the theories that have been propagated in the public, he said, include his alleged undercover friendship with President Museveni, and that he works for the latter to keep him in power.
“They said my wife is abroad; that Museveni gave her a job. My wife doesn’t work for any government. She works for Oxfam.”
The intent of this smear campaign, he said, is because Museveni feels the heat that Besigye and his team have created under him.
“The point of this is that the person being targeted has hurt them in some way. Otherwise they wouldn’t spend so much money on this propaganda.