Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Polls: Besigye hits back at Museveni

Between the two strong bulls in the prevailing presidential campaigns, neither is intimidated by the other, reports Daily Monitor's Steven Ariong & Mercy Nalugo

The Inter-Party Cooperation presidential flag bearer, Dr Kizza Besigye, yesterday said he will not be intimidated by President Museveni.

Dr Besigye’s rebuttal follows the President’s warning on Tuesday that Dr Besigye, a retired army Colonel, would be jailed if he dared announce his own version of the 2011 election results.

“Whether President Museveni wants or not, I will make sure we announce our own result before the Electoral Commission announces its final results,” he said, “I will not tolerate this business of intimidating me.”

Dr Besigye, who was Mr Museveni’s former personal physician during the 1981-6 NRA bush war, re-affirmed his stand on declaring election results during a rally at Morulem Trading Centre in the new Abim District, Karamoja region.

He said his campaign is more organised and prepared this time, unlike in 2005/6 when he had to juggle between courts and campaigns, and “we are determined to ensure our vote is not stolen again”. At another rally in Abim Town Council, Dr Besigye said: ”Museveni has been good at stealing my votes”.

“In 2006, he stole my votes when I was in Luzira Prison but this time I will not allow that. I am much more prepared to fight malpractices than in 2006.”

In 2006, Dr Besigye was detained and charged with treason and rape upon returning to the country from exile in October 2005. He only joined the presidential race after being nominated in jail.

The High Court would later throw out the rape charge which it denounced as a scurrilous attempt to slur the reputation of an honourable man who had chosen to run for the highest office in the land.

Five years later, the Constitutional Court also ruled in the colonel’s favour on the treason allegations, which he had always insisted were politically-motivated.

President Museveni told a news conference in Jinja on Tuesday that if Dr Besigye announced his own results, he would be arrested. The contention about the results appears to have shaken the campaigns with Dr Besigye, who is running against President Museveni for the third consecutive time, maintaining that he will not be cheated again.

The opposition has accused the current Electoral Commission of being partisan, saying they cannot deliver free and fair elections. The Supreme Court also found in its ruling on Dr Besigye’s 2006 petition against Mr Museveni’s re-election that the EC incompetently presided over that poll.

Yesterday, the Forum for Democratic Change, which Dr Besigye leads, remained defiant. They told journalists in Kampala that Mr Museveni is free to petition the EC.

Be educated
Campaign spokesperson Margaret Wokuri said: “I need to be educated under what law a candidate can really arrest another. But if President Museveni is aggrieved by our plan, let him petition the electoral body.”
She said the results shall be relayed as they come in. FDC vice president (eastern region), Ms Salaamu Musumba, told Daily Monitor that the President is being irrational.

“What is the substance and content of his anger? His anger is fear but for us we have committed ourselves to democracy and constitutional rule even under the (current)apartheid-like rule. The law is very clear because we have to have two polling agents at each station to deliver the results to us which we are to tally and announce,” she said.

Ms Musumba added that they have set up one with a back-up in Kenya and the UK and have acquired software which will automate the tallying.

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