Uganda’s main opposition leader Dr Kizza Besigye has unveiled his plan to end President Yoweri Museveni’s 34-year rule, even when he told his supporters he won’t stand for President for a fifth time.
Besigye has challenged Museveni four times since 2001, losing in all but disputing election results.
But on August 19, Besigye declared he wouldn’t be a candidate in the 2021 presidential election.
At Besigye’s Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) party headquarters, his supporters had expected him to pick nomination forms.
But the former FDC president told them picking nomination forms wouldn’t win them freedom.
“We are at the crossroads when the junta is organising elections to legitimize themselves,” said Besigye.
“In 2016, I was engaging two gears , one for elections and another for defiance/fighting. That is not very efficient.”
Besigye told FDC members that he, top FDC leaders and colleagues in the struggle had agreed to plan for two liberation fronts.
“Election gears are our Plan A; the fighting gears are our plan B. And Plan B is quite wide and involving,” he explained.
“It’s my humble decision that I have intensively discussed with my colleagues that we get somebody to lead Plan B and you leave Plan B for me.”
The opposition strongman explained he would concentrate on Plan B while an FDC presidential candidate will focus on Plan A.
Besigye clarified that declining to stand in next year’s election doesn’t meant he has opted out of the struggle to end Museveni’s rule.
“Never ever imagine that I can leave the struggle. Never.”
Besigye was confident the FDC members who have expressed interest in carrying the party flag.
He spoke at an event to mark the end of an exercise for FDC candidates to pick expression of interest forms for party presidential flag bearer.
FDC president Patrick Oboi Amuriat and party chairman Wasswa Birigwa are seeking the presidential election flag.
BESIGYE ON PATRICK OBOI AMURIAT’S POTENTIAL
“I don’t need to talk much about our president, the one and only POA.
He has been in National politics for decades, and there is no corner of this country that he doesn’t know.
He also had experience in public service.
POA is also a quiet and decisive person.
If there are people out there who underestimate him, think again because he is full of surprises.
He came from wherever in those humble situations and finds a General, Former commander of Armed Forces leading a strong party, and in a short time, things changed, it is not a mean achievement.
Some people mistake his demeanor as being a push over. Well, those who tried know how it ended.
In a short time, things change; it’s no mean achievement. I have absolutely have no doubt that POA fits the bill.
The few years he has been in charge of the party, he has never left the frontline.
Wherever there has been a tough area, POA has been there.”
BESIGYE ON WASSWA BIRIGWA’S POTENTIAL
Omulo good Wasswa Birigwa is not new to the challenges of Plan A.
He has been in the trenches in the country here and abroad as an Ambassador.
He is has networks that we need at this critical moment” Besigye said about Birigwa.
WHY PLAN B?
After four elections, Besigye is convinced the country’s Electoral Commission (EC) can never hold a free and fair election.
Like in previous contests where Besigye and the FDC seemed to concentrate on elections, the politician now says it is prudent to have leaders on both fronts.
“If we felt that moving with both plans is most effective, may be we would have considered it,” Besigye noted.
“But trust my judgement: this country will not be freed by Byabakama Electoral Commission declaring a new winner who isn’t Mr Museveni; and that Museveni will come to Kololo with his hat and hand over power to the winner.”
He went on: “Those who are waiting that Mr Museveni will one day come and thank Ugandans for all the things that we have done for him, he will never do so.”
Besigye says Plan B will support Plan A (of elections) but the party was seeking more fighters than it was wooing voters.
“We are building a strong front for change. It is our duty to make sure Mr Museveni leaves: whether he wants it or not,” he told party supporters.
“That duty is very urgent. The fight is on. You must listen to Channel/Plan A and Channel/Plan B. Plan B will support plan A fully.”
Besigye, who swore himself in as president after the 2016 election, still faces treason charges for that action.
But he insists Uganda’s should use all means available to end Museveni’s rule.
Protests, like those that shook the nation in 2011, are what the Besigye’s camp could be planning.
Such protests could preceded or proceed the 2021 election as Besigye and his FDC moves to like more pressure on Museveni to leave power.
Museveni has ruled Uganda since 1986 after a five-year bush war in which Besigye participated.
In his inaugural speech 34 years ago, Museveni diagnosed Africa’s problem as leaders who overstay in power.
For two decades, Besigye has been Museveni’s fiercest Challenger. He had been accused of overstaying in the opposition.
Government-leaning pundits and media have predicted oblivion for Besigye and FDC if the strongman opted out of the race.
But Besigye believes the party will emerge stronger, and it’s two-pronged approach could ‘liberate’ Uganda from Museveni’s ‘misrule.’