Opposition stalwarts pitch camp in Soroti ahead of by-election

Four-time presidential candidate Kizza Besigye (2nd left), NUP president Robert Kyagulanyi, alias Bobi Wine (2nd right), and other Opposition members move through  Soroti Town. PHOTO | SIMON PETER EMWAMU

A joint force of Opposition stalwarts from the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) and National Unity Platform (NUP) pitched camp in Soroti District yesterday as they campaigned for FDC candidate Moses Attan in the Soroti City East by-election.

The Opposition figures had campaign rallies in Campswhahili Ward, Madera, Central Ward, and Moruapesur Ward amid a mammoth of people ahead of the Thursday election.

Dr Kizza Besigye, a four-time presidential candidate, said this by-election should unite Ugandans to fight against the high cost of living in the country.

Mr Besigye said the budget of Uganda needs to be restructured because it is straining the taxpayers, adding that the State House spends more than Shs2b daily.

Dr Besigye said he has known Mr Attan for a long time and he has the courage to champion the most desired struggle against the excesses of the regime in power.

He urged the people to protect their votes until their candidate is declared the winner.

Mr Robert Kyagulanyi, alias Bobi Wine, the leader of NUP, said in the last campaign, NUP and FDC had candidates but Mr Attan won.

He added that the President is determined to reduce the number of Opposition members in Parliament for him to manipulate the legislature.

“Why are we uniting now, because it is the right time to remove the regime. Anybody is the best MP as long as it is not Museveni’s MP,” Mr Kyagulanyi said.

Mr Kyagulanyi said disunity works to the advantage of Museveni, adding that the President operates by buying Opposition leaders. 

Some of the leaders he said were bought include Ms  Anita Among, the Speaker of Parliament who was formerly a member of the FDC party, Democratic Party president Norbert Mao, and the NUP supporters in Soroti, among others.

“I am not going to tell you to vote Attan, because he has already passed. My most important message to you is not to allow Museveni to use you,” he said.

The FDC party president, Mr Patrick Amuriat, while in Campswhahili, told voters that the unity that they have shown demonstrates the reality and suffering that they have gone through in this regime.

He said by-election is an injustice that is aimed at punishing Mr Attan for allegedly taking part in the boundary demarcation. Mr Amuriat insisted that Mr Attan had not participated in the demarcation of the boundary.

However, Mr Erias Lukwago, the Lord Mayor of Kampala, appealed to the people of Soroti to use this election to demonstrate their dissatisfaction with the government.

 “I fought Mr Museveni in Kampala and he knows it. So he came here with his army, we are here in Soroti and he knows it,” he said.

The FDC party secretary general, Mr Nathan Nandala Mafabi, said there is no way the government will try to subvert the will of the people, saying they are aware of all their plans to smuggle in pre-ticked ballots.

Other Opposition leaders present in Soroti include Nakawa West MP and NUP spokesperson Joel Ssenyonyi, party secretary Lewis Rubongoya,  and deputy Lord Mayor of Kampala Doreen Nyanjura, among others.