ARUA. The four-time Presidential contender and the founder President of the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) party, Rtd. Col. Dr Kizza Besigye has said the current struggle in the country has nothing to do with election candidates but to regain citizens’ power.
He said their struggle has only two sides; the oppressor referring to the government and the oppressed that comprises of all forces of opposition ready for change.
“Our hope is that all who want change should work together, that’s why we have been engaging closely with the new formation of ‘people power’ led by Mr Robert Kyagulanyi alias Bobi Wine. We have declared 2019 a year of action and we shall not stop until we see the desired change in the country,” Dr Besigye promised.
He was addressing a press conference at the Blue Dove hotel in Arua town on Monday alongside the FDC President Eng. Patrick Amuriat Oboi and other party officials.
When asked why he doesn’t seem to relinquish leadership to fresh and upcoming politicians, Besigye said: “Mr Museveni is stopping the youth using the guns and he has money to buy people, but what does Besigye have, do I have the money, do I have any guns? What role do I have now? I am not even a leader at the FDC, they carry their activities under the party President.”
He blamed the youth for being unfocused, saying most of the young people who are supposed to lead the struggle are taken up by sports betting and gambling.
Dr Besigye has continued to receive criticism from sections of Ugandans for allegedly manipulating the leadership at FDC and contributing to fallouts especially with former party President Gen. Mugisha Muntu who has since gone to form his own party.
But Mr Amuriat said their mobilization tour which included trips to Adjumani, Moyo, Yumbe, Koboko and then Arua had to do with reawakening their members with the knowledge of what is going on in the country.
He said the party was also developing conflict resolution strategies to unite its people so as to move the ‘family’ with a common mission.
Amuriat, however, condemned security operatives including the police and army for what he termed as harassment and a blatant violation of rights.
He claimed that security operatives raided the home of late Mahmoud Angualiga from Yumbe district and stopped them from condoning with the family.
The group had also previously been stopped from appearing on radio talk shows in Adjumani and Moyo districts. Despite claims that it was for security reasons, Mr Amuriat cried foul over the actions.
He said the government was panicking because they had failed in many areas. He outlined the biting poverty, land grabbing, power outages and unemployment as some of the key challenges in the West Nile region.
Mr Hassan Kaps Fungaroo, the Member of Parliament for Obongi County warned that the religious leaders might be the next target for the regime.
“Uganda is sliding badly into dictatorship and all the religious people need to wake up because it’s no longer about the opposition, you could be asked as a cleric whether you have got permission from the police to hold the prayers at a funeral, next will be weddings among other functions,” Fungaroo said.
“They claimed our activities in the past were destroying people’s businesses but now do people also do business over the airwaves to justify why stopping the radio talk shows?” Fungaroo asked.
However, when contacted on phone over the allegations, Mr Julius Gobolo, the North West Nile region police commander said: “I think they (the FDC leaders) are not right because they had meetings at multipurpose training centre both in Adjumani and Moyo, and nobody blocked them. What we were against was holding rallies and processions because the Electoral Commission guidelines are clear.”
“It is true they wanted radio talk shows but radio station management didn’t give them the time and that was not a police concern. While in Yumbe, we allowed them to meet the family of the Late Angualiga but if they are alleging that we blocked them, I think they are using it to gain political capital,” said Gobolo.