Uganda Opposition Party Leaders Unite to Fight Election Malpractices (1)
Uganda Opposition Party Leaders Unite to Fight Election Malpractices. PHOTO/COURTESY

In a joint statement, opposition party leaders in Uganda — Kizza Besigye (FDC), Kyagulanyi Robert Ssentamu Bobi Wine (NUP) and Asuman Basalirwa (JEEMA) — accused the NRM government of continuing rigging of elections, including the recent by-elections in Soroti City East.

The opposition party leaders in Uganda, including Dr Kizza Besigye (FDC) and Kyagulanyi Robert Ssentamu or Bobi Wine (NUP) have issued a joint statement condemning election malpractice, including the recent by-elections in Soroti City East, which they blame on the NRM government.

Last week, NRM’s Herbert Ariko scooped victory to become the new Soroti East Member of Parliament after garnering 9,407 votes over second-placed Moses Attan (FDC) who got 8,771 votes and Pascal Amuriat of the Uganda People’s Congress managed only 115 votes.

This election, however, left many people from the opposition lamenting how it had been marred with irregularities including vote rigging, ballot stuffing and manipulation caused by top officials from the NRM government. 

Following this, however, members from the opposition held a joint meeting on Monday in which they accused the ruling government of continuous rigging of elections and not just for the Soroti by-elections.

According to political activist, Rt. Col. Dr. Kizza Besigye, the things that were done in the Kayunga, Omoro, and Soroti East by- election were illegal and unacceptable.

Besigye said every time there is an election, the ruling party has always made it a must to defy laws and find a way to influence the outcomes of the polls.

“It is not that there is a bad Constitution or bad laws, it is that there is impunity. Those with power override whatever law is there. They do what they want,” Besigye said.

He challenged the struggle the country must undertake is to regain power and influence and shift it (power) from those who captured it to those who don’t have it.

On his part, the National Unity Platform party president Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu alias Bobi Wine said everytime there are elections in Uganda, it is a war between the ruling party which is over-equipped and other parties that are zero equipped.

He said the population participates in elections promising change, even when it is known that when one becomes a legislator, under the Museveni regime, apart from agitating, very little they can influence or decide on. 

“I want to send messages to three people. First, my fellow leaders from different political parties and formations. I think the time has come to change our message and be more realistic to the electorate. It is my considered view that our message is more of a revolutionary message,” Kyagulanyi said.

“I think the election should be more for sensitization than for winning. In any case, we know that Museveni decides days, sometimes months, who the winner will be. We have made it easy for Museveni by fighting each other. We have changed our targets from the enemy to each other,” he added.

Meanwhile, Asuman Basalirwa from JEEMA said it is now cristal clear that the ruling party president is provoking Ugandans.

Basalirwa however, raised as the opposition, they have consented to fully abide by the letter and spirit of their documents of agreement to see a joint fight against such form of irregularities.

“I am here to confirm that as Justice Forum, we fully associate with the statement that has been read and signed by leaders of political parties and formations gathered here today. We commit to fully abide by the letter and spirit of the document,” Basalirwa said.

“It is now absolutely clear that Mr. Museveni and @NRMOnline are provoking Ugandans. When you see what happened in Soroti, Kayunga, and Omoro is a total provocation. These provocations are deliberate and are intended to send a message,” he added.