Opposition leader Dr Dr Kizza Besigye on Saturday appeared to confirm what has been feared in recent weeks that he will not be on the ballot for the presidency in next year’s general election.
Dr Besigye, a four-time presidential contender, in a livestreamed address this afternoon, described next year’s elections as “secondary” in his current priorities.
Besides, he noted, his candidacy was likely to create more friction and division in the opposition, thus indirectly helping the current regime under President Yoweri Museveni.
His plan instead, he said, is to use the election season – which usually allows more freedom to the opposition interaction with the masses — to organize Ugandans to overthrow President Museveni as has been done in countries like Sudan recently.
He also intends to use the season to prepare the country for a transitional government and selection of a transitional leader.
Dr Besigye, further warned that nobody in the opposition should expect to win next year’s presidential election and be declared president.
As such, he said, the election should be used “as a helping hand” to cause forceful change through the masses.
“I know that some people in the opposition are persuaded that we can achieve change through winning the election, but I am of the persuasion that the only way we get out of captivity is to fight,” Besigye said.
“I believe we should use elections tactically as a helping hand to the fight, not as the ones by themselves to cause the subornation of the gunmen. This election should play a role not in our being declared winners, but in our liberation.”
Clarifying on whether he will be joining the presidential race as the FDC flag bearer, Besigye said he had chosen not to be part of the process of causing more friction in the opposition.
As such, he said, he was eagerly waiting for his party to conclude the nomination of the presidential aspirants next week, so that the speculation ends.
“The candidates come from parties. The parties are getting the candidates and FDC which I subscribe to is in the process of getting a candidate. Fortunately, that process is about to end on the 19th. I am glad that this is about to close, so that the speculation about who is or isn’t a candidate comes to an end.”
“But what I would like to tell you is that, I have refused to be sucked into a process that helps to divide the fighters. The reason we are still dominated is that those who dominate us create artificial divisions among us the prisoners and we start fighting ourselves instead of fighting the captors.”
“They say, ‘Besigye is a candidate, Kyagulanyi is a candidate, Muntu is a candidate; you see the opposition cannot unite;’ and we become the problem rather that Museveni and his guns. That I will not lend myself to be.”
Among the tasks that he’s decided to take on during the election season, Besigye said, is to mobilize and prepare Ugandans for a transition, and to help find a leader that will guide the country through this transition process.
Besigye also stressed that he doesn’t intend to be that transitional leader.
“To get that change, we must have a transitional leader, one around whom all of us can coalesce and fight, and when we win, that leader takes us through the transition and the transition ends with free and fair elections.
“We have been talking and the talking continues about what kind of transition and what kind of transitional leader we need.”
“My preoccupation is that we must identify a transitional leader whom we should all support. I don’t aspire to be the transitional leader. Absolutely not. I think the transitional leader should be someone that has not been in contestation with other platforms. We should find a leader that we all find comfort fighting under. And Ugandans should help us to give us that leader.”
Last week, Hon Betty Nambooze who has been the spokesperson of Besigye’s “People’s Government” told Daily Monitor that an agreement had been reached among the opposition forces that Hon Robert Kyagulanyi becomes the transitional leader.
“As far as I am concerned, there are no signs that Dr Besigye will stand in the next election. There is a drawn agenda that Kyagulanyi will lead for 10 years and leave the mantle for another person – if all things go as planned. But we know what to feed the media with and what not to,” Nambooze said.