By HOMELAND MEDIA TEAM
The opposition Leaders and failed politicians including Dr.Kizza Besigye from the Forum for Democratic Change and National Unity Platform president Robert Kyagulanyi have joined forces to condemn what they termed as “Election Theft” in Uganda in the wake of the Soroti by-election won by the ruling NRM party candidate.
NRM’s Herbert Ariko was declared the winner of last week’s hotly contested by-election in Soroti East Division to beat Forum for Democratic Change’s Moses Attan.
Ariko got 9,407 votes while Attan, his closest rival got 8,771 votes after campaigns that had seen the opposition join forces to campaign for their candidate.
However, addressing journalists on Monday at Hotel Africana in Kampala, Dr.Besigye said , the various political parties and formations have continuously participated in these elections because of their firm belief in democracy and the rule of law as the most ideal means through which to achieve a peaceful transition for the nation but noted the outcome has not always reflected the will of the people.
“Unfortunately, the quality of elections has now gone from bad to worse- each ‘election’ being worse than the previous one. The rigging and open-day thuggery, as exhibited in the by-elections of Kayunga, Omoro and Soroti is now done with so much boldness and ridiculousness. This demonstrates the crisis at hand,” the leaders said during a joint press briefing.
They said that just like in Kayunga for the LC5 chairman by election and Omoro, the Soroti by-election was yet another way for the thuggery to be exhibited by the state and its machinery.
“ln Omoro, the regime took advantage of the poverty stricken population and engaged in open bribery with items like soap and maize flour. Some people were bribed with as low as shs2000. ln Soroti, police and the military spent the night prior to the election raiding homes of Moses Attan’s polling agents and supervisors. FDC leaders including the Party President were arrested and detained in Dokolo and other districts.”
NUP Leader, Robert Kyagulanyi said it is high time they did something to change this situation that he said is worrying.
“Fellow Ugandans, we are our own. You are your own. Do not depend on only leaders and politicians. You have seen politicians sell out. Think about those who were following Norbert Mao. We leaders have made an effort to unite for a common cause, but we are only leaders, and if you don’t follow us where we are going, we won’t succeed. Please get involved,”Kyagulanyi said.
FDC’s Dr.Kizza Besigye said this was a new chapter for all change seeking forces to come together to tackle the same enemy.
“I am very excited this afternoon that we are witnessing all patriots here today, not thieves calling themselves patriots. The way to get back our power is to unite all of us and the population to be rallied together. Once that happens, I’m very excited that I can see it now beginning to happen,”Besigye noted.
The duo plus leaders from other opposition political parties said going forward, they will use any upcoming elections to organise and rally the population to defend their democratic rights.
“We will used any upcoming elections to rally the population to end the election ‘madness’ that has bedeviled our country since independence. The current mega socioeconomic crisis is directly related to the population having no say on how their country and her resources are managed. It is therefore urgent for the country to focus on how to get out of the current crisis and to procure a transition to an inclusive, democratic dispensation.”