KAMPALA – Uganda’s Opposition lynchpin Dr Kizza Besigye has said there is no way the opposition in the country can reclaim through an election.
In what appeared to be a veiled dig at his fellow opposition leaders such as Robert Kyagulanyi, aka Bobi Wine and Maj Gen Mugisha Muntu, Dr Besigye said the current government under President Yoweri Museveni cannot allow a free and fair election to take place in the country.
“Ending rule by guns isn’t going to happen through a throw of a piece of paper in a box. Dictators and people who dominate others use four tools; fear, bribes, divide and rule as well as controlling information and propaganda. Forces that try to fight the regime are being infiltrated and that’s how the government survives,” he said while appearing on NBS TV morning show on Wednesday, October 16, 2019.
Bobi Wine, who has since declared intentions to stand for president come 2021, has severally said that he believes that Mr Museveni can be defeated through an election.
But Dr Besigye, who has stood four times against Mr Museveni and lost, said the current regime is not interested in handing over democratically.
“We must reclaim the country. Once we have the power, we can organise how that power is managed and create rules. By the grace of God, we shall take action to regain our freedom. We’ve been living under the control of guns for so long, that’s why this struggle shouldn’t be trivialised to the struggle of Besigye. It’s for everyone,” he said.
Dr Besigye added that the current government has in the past rigged elections and that it is not going to be different come 2021.
“I was a candidate in 2016 but still on bail. I was charged with treason but still insist I won the 2016 elections. Mr Museveni is illegally and illegitimately in the office of the president. We’re talking about a situation that has imperial evidence. If the 2021 election is going to be the type of elections we’ve always had, people should warm up to it differently,” he said.
“We must get our bearings on the political terrain right. The situation in this country for a very long time has been managed by a small group of people who use force to coerce the rest of the people. The artificial categorisation of our politics is deliberate to distort and confuse us. It affects how we solve the problem we’re dealing with. We’re not any different from when our country was taken over by foreigners. Since 1962, no leader has handed over power willingly. This clearly shows that the people have no say on how and who governs them,” he added.
Below are excerpts of the interview
PRESIDENT KIZZA BESIGYE’S SELECTED EXCERPTS FROM NBS MORNING BREEZE.
HOST: What is the political barometer currently?
KB: There is one constant; the ever-mounting discontent in the country. Wherever you go, it’s pulpable, because everywhere, people’s lives are becoming more difficult. Those who used to say we sleep, now they nolonger sleep.
HOST: What does that spell for the opposition?
KB: There is nothing like Government and then opposition that you think contest power, one wins and forms Government and the losers form opposition. What we have is a small group of people that dominates the rest of the people in the country.
The artificial categorisation of our politics is deliberate to confuse those who are far and inside Uganda. What obtains today is not that what is popular informs the policy. What we have in Uganda as a mediatory tool is force.
You are talking about 2021 elections, I was a candidate in 2016, and after elections, I was charged with TREASON for declaring myself winner. We are going into 2021 and that case has not been heard.
HOST: Your views are not matching the sentiments where others like Gen. Muntu, Bobi Wine want elections.
I have myself not said that people should not warm up fpr elections. I have said that if that election is not going to be of a type we want (free and fair), then we should warm up to it differently. I have an experience that since Uganda’s Independence, we have never conducted free and fair elections.
We celebrated 57yrs of Independence but we know every leader has come into office by force.
For the period under Museveni, courts have concluded that elections under Museveni have not been free and fair. This is the experience of elections in Uganda. We then need to ask ourselves whether elections should be the way they have been or new type of elections.
Then there is a question of legitimacy.
One, we have an illegitimate person who violated the Constitution by detaining his opponent to declare himself.
Two, a person who is in office illegitimately, he has already illegitimately appointed the new Electoral Commission headed by Simon Byabakama. By the way, Byabakama was my prosecutor on very funny cases.
Thirdly, this illegitimate president violently destroyed the Constitution and invaded Parliament with his troops in order to procure an amendment to allow him contest beyond 75yrs. Of all the people who have sofar shown interest to contest for the presidency, only Museveni is already 75yrs.
Museveni would not have been a candidate if he had not destroyed the Constitution.
Now he has already taken 30bn from the Treasury to go around the country looking for endorsement as a sole candidate for 2021.
That said, I cannot go in a Radio Station and talk on a space I have hired. We are lucky web
Please understand about what I am talking about 2021 and the enthusiasm of the type of election we want.
I went to the bush to have free and fair elections, how can I not want elections, but we must declare what type of elections we need must-have. That is within our power
We are not going to allow someone who rigged himself into office, violated the Constitution to contest again. That is within our power.
Ending ruling by the gun is not going to happen merely by throwing the ballot paper in a ballot box. This must be well understood.
The first tool people holding power use to subdue people is instilling fear in the public and terrorised.
The second tool they use is bribes. Using favours. Most people are impoverished and when they want to say something or appear critical, they are bribed into silence. Some members of the media too, who are critical in dissemination of information and impoverished and used to distort information.
The third tool is divide and rule so that we cannot unite.
I am aware that even within the liberation forces, there is lack of clarity on the type of struggle we want. There are some who believe Uganda is democratic; that we elections where people contest and win and others lose.
This position has been formed by many years of narrative that we need an election to choose a good leader to replace a bad leader. That is not the struggle I am in.
The struggle I know and understand is that we are looking for a country and first mission should be to recapture the country and then once we reclaim the country and have power over it, then we can choose and leaders and create rules how to choose leaders.
You asked about 2019YearOfAction. I wish to report to you that we have been to all the regions of Uganda in the year. In one region, there were attempts to fail us but we managed to get over it.
We are only left with Kampala Metropolitan. We shall come here too. So we have been out there taking actions to geared to freeing us. These include Creating awareness, organising and we have reached critical levels in these areas. Now we are left taking real actions to end this Junta.
HOST: Col, share your insights with us on security.
KB: There is absolutely no doubt that security has been mounting. Sometimes I marvel that NRM Junta that keeps it’s mantra “peace that was ushered in by NRM”.
Peace is not the absence of war. In Uganda, you cannot have peace without justice. The level of injustice in Uganda is way too much; social-economic injustice is unimaginable.
Education: look at the state and quality of our education. Education is an equaliser. I normally tell people that if Museveni had gone to school today, I mean if Museveni is a student today when he is President, he would not get a degree.
Because his father would never get 6M to pay to at a University to get a degree. I am sure Museveni would agree with me that the wealth of his late Father Kaguta would not afford him University education.
We have also political and cultural injustice. Anywhere in the world, where there is political injustice, it breeds violence.
Secondly, the security Institutions themselves are a problem. Most of the security challenges we have today are a problem of security Institutions themselves. There is a problem of nepotism where you find most heads of security Institutions are related or from the same village.
That creates a security challenge to those in service, because, some will say, “let’s leave them with their thing.” So you have problems in recruitment, training and deployment.
The guns that are used to commit murders are all from security agencies.
Then there is a regional security challenge because of Uganda’s aggression and military adventurism.