News / Africa

Uganda Opposition Leader Fighting for Equality not Presidency

Opposition leader Kizza Besigye waves to his supporters prior to his arrest at gunpoint in late April.Opposition leader Kizza Besigye waves to his supporters prior to his arrest at gunpoint in late April.
Opposition leader Kizza Besigye waves to his supporters prior to his arrest at gunpoint in late April.
Opposition leader Kizza Besigye waves to his supporters prior to his arrest at gunpoint in late April.
The former leader of Uganda’s main opposition party -- the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) -- says his struggle is not about being president of Uganda, but rather one that seeks qualitative changes in Uganda.

Kizza Besigye says he has been fighting for a Uganda that is well-governed, free of human rights abuses and where resources are distributed equitably, free of corruption.

Besigye was responding to comments made by Tarsis Kabwegyere, Uganda’s minister for General Duties in the office of the prime minister.

Kabwegyere reportedly said that besigye should drop his ‘wishful thinking’ that political activism will one day make him president of Uganda.

Besigye says Mr. Kabwegyere misses the point about the reasons for the struggle in Uganda.
“It’s unfortunate that the minister made those remarks because he should know that my pursuit is not one of an office but one of qualitative changes in our country, specifically we have been struggling for a long time for a democratic country in which our people can have equal opportunities and that they can live in an environment free of corruption,” he said.
Besigye said once those changes have been achieved and Ugandans have transitioned to a democratic dispensation, he will retire to his grave a very happy person regardless of who is leading Uganda.
In April 2011, Besigye and a group called Activists for Change (A4C) began the walk-to-work protest to express their concerns about people's dissatisfaction with rising prices.

Since then, Besigye says, he has been in and out of jail countless times. He says the authorities have told him they are keeping him under ‘preventive detention’.

But Kabwegyere reportedly said Besigye’s political activism breeds anarchy and confrontation with police.

Besigye says he’s not surprised by Kabwegyere’s comments.

"Well, anybody serving a dictatorship cannot like a strong challenge to that dictatorship. Mr. Kabwegyere is right. He is expect4ed to be a spokesperson of a regime which violates human rights with impunity," he said.

Besigye says the fact that the protest is ruffling the feathers means that it is a popular protest.
Besigye recently criticized leading religious organizations in Uganda of for lending a death ear to political activism.
“Well, I was simply inviting our religious leaders who are obviously important voices in our country to do more, to speak on behalf of the voiceless which is what religious leadership is supposed to do,” Besigye said.
However, Besigye said it is regrettable that a “large section of these religious leaders have been co-opted by the regime through patronage arrangements”.
He described as problematic Uganda’s intervention in the South Sudan conflict.
“First all, it was done without the due process that would allow our troops to be deployed outside our country which according to constitutional laws would require the parliament of Uganda to approve. Secondly, we have a large population scattered all over Sudan and our forces were taken to intervene on one side of the warring parties,” Besigye said.
Butty interview with Besigye
Butty interview with Besigyei
|| 0:00:00

You May Like

Jihadist Assassin says Goal of Tunisia Murders Was Chaos

Abu Muqatil at-Tunusi’s remarks in a propaganda interview also cast light on attack on Bardo Museum More

Russia Denies License to Tatar-Language TV Station in Crimea

OSCE official says denial shows 'politically selective censorship of free and independent voices in Crimea is continuing' More

Kenyan Startups Tackle Expensive Remittances Through Bitcoin

Some think services could give Western Union a run for its money, though others say it’s still got a long way to go More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedomi
Jerome Socolovsky
April 01, 2015 1:41 AM
Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.

Video Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedom

Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.

Video Nigerians Welcome Buhari's Return to Power

Crowds of jubilant Nigerians nationwide have celebrated the return to power of former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari. The retired army general won this year's presidential election with more than 2 million votes more than incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan. Buhari's supporters hope he can strengthen the country's economy and security once he takes office in late May. Zlatica Hoke has this story.

Video Report: State of Black America a 'Tale of Two Nations'

The National Urban League has described this year's "State of Black America" report as a "tale of two nations." The group's annual report, released earlier this month (March), found that under an equality index African Americans had only 72% parity compared to whites in areas such as education, economics, health, social justice and civic engagement. It’s a gap that educators and students at Brooklyn’s Medgar Evers College are looking to close. VOA's Daniela Schrier reports from the school.

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.

Video Gamma Ray Observatory to Open Soon in Mexico

American and Mexican scientists have completed construction of the world's largest gamma ray observatory, situated high in central Mexico’s Sierra Negra Mountain. The observatory's huge array of water-based detectors will soon start discovering secrets about black holes and supernovas. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials Underway in West Africa

Ebola has claimed the lives of more than 10,000 people in West Africa. Since last summer, researchers have rushed to get anti-Ebola vaccines into clinical trials. While it's too early to say that any of the potential vaccines work, some scientists say they are seeing strong results from some of the studies. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.