Londoners demand freedom for Dr Besigye as Amama Mbabazi calls for total vote recount

Ugandans resident in London demonstrate Wednesday against February 18 2016 election results.
Ugandans resident in London demonstrate Wednesday against February 18 2016 election results.

By Twaha Mukiibi in London and Ruth Namatovu in Kampala

Hundreds of Ugandan nationals living in the UK yesterday (Wednesday)  braved the freezing cold weather and came out on the London streets to demonstrate against what they claimed was a blatant rigging of the February 18 elections by the incumbent, Yoweri Museveni, and the continued indefinite incarceration of Dr Kiiza Besigye, the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) leader who many believe won the elections.

The demonstration took place in front of Uganda House at Trafalgar Square , a building bought by Gen Idi Amin in the mid-1970 to accommodate the office of the Uganda High Commission, where placards of the picture of Dr Besigye were held high together with critical messages of anger directed against Museveni. The main message was that Ugandans in the United Kingdom did not agree with the results announced by the Uganda Electoral Commission Chairman Badru Kiggundu. “Release our legitimate president,” many were heard demanding. Dr Besigye’s campaign song of ‘Toka Kwa Bara Bara’ (get out of the way) was the main demonstrator’s battle song.

The demonstration was organised mainly by the P10 UK chapter members in coordination and support of all peace and democracy yearning Ugandans in the UK. From the Uganda High Commission building, the demonstration headed to 10 Downing Street, the official residence of British prime ministers and handed in a petition against  Museveni’s current actions in Uganda that have included placing Dr Besigye under house arrest since it was claimed he had been defeated at the elections.

One thought on “Londoners demand freedom for Dr Besigye as Amama Mbabazi calls for total vote recount

  • March 10, 2016 at 11:03 am

    I am not sure whether demonstrating against rigged election in Uganda in particular and Africa in general can sway Western governments/countries to change their minds. Rigging in Uganda has happened too many times, that is now considered a petty theft. It is a political culture which will continue to be practiced by any leaders who comes to power. Uganda’s road to progress was cut short following the 1966 Buganda crisis, followed by the “Declaration of Common’s Man Charter then the 1971 coup.
    Ideologically, unlike Kenya and Tanzania, Uganda has failed to develop one and there has never been a rally song that motivates people. In Kenya, during the Jommo Kenyatta era there was “Harambe” and Moi coined his own “Nyayo”. In Tanzania Nyerere had “Uhuru na kazi”. While these kinds of slogans look small in the overall scheme of politics, they attract the attention of the general population and act as a unify. Lack of a common language that binds the population from one end to another has never taken shape other than English which is only spoken by the elites. Both Tanzania and Kenya succeeded in unifying their population through Swahili which is spoken from one corner to another. Tanzania added another common denominator that of referring to everybody as “ndugu” (brother) and “dada” (sister). The special salutation between the young and old also reinforced the culture of respect. A younger person always greets an elder by saying “shikamo” and the elder responds “marahaba mwana wangu”. All these small things have contributed to Tanzania’s peace and tranquility since independence and will continue to do so for a long time to come, now that the country has embraced peaceful means of power transition.
    In conclusion, while demonstration is a good thing, it is not going to be a solution. A different way needs to be found and used.


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