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Ugandan Chief Opposition Leader Reflects On The Election And His Future


Ugandan opposition leader Kizza Besigye says his Forum for Democratic Change Party will continue to influence the formation of political will in Uganda, while providing leadership in implementing appropriate programs. Besigye won 37% of the vote in Uganda’s February 23rd presidential election, losing for the second time in five years to President Yoweri Museveni. Voice of America reporter James Butty asked Besigye to reflect on the election and his own political future.

“Well, it was a tough election. It was especially tough for me because the campaign started when I was in illegal detention in the maximum prison here in Uganda. I remained in prison for three weeks while my colleagues were campaigning. And so it was not possible to make a comprehensive campaign program. In spite (of) all of the shortcomings and the intimidation, the harassment, and the violence which was meted out against our supporters and our leaders, I think it was a clear and effective campaign that we launched through the country.”

Besigye says he will stay in Uganda as a politician.

“We intend to obviously develop and entrench our political party to make sure that it has very strong roots in all parts of the country and that it remains focused on implementing our political agenda. For example, one of our priorities is the resolution of the armed conflict that has bedeviled our country for the last 20 years, and the resettlement, rehabilitation, and redevelopment of that region of our country.”

Besigye says he does not expect either he or any of his supporters to get a position in the Museveni government because he has been a staunch government critic. But he says for Uganda to make a smooth transition to democratic dispensation, it will be necessary for all political forces in the country to act jointly, preferably in a government of national unity, to engender a democratic transition