For the first time in 25 years, President Yoweri Museveni is likely to face a new set of presidential contenders following the withdrawal from the race of his former physician, Dr. Kizza Besigye.
Besigye who has stood against Museveni since 2001 remained the only likely candidate of all the presidential contenders that have challenged Museveni 1996 until Wednesday afternoon when he announced publicly that he was not offering himself again for election.
In his address to Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) party supporters on Wednesday as the party closed the window presidential aspirants to pick its expression of interest forms, Besigye said that he had decided to drop elections as a path for Uganda’s liberation and adopt a ‘plan B’.
“We are at the crossroads when the junta is organising elections to legitimize themselves. In 2016, I was engaging two gears; one for elections and another for defiance/fighting. That is not very efficient. Election gears are our Plan A, the fighting gears are our plan B, and, Plan B is quite wide and involving. It’s my humble decision that I have intensively discussed with my colleagues that we get somebody to lead Plan and you leave Plan B for me,” Besigye said.
Besigye said that Elections is Plan A which he has decided to leave for another person while he takes care of his unrevealed plan B reiterating his all-time commitment that he will never leave the struggle to overthrow President Museveni’s regime before victory is achieved.
Never ever imagine that I can leave the struggle, if we felt that again, moving with both hands is the most efficient way, maybe we would have done that, but, trust my judgement, this country will never be freed by [the Electoral Commission] announcing that there is a new winner who is not Museveni,” Besigye said.
Before this declaration, Besigye arrived at the FDC headquarters in Najjanankumbi amidst ululations from diehard FDC supporters. He was received by party leaders including the President Patrick Oboi Amuriat, the spokesperson Ibrahim Ssemuju Nganda, Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago, the party EC chairperson Toterebuka Bamwenda, the vice-chairperson Eastern Region Salaamu Musumba, and several others.
But chaos ensued when his supporters started erecting posters bearing his image and placards demanding that he picks nomination forms and take part in the 2021 election. However, Nganda asked his supporters to calm down as he prepared to talk to them and the country at large
He eventually told the supporters that the struggle to get Museveni out of power will not only rely on elections because Uganda’s democracy has been greatly tampered with.
Besigye then commenced his formal speech mainly narrating his journey in elective politics since 2001. He reiterated that he has won elections all the time he has stood against President Yoweri Museveni but the results were manipulated to keep the incumbent leader in power.
“We are building a strong front for change. It is our duty to make sure Mr. Museveni leaves, whether he wants it or not. That duty is very urgent. The fight is on, you must listen to channel or plan A and channel or plan B. Plan B will support plan A fully,” he said.
He said that he will align his support to whoever will be duly nominated and elected presidential candidate for the FDC.
He also pledged his support for other opposition political players both in the 2021 elections and in another strategy of defiance whose details he declined to dwell deep into.