Opposition leader Dr Kizza Besigye has responded to a question on standing for president in 2021, but insisted consultations on candidature would determine if he makes another attempt at the presidency.
Besigye has stood against President Yoweri Museveni in four consecutive elections, losing all of them, according to Electoral Commission results.
A former physician for Museveni during the 1981-86 war that brought current government to power, Dr Besigye is by far the president’s fiercest challenger.
Yet recent media reports claim Besigye is reluctant to run as presidential candidate for the fifth time.
But main opposition political party Forum for Democratic Change, for which he previously served as president, is reportedly wooing him to be its flag bearer.
This is not the first election for which the FDC is attempting to convince Besigye to stand.
Days ago, party spokesperson Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda said Besigye had refused to contest in 2016, and suggested Kampala mayor Erias Lukwago as a candidate.
On July 11, Besigye said consultations on the 2021 candidature were ongoing.
“Let’s exhaust the consultations we are doing on how to bring this regime to a close and once we have a way forward, it shall be communicated,” he said.
Besigye was addressing Ugandans online in a Covid19 briefing and Q&A session broadcast live on social networking sites Facebook and Twitter.
When the concern came up, Besigye noted that his candidature shouldn’t be an issue but
“The reason I have not commented on whether I become a candidate or not, is I am not the issue and I should never be the issue in Uganda,” he said.
“No single person should be an issue at this time; what should be the issue is a Uganda that is free.”
He promised to address candidature and the quest to save Uganda but didn’t want to distract people from the focus on the struggle at the moment.
“I will have time to talk about candidature and the struggle,” he said.
“But when we present ourselves, we distract the people from what the real struggle is – you find some people participate because of Besigye or any other candidate.”
He continued: “So until we find how to solve the problem of Uganda, I don’t want to be a mix in the confusion that Mr Museveni loves.”
Besigye reiterated that his participation in the struggle was meant to earn him positions but freedom.
“Those who have followed me know that becoming an officer holder has never been my ambitions; I have never set out to be an office seeker,” he said.
“My ambition has always been to live in a free country where I have rights like any other Ugandan and where we have equal opportunities and equitably share our nation’s resources.”
He also commented on the number of people who have so far expressed interest in contesting for president.
“You hear that there are 40 candidates. Forty candidates to do what when the person with our power is the military, what are the 40 candidates going to do?”