Monday,October 26,2020 18:33 PM

Besigye wins

By Vision Reporter

Added 14th February 2009 03:00 AM

FORUM for Democratic Change (FDC) President Col. Dr. Kizza Besigye was yesterday re-elected to lead the party for another five-year term.

FORUM for Democratic Change (FDC) President Col. Dr. Kizza Besigye was yesterday re-elected to lead the party for another five-year term.

By Cyprian Musoke & Moses Mulondo

FORUM for Democratic Change (FDC) President Col. Dr. Kizza Besigye was yesterday re-elected to lead the party for another five-year term.

According to provisional results, Besigye won with a landslide victory, getting 689 votes while his challenger, retired Maj. Gen. Mugisha Muntu, got only 59 out of a total 780 votes.

Sam Njuba defeated Abdu Katuntu on the position of party chairman, with Njuba getting 100% at some polling stations. By midnight voting was still going on for other party positions.

According to the FDC constitution, the person elected as party president will not necessarily be their candidate in the next presidential elections. However, Besigye’s landslide victory in yesterday’s contest increases his chances of being the party’s flag-bearer in 2011.

Next year the party will hold another delegates’ conference to decide on the presidential candidate.

Excitement heightened when it came to campaign time for Besigye and Muntu.

The chairman for electoral commission insisted that the 10 minutes allocated to each was enough.

This was after Odongo Otto had objected saying the time should be increased.

Besigye, who was the first to speak, said the time was enough and even offered to lend his colleague, Muntu, some of his time if he needed it to fully exhaust his points. But at the end of his speech, he only left him only 40 seconds.

Besigye said the argument that he should not stand again because he has stood twice against President Yoweri Museveni and lost is baseless.

“There are many examples of people who have won after several trials. For instance, just recently Atta Mills won the presidency of Ghana on his third trial. It is therefore not true to allege that the more you stand, the weaker you become,” he said.

He said both in 2001 and 2006 he won, but his victory was stolen through rigging.

Narrating his different sacrifices and achievements to the party, Besigye asked the delegates to give him one last chance of leading the FDC party. “If you give me one more term, I will not stand again. In FDC we cherish the principle of term limits and we promise Ugandans that when we get to power, we shall restore the two term limits for presidency,” he said.

Speaking with his trademark roaring voice, Besigye scoffed at the people condemning him for being aggressive while criticising Government.

“We have a very hostile regime that requires an aggressive approach. Yes I am aggressive. I am against the evils of the NRM Government. The evil we have will not be massaged out. It will have to be pressurised out,” Besigye said.

At the end of Besigye’s campaign speech, the Disco Jockey played Bobi Wine’s Mazzi Mawanvu (I am buttressed) and majority of the delegates danced while waving at Besigye as some said Obeewo (stay in control).

Outside Namboole stadium Police was patrolling to control hundreds of Besigye supporters from the neighbouring areas who were singing Besigye’s praises.

When Muntu took the platform, he argued that his approach to politics was different. “I respect Dr. Besigye although there may be some differences in style and management. I have been through thick and thin, but I have never done anything out of pressure. I believe it is not the outward expression that matters, but the willingness in one’s heart to champion change,” Muntu reasoned amidst chants from his supporters who were shouting “our man, Obama.”

Muntu said his competition with Besigye had shown the country the difference between the NRM and FDC. “This day has filled me with joy. The party itself has already had victory. We are now practicing what we speak. Today, we are giving something to the NRM that will be difficult for them to handle for the remaining two years,” Muntu said.

He urged the delegates to express their will in voting and avoid fear, saying it is biggest problem of Africa. He also encouraged more FDC stalwarts to come out and compete in the elections for the party’s flag-bearer in 2010.

“This is not an election for the party’s flag-bearer for the 2011 presidential race. A lot can change. One philosopher said one week is too long in politics, what about a year?” he asked.

