An opposition camp loyal to former Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) president Dr Kizza Besigye has stung Daily Monitor for reporting that the main opposition leader was out of the 2021 presidential race.
The daily’s August 12 edition screamed with the headline: “Besigye out of 2021 Election.”
But Besigye’s aide Ronald Muhinda quickly dismissed the report as yet another story meant to feed into blackmail and propaganda against the country’s main opposition leader for almost two decades.
“Early this week, Daily Monitor reported President Kizza Besigye would be unopposed if he sought FDC Presidential Flag. The story circulated like wild fire and blackmailers and propagandists went into overdrive,” Muhinda said.
“Two days later, the Headline has changed and its BESIGYE OUT OF 2021 ELECTION.”
Muhinda, himself a former reporter with Kampala’s Radio One, wonders why it is difficult for news media to internalize Besigye’s message about 2021 elections.
“Besigye goes everywhere talking about elections but it seems either journalists don’t understand KB or he is too sophisticated for them,” Muhinda went on.
“But, do Ugandans and journalists understand what an election is as provided for in the Museveni Constitution?”
He then emphasized Besigye’s criticism of the electoral process, once again referring to the Justice Simon Byabakama Electoral Commission (EC) as the Museveni Electoral Commission (MEC).
Muhinda further challenged reports to “nterrogate the Museveni Electoral Commission to establish what is happening. Clearly, MEC is not organising elections.”
“If you understand elections, do we have elections in 2021 to form a body of a HEADLINE of a big publication like Daily Monitor? So if MEC isn’t organizing elections, why do you talk about candidates?”
Muhinda’s sentiments form a huge part of the message Besigye has emphasized in recent weeks, especially when the question of his candidature has come up.
Besigye has run against President Yoweri Museveni for four times, starting with the 2001 election. In all the elections, he has complained of rigging.
After the 2016 election, Besigye formed the People’s Government (PG) to ‘reclaim his election victory.’ His FDC party claims the former Museveni physician had won with 52 per cent.
Days ago, Besigye told NTV Uganda his deputy at PG and Kampala lord mayor Erias Lukwago, who joined FDC weeks ago, had all the credentials to be president.
Lukwago’s joining FDC at a time when the party was reportedly still trying to convince a reluctant Besigye to stand in 2021 stoked speculation that the former Democratic Party (DP) member could be the party’s flag bearer.
A recent contradiction between FDC president Patrick Oboi Amuriat and spokesperson Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda on Besigye’s sole candidature fuelled further reports on the controversy on the party’s 2021 presidential candidate choice.
The party’s nomination for party presidential flag bearer is expected to start next week.