Opposition leader Dr Kizza Besigye had declined to stand for president in 2016 and suggested Kampala lord mayor Erias Lukwago as candidate, MP Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda has claimed.
In 2016, Besigye made his fourth attempt at the presidency but lost to President Yoweri Museveni.
After the controversial poll, Besigye swore himself in and named his People’s Government (PG) cabinet with Lukwago as his deputy.
According to Ssemujju, the opposition chief whip in parliament, Besigye didn’t want to contest in the previous election.
Ssemujju, who also speaks for main opposition party Forum for Democratic Change (FDC), told NBS Focal Point that Besigye had proposed that Lukwago stands as presidential candidate.
“Even in the last elections Besigye did not want to stand. I had a meeting with him and sometimes the meetings would go past midnight,” Ssemujju recalled.
“He insisted he would not stand. In one of those meetings, I remember he asked Lukwago to stand.”
SSEMUJJU: BESIGYE ASKED LUKWAGO TO RUN FOR PRESIDENT
But the party later convinced Besigye to stand.
Ssemujju further hailed the veteran opposition leader as capable and resilient.
“Campaigning to be president is not a joke. It requires a lot of resources, discipline and resilience – which you don’t find in many people,” he said.
People who have been on the campaign trail with Besigye want him to contest forever.”
Recent media reports claimed that the FDC had approached Besigye to once again be their flag bearer in next year’s presidential election.
Ssemujju said he is sure “Besigye is genuine” about not wanting to stand.
JUDGE BESIGYE WHEN HE BECOMES PRESIDENT
But he also blasted those who say Besigye has overstayed in the opposition and should therefore not contest again.
“Contesting has no expiry date. You cannot say someone should not stand or that he has no potential to lead because he has tried and not gone through,” he said.
“People should only start judging Besigye when he is in that seat [as president of Uganda].”
It is not clear if Besigye will give in to pressure from FDC and contest again or if he will back Lukwago or another person in FDC and PG.
SSEMUJJU ON BOBI WINE’S PEOPLE POWER
Ssemujju further predicted confusion in the People Power camp of youthful presidential hopeful Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine as nominations take shape.
He said people interested in riding on the singer-turned-MP’s fame could denounce his as bad if they miss out as flag bearers for elective positions.
Besigye and Bobi Wine recently led other opposition leaders to work together under the United Forces of Change.
But Besigye says the alliance has nothing to do with the 2021 presidential election.