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Electoral Commission clears 8 presidential candidates for 2016 general election

Dr. Kizza Besigye will vie for next year’s presidential election alongside seven others following clearance from the Electoral Commission (EC) yesterday.

The eight candidates cleared include; Yoweri Museveni, the incumbent, running on the NRM party ticket; Amama Mbabazi, Museveni’s erstwhile ally and former prime minister and NRM Secretary General running under his loose pressure group, Go Forward.

Abed Bwanika running for the third time is representing the People’s Development Party while retired Major General Benon Biraaro is running under the Uganda Farmers Party.

Prof. Venansius Baryamureeba, a former Vice Chancellor at Makerere University is running independently just like Joseph Mabirizi.

Faith Maureen Kyalya Walube, Museveni’s former presidential advisor on poverty alleviation in the Busoga sub-region is the only female candidate in next year’s presidential race.

The EC began clearing the candidates on Nov. 03.when Museveni, Amama Mbabazi and Prof. Baryamureeba were cleared.

But it was Kizza Besigye’s nomination yesterday which brought business to a standstill for the entire afternoon.

Right from the nomination venue at Mandela National Stadium at Namboole—the nomination venue to Nakivubo War Memorial Stadium in downtown Kampala—where his post-nomination rally took place, Besigye’s supporters flaunted their support.

Besigye who is having a go at Uganda’s top position for the fourth time led a long procession of thousands of singing supporters from Namboole to Nakivubo bringing traffic and business to a standstill along Jinja road and down town Kampala.

At Banda, a suburb about 5km east of Kampala city, Besigye received a gift of a brown couch which was immediately mounted atop his car for him to sit on while some of his supporters contributed money for his campaign.

But even amidst this fanfare, it seems Besigye still has little or no confidence in the EC. He told journalists immediately after his nomination that he finds it ironic that he was being cleared by a body he has issues with.

“Not individuals per se but with the way the EC operates,” he said. Besigye said the EC is not impartial and this affects the core of having a free and fair election.

He reiterated his message of ‘defiance and not compliance’ because it is the only way liberation of the population can be possible.

“We cannot comply with an impartial system because it can never deliver victory to those that seek to cause a change.”

“We shall defy because we want to liberate the people, reconfigure the state to build functional institutions and transform the country to ensure that we invest in the people other than a privileged few.”

The presidential candidates will officially begin their nationwide campaigns on Nov. 09 until Feb.17 next year. The EC has set Feb.18, 2016, as the polling day for both the presidential and parliamentary elections.

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