KAMPALA. Four time presidential runner-up, Dr Kizza Besigye, has asked Ugandans not to participate in the next elections but rather join his struggle to oust President Museveni who he accuses of signing himself into life presidency.
The former president of the opposition party Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) was yesterday, for the first time, speaking out after President Museveni signed the controversial Constitution Amendment Bill (2), 2017 that deletes age limits on all political positions from the Constitution.
Dr Besigye, who is out of the country, told Daily Monitor in a telephone interview that; “the process (of amending the Constitution) should have confirmed to any one doubting that Mr Museveni heads a military junta.
“Elections and democratic institutions like Parliament and local governments are simply a façade. That is why we are clear in our minds that change will come through struggle, not elections per se,” he said.
“All Ugandans who want change should join the struggle which is nonviolent and not waste time preparing for next elections,” he added.
Dr Besigye said President Museveni has been plotting life presidency since 1986 when he captured power after the five-year guerrilla war.
The amendment saw Parliament amend Article 102 (b) of the 1995 Constitution, which provided for 35 years as the lower limit and 75 years as the upper cap for presidential candidates.
The amendment also brought up the restoration of term limits and extended the term of office for elected leaders from five to seven years.
Only the extension for the term of office of the President will be subjected to a referendum so that the next elections are held in 2023 instead of 2021.
Despite calls by religious leaders and legal experts not to assent to the Bill, the President hastily signed it on December 27, meaning that he is now eligible to contest in the next pols after clocking 75 years.
Senior Presidential Press Secretary Don Wanyama yesterday said Ugandans should not take Dr Besigye seriously because the constitutional amendment does not in any way talk about life presidency.
“The idea (life presidency) is in the mind of Dr Besigye. He should not be taken seriously because there was no clause about life presidency and there being no more elections in the amendment. Dr Besigye has now learnt to live with the truth that he cannot defeat President Museveni in any elections that is why he is calling upon Ugandans not to vote,” he said.
Besigye will be disappointed – Ofwono
According to the Uganda Media Centre executive director, Mr Ofwono Opondo, Dr Kizza Besigye should stop ‘taking Ugandans for granted” because he participated in the 2016 elections, which he had vowed not to participate in if Dr Badru Kiggundu’s Electoral Commission organised it.
He also said that Dr Besigye will be disappointed by Ugandans not joining his struggle because his plans to block the passing of the Age Limit Bill yielded nothing.