Kibuku- Dr Kizza Besigye yesterday invoked the numerous times he has been arrested over the years to urge his supporters to toughen ahead of the coming elections.
Speaking at a rally in Kibuku Town Council on the third day of his tour of eastern Uganda, the FDC presidential candidate stuck to his three-pronged message of “empowerment to liberate the country” through elections, restructuring State institutions and pursuing inclusive development.
“I have been arrested 43 times since the 2011 elections but every time they release me, I declare that they are thieves,” Dr Besigye said, “But am I not alive?”
He urged his supporters to register in groups of 10 for purposes of receiving “empowering” information, which he said they will use during elections and afterwards.
Through this system, Power 10 (P10), Dr Besigye said vote-rigging will be curtailed. He has on three previous occasions lost to President Museveni, blaming each of the losses on rigging.
Before the main rally at Kibuku, Dr Besigye made six stopovers at different locations within the district, all the while summarising his message.
At Kibuku, Mr Umar Mwidu, 27, offered Dr Besigye Shs1,000. Supporters donating money to Dr Besigye for his campaign have been gaining traction in the recent past, but it was not evident on his eastern tour until Mr Mwidu and two others stepped forward at Kibuku.
Mr Mwidu said he dropped out of school in Senior Four due to lack of money and he has never got stable employment. “I tried to join the army in 2012 but I wasn’t selected despite passing the physical tests and finishing among the first 10 in the trial races,” Mr Mwidu said.
Dr Besigye’s message particularly targeted voters like Mr Mwidu. “Those who don’t have jobs raise your hands,” he called out. Nearly the whole crowd raised their hands.
Dr Besigye blamed the “mass unemployment” on corruption. “Much of the money is stolen and what remains is used to confuse you to continue supporting their stay in power,” he said.
“Many of you now spend time going to register for chicks, goats and cows that they have told you soldiers will supply,” Dr Besigye said, “This is to blindfold you like it has been the case for 30 years.”
Dr Besigye, by way of demonstrating flaws in the government’s priorities, said State House and the President’s Office were allocated more money this financial year than agriculture. He pledged to increase agriculture financing by setting up an agriculture bank, guarantee produce prices and rebuild cooperatives.
Before setting off campaigns on the day, Dr Besigye told a press conference in Jinja where he reiterated his earlier pledges of increasing salaries for primary and secondary school teachers starting July next year and naming only 21 ministers in the place of the current 80.
After Kibuku, Dr Besigye took his campaign to Pallisa District, before proceeding to Butaleja District.