Opposition ironman Dr Kizza Besigye has dismissed claims by critics that he shares character traits with President Museveni, saying he is a completely different person.
“Some people, even in opposition, have been saying Besigye and Museveni are the same. Can you believe?” wondered Besigye on Wednesday morning.
“If you ask them what is it that Besigye does that is almost what Museveni does, you will not get a response,” he emphasised.
The former presidential candidate’s remarks come amidst intense criticism by supporters of MP Robert Kyagulanyi alias Bobi Wine for refusing to cede space and rally behind another opposition candidate to challenge president Museveni in the 20121 elections.
Speaking at an event in Kampala recently, Abed Bwanika, Norbert Mao and Kyagulanyi attacked Besigye for frustrating opposition efforts by consistently contesting and losing the presidential elections and not giving other opposition members a chance.
“Don’t talk about democracy and stand four times and on the fifth time you tell people democracy doesn’t work. We believe it works. On that point, I will assert that democracy actually works and anybody who despises democracy is despising the people of Uganda,” said Bobi Wine.
Bwanika did not spare Besigye at the same event: “I have heard one person who has now perpetually become a presidential candidate and wants to become one again. I have decided, whether I will remain alone, I will ensure that Ugandans don’t vote that presidential candidate again.”
Appearing on NBS Television today, Besigye said participating in a resistance against the current leadership is not “a beauty contest”.
He said opposition continues to search for “as many fighters as possible” and appealed to critics to lead from the front instead of complaining.
Come and lead
“I have said I have no problem anyone leading the struggle… and never sought for a position,” said Besigye.
“So whoever wants to be a leader of the struggle, come and lead us. I don’t enjoy being in Teargas and bullets. I never see those people in the heat of moment. Let them come and lead us. I am really not anxious to be in the teargas. I have never seen Bwanika in the heat of things, who has stopped them?”
Observers say Besigye needs to do more to win the support of youthful voters considering many have lost hope in his ability to remove president Museveni from power hence looking at Bobi Wine as an option.
Besigye is also criticized for failing to develop and disseminate political messages that appeal to the young people who form the majority of the country’s population.
On Facebook, young people have been seen criticizing Besigye for not concentrating on articulating his alternative policy to address the country’s challenges such as unemployment, low access to capital for business, high interest rates and poor public service delivery.
In extreme cases, Bobi’s supporters have accused Besigye of working for Museveni while disguising himself as an opposition leader – remarks that appear to have disturbed the former FDC leader.
He dismissed such talk as “paid propaganda”, emphasising, “Anybody who says that I work for Museveni is completely out of his or her mind.”