At about 10:30 am, Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) strongman, Dr. Kizza Besigye and Kyadondo East MP, also leader of the People Power pressure group, Robert Kyagulanyi (Bobi Wine) walked into Floral Hotel, Wakiso for the media launch of a joint platform that they hope to ride on into the 2021 general elections.
Anticipation was high among journalists and political activists from either Besigye’s people’s government group and Kyagulanyi’s people power group, given that the launch was coming days after supporters of the two rival opposition groups engaged in bitter exchanges over the social media.
The Wakiso meeting is a culmination of a series of talks that the two groups have been involved in since March last year.
No concrete pronouncements were made regarding next year’s general elections other than a lengthy communiqué which was read in turn by Bugiri Municipality MP, Asuman Basalirwa and Kampala Lord Mayor, Erias Lukwago that largely spells out their new formation; United Forces of Change’s “no-violence strategy to end President Yoweri Museveni’s 34-year-rule.”
“We are coming together as pro-democracy forces to call upon the people of Uganda to rise up and defend themselves against a regime which has used the COVID-19 situation to enrich itself at the expense of Ugandans and to entrench itself further. It is the money they have borrowed or illegally passed in supplementary budgets that they are spending on buying political opponents and engaging in early rigging of elections,” their joint statement partly reads.
Speaking after the police walked in to disperse the meeting, Besigye told the gathering that it a long journey they had walked to reach to a point of agreement on a common strategy. He hailed Bobi Wine and his People Power movement “for the patience and commitment to the liberation of the country” which made it possible for the two groups to agree to work together.
“This is a wonderful moment for our country that we can unite to say that from here, let the whole country unite and say that enough is enough,” Besigye said.
Kyagulanyi spoke of the event as the first step to the unity of all opposition groups campaigning to end Museveni’s rule. He urged the two groups’ supporters to stop attacking one another but focus their energies at causing a change in leadership.
“I want to call upon all Ugandan not to sleep, not to sit, but to speak out, and speak out louder,” Kyagulanyi said.