Besigye’s campaigning team was headed by Jack Sabiiti, while former youth chairman Ibrahim Kasozi headed Muntu’s campaign. Throughout the day, campaign agents of both contestants were moving around carrying posters and flyers while others donned t-shirts bearing portraits of the candidates.

The day however began with long technical session on constitutional amendments. Then at around 5pm, all FDC positions were declared vacant and official campaigns kicked off starting with the contestants on the position of party chairman.

Soon tempers flared after party leaders compelled Sam Njuba to enter the race for national chairman in the interest of regional balance after realising that Abdu Katuntu was likely to defeat the earlier Buganda contestant, Obed Kamulegeya. This did not go down with Katuntu. “At first I was in the race with some other person. Let us be sincere and avoid intrigue in the party. We should not be compelled to run for posts,” Katuntu said.

There was also some excitement when Amanya Mushega was invited to campaign shortly after Hon. Bihande Bwambale had stepped down for him. Mushega then remained in the race for deputy president for west with Kyapa Karuhanga.

Mushega amused the delegates when he said he has been a quiet FDC card- bearing member since 2005. He vowed to work tirelessly for more FDC support in western Uganda.

Several FDC leaders passed through in the just concluded party’s Delegates Conference that has been on for the last two days. Those who went through unopposed include party treasurer, Jack Sabiiti, his deputy Nandala Mafabi, the deputy president for central region, Yusuf Nsibambi, vice chairperson for Eastern region, Kevina Taka, and deputy secretary general for administration, Kassiano Wadri.

The FDC Delegates Conference captured high public attention when Muntu declared he would stand against Dr. Besigye for the FDC presidency about two weeks ago.


By Conan Businge

RTD Col Dr. Warren Kizza Besigye and President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni took different political paths after fighting together in the bush.

Differing philosophies set them skittering on different paths, with Besigye’s FDC having twice unsuccessfully fronted the strongest opposition to Museveni’s NRM. And for the third time, Besigye might lock horns with NRM after he was elected party president yesterday.

Known for passionate speeches laced around his gruff voice, Besigye was born in Bushenyi, western Uganda, in April 1956.
The man who still marshals the dream to be the next president, is married to Winnie Byanyima, who works in UNDP.

He is the second child in a family of six and the son of a policeman. Both his parents passed away while he was in primary school. He studied in Kinyasano Primary and Mbarara Junior School. He did his O-levels at Kitante High School and A-levels at Kigezi High School.

In 1975, he joined Makerere University and graduated in 1980 with a medical degree, a qualification that earned him a job at Aga Khan Hospital in Nairobi.

While at Makerere, Besigye had not been spared the tyrannical claws of president Idi Amin, whose army was involved in gruesome human rights abuse. It’s for similar reasons of poor governance that Besigye abandoned his job in Nairobi and underwent military training. He joined Museveni’s guerrilla rebellion against Milton Obote’s Government in the 1980’s.

In 1981, Besigye was imprisoned for two months in the Nile Hotel (currently Serena Hotel), on grounds of collaborating with rebels. After fleeing to Nairobi, he joined Museveni’s bush war in 1982 and became his personal doctor.

When Museveni came to power in 1986, Besigye, then at the age of 29, was made state minister of internal affairs and national political commissar. He rose to the rank of colonel and retired shortly before the 2001 elections, after writing a document accusing the ruling Movement of being undemocratic, dishonest and corrupt. This stance almost earned him a court martial.

Political road and exile
He then decided to stand against Museveni but lost.

On March 23, 2001, he contested the election results in the Supreme Court of Uganda, but lost. The Supreme Court ruled that there was cheating but not enough to warrant nullification.

On June 30, 2001, he was detained, allegedly for treason. In September, sighting a threat on his life, Besigye fled to the US and then later to South Africa. He returned on October 26, 2005 but was arrested a month later on accusation of treason and rape. High Court granted him bail. On January 2, 2006 he was released on orders of the High Court. On February 1, 2006, he was acquitted of the rape charges by the High Court because of insufficient evidence.

He stood again and lost in 2006 and again unsuccessfully challenged the results.

Besigye wins

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