Opposition political parties in Uganda have joined forces against President Yoweri Museveni’s government. The political parties include; the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC), the National Unity Platform (NUP), JEEMA.
The coalition follows their defeat in the just concluded Soroti East by-election where the National Resistance Movement (NRM) candidate Herbert Edmund Ariko was declared the winner of the hotly contested election. Ariko polled 9,407 votes defeating his closest rival Moses Attan Okia who garnered 8,771 votes while Pascal Amuriat, the Uganda Peoples’ Congress (UPC) candidate got 115 votes. They resolved to challenge Ariko’s election in Court.
The Opposition parties claimed that what happened in Soroti was not new, the arrest and detaining of polling agents was done in the Kayunga and Omoro too. They reechoed that it is not that there is a bad Constitution or bad laws, it is that there is impunity that Museveni’s leadership overrides the constitution.
Speaking today, the Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago said; “We reject the results of the Soroti East by-election, and it doesn’t reflect the will of the people. It does not in any way meet the standards of the Constitution, and as we said earlier on, it is a mockery of democracy.”
Lukwago said the Opposition insists that the provisions of Article 3 give them a clear way forward on what they should be doing.
“What happened in Soroti is treasonable. Museveni, Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja, and all other state agents committed treason. Ugandans should rise to the occasion,” he said.
During the presser at Hotel Africana, former Presidential Candidate Dr. Kizza Besigye said Uganda is in the middle of one of the worst social-economic crisis where very person almost, save for those whom they united to work against, is in a crisis of survival.
“As people are starving, nearly Shs 2 billion has been appropriated to be spent on one family of Mr. Museveni. The other day Mr. Museveni put on his uniform to send a message, to frighten people.”
He said the struggle that the country must undertake is to regain power and influence. To shift power from those who captured it to those who don’t have it. “The people must reclaim their power by action.”
“The way to get back our power is to unite all of us and the population to be rallied together. Once that happens, I’m very excited that I can see it now beginning to happen. Even if we said that let all of us do this, this regime has no capacity to stop it,” he said.
The National Untiy Platfrom (NUP) president Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu aka Bobi Wine said they go into the elections promising change, even when they know that when one becomes an MP under the Museveni regime, apart from agitating, they can change very little.
“We cannot pretend not to see that Museveni organizes elections, but in real sense, organizes a fight where he is over-equipped, and we are zero equipped. It is my considered view that our message is more of a revolutionary message. The election should be more for sensitization than for winning. In any case, we know that Museveni decides days, sometimes months, which the winner will be,” Bobi Wine said.
“We have made it easy for Museveni by fighting each other. We have changed our targets from the enemy to each other. This country is bigger than our political parties. The mission is bigger than building our political parties. In any case, one would argue that there are no political parties in Uganda because we do not operate like political parties,” he said.
He said “Political parties are recognized in a democracy, but in a country where you cannot even organize as political parties, we cannot boast of being political parties. Therefore, we are all slaves. The more we fight against each other, the more we prolong it for Museveni.”
“We leaders have made an effort to unite for a common cause, but we are only leaders, and if you don’t follow us where we are going, we won’t succeed. Please get involved.”