Observer's Edris Kiggundu reports about Dr. Kizza Besigye's prediction of some opposition candidates that might cross to the ruling NRM.
The Inter-Party Cooperation candidate, Dr Kizza Besigye, has said in a critical indictment of opposition candidates that some presidential flag bearers may defect to the ruling NRM sometime before or after the February general elections.
Besigye used Aggrey Awori, a former UPC stalwart and presidential candidate who is now ICT minister in the NRM government, to demonstrate that he (Besigye) has been more consistent in his opposition to NRM than any other politician.
He said that in 2001 when Awori first stood for the presidency, he went round the country saying that Besigye and Museveni were one and the same.
“Now he [Awori] is in the same bed with Museveni,” Besigye noted. Then he asked, “Do you know who Awori’s campaign manager was?” It was Norbert Mao, who is now DP’s presidential candidate.
In an exclusive interview with The Observer on Tuesday, Besigye offered to substantiate more on his remarks.
“I know there are at least two presidential candidates in the opposition that are likely to be fifth columnists of the NRM,” Besigye stated.
Asked to name the two candidates that he thinks might be working for and may soon defect to the NRM, he said: “I don’t want to go into names but the ordinary people are not stupid; they know who the genuine opposition candidate is.”
The Observer has however learnt that the colonel is implicitly referring to Mao and the Uganda Federal Alliance flag bearer, Beti Kamya.
Mao led DP in resisting the now Besigye-led IPC alliance and has since then had a fractured relationship with the most prominent opposition leader, Besigye.
On her part, Kamya once belonged to Besigye’s FDC but quit after the party denied her the post of national chairman following the death of Sulaiman Kiggundu. She told The Observer in an interview recently that Besigye would be worse than Museveni as president. Kamya added that she’s not keen on joining anyone’s government.
“The only thing that I can discuss with Museveni or with anybody [who wins] is moving the federalism agenda forward. But I despise power sharing for the sake of it,” she said.
Mao has been a strong critic of President Museveni’s 24-year rule, but he is not perceived negatively, as much as Besigye for instance, in the NRM.
When he visited the New Vision offices at the weekend, he said Museveni is leading the presidential race, followed by himself. This seemed to imply that candidate Mao believes Museveni will win the election.
The highlight of this year’s presidential campaign so far has been defections of major political figures to the ruling NRM.
Kampala Mayor Nasser Ntege Sebaggala led the pack, followed by former UPC national chairman Badru Wegulo, Henry Peter Mayega and Osinde Wangor.