Letter From Kampala: Mbabazi launches presidential campaign as Dr Obote’s eldest son joins the race ahead of younger brother Jimmy Akena

Former Ugandan opposition leader, Col Dr Kizza Besigye  “I have Former Ugandan opposition leader, Col Dr Kizza BesigyeFormer Ugandan opposition leader, Col Dr Kizza Besigye: "  “I have defeated Museveni in elections and I have defeated him in courts but there is still no change of leadership,” defeated Museveni in elections and I have defeated him in courts but there is still no change of leadership,”

By Jessica A Badebye

The “One People-One Uganda” slogan returned to the Ugandan political scene when former Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) leader Dr Kizza Besigye, launched his campaign as party flag bearer this week. This time round, police did not interfere with the peaceful rallies or the processions, instead they were there to show and guide supporters on the direction to take to avoid causing a traffic jam on major routes to the city centre but also guarding against vandalism of people’s shops.

Besigye told hundreds of supporters that he will not stop challenging the current regime until the job of saving Ugandans from captivity which he started 15 years ago is finished. “We survive in this country like refugees and captives. State House is not just about getting to power but getting power back to the people. Power was captured from the people right from the colonial times and the guns that took that power are still in the wrong hands,” said Besigye. He further advised Buganda Kingdom to stop exalting President Museveni as if he is their messiah. “Mr Museveni never rescued Buganda Kingdom but Buganda instead rescued Mr Museveni,” he contested.

Surprisingly on day two of his campaign, Besigye told his supporters that he is not focused on becoming president but more on regime change, a statement that got many wondering. “I have a problem with people that think I am struggling to become president. All I want is to save the country from captivity and I’ll not deviate until this is realized,” he said. Being that this is the fourth time Besigye is standing for presidency it is indeed difficult to convince many Ugandans that he is not in the race for the topmost job in the country. He has been under tight spot for telling Ugandans three times in a raw that he will not stand again but is in the race today which does not make him any different from the incumbent President Yoweri Museveni.

As Besigye launched his campaign successfully in the Kawempe Division of Kampala district, defiant former Ugandan premier Amama Mbabazi and President Museveni were denied nomination forms by the National Resistance Movement Electoral Commission Chairman Dr Tanga Odoi. Mbabazi was denied on grounds of not paying the prescribed fees of UGX 20 million, while although President Museveni had paid his UGX 20million through his aides, they were denied the forms as he has to pick them in person. Mbabazi caused laughter when he asked directions to his former office at the party headquarters on plot 10 Kyadondo road. He cried foul and said he will challenge the exorbitant fees for nomination. According to Dr Odoi, the fees set were intended to “instil a sense of responsibility” among party members. “No aspirant will pick our nomination form before paying the prescribed fees for all posts,” Odoi emphasized.

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