By Mike Sebalu
His actions leave many Ugandans in a confused state as to which Besigye to believe when it comes to his campaign
I wish to congratulate candidate Yoweri Museveni of the NRM party who emerged the winner of the just concluded presidential elections. In the same vein, my salutations are extended to the leaders and supporters of NRM for their overwhelming support that ensured overwhelming victory for candidate Museveni.
At this point after successful presidential elections that were held on Feb. 18 results of which were announced on Feb. 20, where candidate Yoweri Museveni was declared as the eventual winner. It is worthwhile to reflect on the various statements made by his main challenger, Dr. Kizza Besigye, before, during and after Presidential elections.
It should be remembered that Dr. Besigye clearly stated that he will never participate in any election organised by the Independent Electoral Commission. This clearly meant that he did not have any confidence whatsoever in the institution that is mandated to manage the electoral process in this country. As if that was not enough, Dr. Kizza Besigye is on record as having said that he would never participate in any electoral process as long as Badru Kiggundu is the Chairman of the electoral commission. Such statement from someone aspiring for the highest office in the land was not only disturbing but also unfortunate given that he went personal on matters of public affairs.
Furthermore, Dr. Kizza Besigye went ahead to say that the 2016 presidential and parliamentary elections would not take place. Whatever his motivation was for him to make such a statement, your guess is as good as mine. More to that, Dr. Kizza Besigye forth stated that he was going to run a campaign based on defiance as opposed to compliance. Defiantly, the idea of a defiance campaign must have not only shocked me but also surprised many law abiding citizens of Uganda.
However, the events that unfolded as campaigns drew near, reflected a totally different Besigye. As a champion and promoter of defiance, one would have expected Dr. Kizza Besigye to defy Badru Kiggundu by not subordinating himself before him seeking nomination to run for the presidency. However, we are all aware that on August 19, 2015, Dr. Kizza Besigye went to the Independent Electoral Commission presided over by Badru Kiggundu where he, Besigye, was duly nominated as a Presidential candidate after fulfilling all the requirements spelt out in the electoral law. Maybe I may need to be educated by Dr. Kizza Besigye whether that action was defiance or compliance to the electoral law.
The presidential elections campaign that ensued after the nomination was equally overseen by the Independent Electoral Commission, under the chairmanship of Badru Kiggundu. In the actual sense, the candidates’ campaign programs had to be presented to the electoral commission which had to be notified and consulted for approval. Dr. Besigye, like any other presidential candidate followed this requirement both in spirit and letter. His programs too were cleared by the Independent Electoral Commission. Whether that was defiance or not, Dr. Besigye owes us an explanation.
Besigye defied himself when he went off his agreed program mostly in Kampala where he tried to hold rallies on Kampala streets other than the programed areas approved by the Independent Electoral Commission which attracted for police intervention and he had to be assisted to get to his place of abode in Kasangati.
After three month of presidential campaigns, Feb. 18 was the D-day for the polling. Indeed, Dr. Kizza Besigye went to his country home in Rukungiri and participated in the actual voting. His participation was an act of confirmation that actually the election took place contrary to his earlier stated views that election will never take place. Again, this was an act of defiance against of his stated position. Dr. Kizza Besigye in compliance to the electoral laws also deployed a team of agents led by Wasswa Birigwa to the National tallying centre in Namboole on election night. However, on the second day the agents did a “Besigye” – they defied and took off from Namboole never to return.
As we speak now, the election results which are subject of public knowledge and information were announced by the Independent Election Commission Chairperson Badru Kiggundu.
Subsequently to that, Dr. Kizza Besigye is quoted by the media to have stated that he wanted to go to the Independent Electoral Commission to get the official results together with the declaration forms so that he can use them to pursue a legal process within the courts of law. Interestingly, the same Kizza Besigye had earlier indicated that he will never go to the courts of law in Uganda to petition election results because he does not trust them. Again, we see a Kizza Besigye defying himself as per his known stated positions.
The above scenarios leave many Ugandans in a confused state as to which Besigye to believe when it comes to his campaign of defiance. Did he intend to mean defiance to his earlier stated position or compliance to the dictates of the law of the land? What he said and what he practically did were very contradictory. It should be appreciated though that his defiance campaign had no chance since the institutions of government mandated to keep law and order were in full swing and could not allow him to break the law just because of his assumed status of a Presidential Candidate. At the end of the day, we saw a Kizza Besigye who defied his own stated positions and ended up complying with the law governing presidential elections either consciously or at some point in time.
Given serious self-reflection Dr. Kizza Besigye will find out that he was neither here nor there in terms of what he said and did in these campaigns.
Mike Sebalu is the spokesperson of NRM Campaign Task Force and Head of Media Team NRM