With just two days before the Ugandan presidential election, the party of opposition candidate Kizza Besigye says someone is trying to assassinate him. Sam Akaki is spokesman for the party, the Forum for Democratic Change. He talked with VOA English to Africa reporter James Butty about the alleged attempt:
“It is quite true that in the last seven days, there’s been at least two assassination attempts on Dr. Kizza Besigye’s life. The latest was [a couple of days ago] when he was campaigning in Mukono, about 50 miles east of Kampala. As the crowds of his supporters escorted him to the grounds, eight armored vehicles, what we call here “Black Mambas,” came and ramped into the crowd narrowly missing Dr. Kizza Besigye’s official vehicle. In the process, six people were crushed, six of them are now injured.”
Akaki says the attempts on Besigye’s life are happening because all the government’s efforts to disqualify his candidature have failed.
“The terrorism charge was a way to stop him; the rape charge was a way to stop him; the claim that he was unofficially nominated was a way to stop him; we have heard claims that he does not have academic qualifications – all these were attempts to disqualify him and they have failed. So they are going for the big kill.”
Akaki says Besigye will not be deterred, because he has said that he is prepared to give his life for change in Uganda.
The Ugandan government is denying the allegations. Uganda’s Minister of Internal Affairs, Ruhakana Rugunda, told VOA English to Africa reporter James Butty the opposition allegations are far-fetched:
“Of course the story is fallacious. There is no way…eight armored vehicles can plow into a huge crowd and you don’t have anybody dying. On the contrary, what happened was that when the armored vehicles came, they found a large crowd and this caused a stampede, and out of the stampede three or four people got injuries, and they were treated in the hospitals and they were discharged on the very same day. So it’s not correct that the government wanted to assassinate Dr. Kizza Besigye.”
Rugunda says reports of violence incidents at Besigye rallies are happening because of the way Besigye’s party conducts its rallies.
“I think the main difference is that the rallies of President Yoweri Museveni and other presidential candidates have been well-organized and members have been well-disciplined. But we have had instances where supporters of Dr. Kizza Besigye have blocked public roads and also insisted that people passing must show their allegiance and support for Dr. Kizza Besigye, and even make the party symbol of Dr. Kizza Besigye. And when people have refused, this has resulted in violence.”