The widow of the late Ugandan president Apollo Milton Obote says she is running for president because she feels Uganda needs a woman to rescue the country. Miria Obote talks to English to Africa reporter James Butty about her campaign to unseat incumbent president Yoweri Museveni in next month’s presidential election. But first she explains why her party, the Uganda People’s Congress, would not join the ongoing talks among opposition parties aimed at choosing a single candidate. “We have not been operating for the last 20 years. As you know, parties were banned. Now it’s our time to find out whether the party is still strong and whether we’re really there on the ground. So we cannot enter into a coalition until we find out what our strength is. We are ready to talk about a coalition when we are having a re-run, but not now.”
Obote says she stands a better chance of winning the presidency and that Ugandans are ready for a woman president. “I think they need one now. We have gone through turbulent times. We have had so many conflicts and wars. I think a woman is a stabilizing fact that we need right now.” Obote says she is a peace candidate, unlike President Museveni, who she says came to power through the barrel of a gun. “I want to come to power through the power of the vote and not the barrel of a gun, and I think the people of Uganda are tired of fighting. They want somebody who will bring peace, real peace.” Obote says she has not had any experience as a political leader but the same was true of President Museveni when came from the bush as a rebel leader.
Obote says she is proud of Liberia’s Ellen Johnson Sirleaf as Africa’s first elected female president. “I hope I will the second one in Africa to become the president of an African country.” Obote says women will make better presidents than men. “Women are peacemakers. A man will fight immediately when he is annoyed. A woman will take her time to think about something. You can see us in our homes. We always try to bring about peace in the family.”