By Julius Odeke-Onyango
Former Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) presidential candidate Dr Kizza Warren Kifefe Besigye has described President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni’s judicial appointments as a systemic approach meant to weakened the country’s judiciary.
Dr Besigye who is right now in the city of Durban in South Africa, was addressing the 2016 annual Jurists Conference about Democracy in Africa which is held in Durban, South Africa. The FDC opposition leader who has run four times against his former boss, President Museveni, told his audience that President Museveni’s ruling National Resistance Movement party that has been in power for over 30 years now, has taken over control of key institutions in the country in its bid to hold on to power. Organisers of the three-day conference say it is discussing issues on Democracy in Africa and how to “interrogate recent developments in relation to the rise of irresponsible leadership around the continent, the deficiency of political will for reform, as well as socio-economic implications for the decline in democracy for the African citizen”.
In his address, Dr Besigye delivered a narrative about Uganda themed “Uganda’s journey to attain (total) democracy”. President Museveni’s former physician cited institutions and groups in the country like the church, police and “legal minds” which he said have been “co-opted” to “control the thought process” and “influence” people. He said, “Uganda’s Judiciary has now been heavily weakened through appointments. “We now have a category of people who they call cadre judges. These are judges who will implement whatever they are told to do, he said.” However, Dr Besigye was optimistic saying: “All is not lost.” He repetitively cited his ability to get out of prison, despite the wish of elements of the State to keep him there and paid tribute to what he referred to as “a resilient judiciary” with some officials who have taken “heroic stands to resist”.