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In Uganda, the President Requests a Meeting with the MDC


After Uganda’s contentious presidential elections earlier this year, President Yoweri Museveni said there was nothing to reconcile between him and Kizza Besigye of the opposition party Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). But President Museveni has changed his mind and has written to Besigye inviting him to a meeting to discuss “matters of mutual interest.” Besigye tells VOA English to Africa reporter James Butty he has some reservations about the invitation.

“The important point we wanted clarification on is the purpose of the meeting. We are not interested in a meeting for the sake of meeting. We are interested in a meeting that will advance our engagement on the points of concern that we have in this country. And so the critical issue is the subject of the meeting which has not been clarified up to now.”

Besigye says he does not know why President Museveni wants to meet, and any discussion must concern issues important to the Movement for Democratic Change.

“For example, the human rights issue of our supporters is a matter of grave concern for us. We have got great many people who are languishing in prison without any recognizable charges, some who are languishing in illegal centers of detention, who have been tortured and maimed. So that is the type of environment around which talks are being invited.”

Besigye says he’s not looking for a pardon from President Museveni.

“You cannot pardon somebody who is not guilty. In order to pardon someone, there must be an establishment of an offense that was committed. As I have stated, I am fully convinced of my innocence, and with that regard I cannot accept anybody to pardon me because I have not done anything wrong.”

Besigye says the only problem he has is the charges against him have been used to cripple him politically.

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