Kampala, Uganda (PANA) – Uganda’s president for 33 years, Yoweri Museveni, has spent the past week traversing the country in a mobilisation drive, widely seen as meant to gain a handle on the heating political environment in the country.
In the last three days, Museveni travelled to the eastern part of the country to commission factories, then he dashed to a town in the western part to talk to locals about better agricultural practices, and on Saturday he is in the northern part of Uganda to launch an Internet service.
His challenger for the past 20 years, Dr Kizza Besigye, has been traversing the country nonstop for two months, calling on Ugandans to rise up and remove Museveni even before the scheduled 2021 elections.
Besigye, who claims he won the 2016 election and Museveni rigged it, says the country’s Constitution allows citizens to overthrow a person who usurps power, which he says Museveni has done.
Besigye has had his rallies broken up by the police and army, and has on about five occasions been blocked from appearing on local radio stations to propagate his mobilisation campaign under the banner of “defiance”.
Besigye’s position as Opposition leader had in the past year come into question with the emergence of pop music star Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine, who has declared intention of challenging for the presidency and has attracted immense interest among young people. He is 37 years old, while Museveni is 75. Besigye is 63.
The political environment heated up further this week when Besigye and Kyagulanyi issued a joint statement saying they will join hands in their resistance against Museveni’s government. For the start, they said, they will hold demonstrations against what they called abuse of human rights.
This prompted immediate action, with joint security chiefs and relevant ministers holding a “special” meeting to discuss “defiance”, Besigye’s catchphrase for demonstrations.
So, concurrently, Museveni is doing political and security work to stave off the latest challenge against his hold onto power. These are tools he has often used during his three decades in office.
-0- PANA EM/AR 11May2019