Defiance Campaign May Be Besigye’s Biggest Undoing – Analysts


Kizza Besigye waves to supporters as his convoy drives towards Kampala yesterday
Kizza Besigye waves to supporters as his convoy drives towards Kampala yesterday

Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) presidential candidate, Kizza Besigye yesterday vowed to win tomorrow’s presidential poll even though he maintained that the process is not free and fair.

“The election cannot be free or fair, but it doesn’t mean it can’t be won,” Besigye told the media yesterday, saying he was still aiming for an “outright win”, not a second round run-off in which the opposition might unify.

He added, “We believe we can win the unfree and unfair election, that’s what we are trying to do,”

After being nominated in November last year, Besigye revealed that he is in the process not to participate but defy, although he did not elaborate on what he meant by defiance.

Besigye has repeatedly on his campaign trail said the election will be won “not by compliance but by defiance.” He has also vowed not to go to court if there is vote-rigging, saying this will be sorted using people power.

However, according to some political pundits, this could be Besigye’s biggest undoing saying it works against some of the Ugandan voters especially those in the evening of their lives. They claim it insinuates war and violence.

“Besigye’s campaign of defiance goes a long way in scaring away the aged voters in the country who could have opted for him since he represents change. However, defiance to them speaks volumes of violence to them,” Charles Rwomushana, a political and security analyst said while appearing on Current Affair show on 103.4juicefm, Monday night.

He added that it is this very message that makes the elderly stick to Museveni who has always maintained the narrative of peace and stability.

While responding to the question of the elderly representing a small portion of the population and that Besigye would do away with them, Rwomushana said they represent sizeable number of people who really participate in the poll unlike the young who ‘make noise and do nothing.’

Former presidential spokesperson, Tamale Mirundi, carries the same view of Besigye’s defiance campaign.

When contacted for a comment, Mirundi revealed that the defiance campaign has been deflated.

“Once he tried to do it, government swung into action to decimate it even before it could take off. Besigye is looking for excuses because he has failed to convince his supporters that after losing three times, he is not good enough,” Mirundi said yesterday.

Besigye has for a long time said he would never participate in Uganda’s election as a candidate as a long the Electoral Commission is appointed by President Museveni. In Besigye’s view, the EC is not only compromised, but “incompetent, inefficient and corrupt,” and is merely a tool to keep President Museveni in power.

Despite his reservations about the Electoral Commission, Besigye continues to get nominated; something Mirundi said casts doubts about his chances of winning the presidency.

“He complained that he will not participate until the Electoral Commission was reform which did not happen forcing him back into the race. Besigye is like a muslim who agrees to attend prayers but doesn’t not want to remove his shoes and clean before. His message is contradicting and that makes him appear as an inconsistent person who the voters cannot trust,” Mirundi said.

It appears Besigye is partly resigned to the fact that his campaign may not give an outright victory in tomorrow’s poll.

“If rigged, as we expect, we will continue the struggle for democracy,” Besigye said yesterday adding, “The struggle will simply continue.”

However, some observers believe the momentum Besigye’s support base has gathered in the campaign period should a point of concern for the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) party. This they say has been helped by the creation of the contentious Power 10 (P10) mobilization group.

According to FDC, the P10 is an organization of 10 People cascading from village to village to ensure a close knit of pro – change people to liaise to mobilize themselves to vote and to ensure that their votes are properly protected, tallied and accurately communicated on real-time basis, and properly registered in an accountable manner. It is a mechanism to ensure accountability in the handling of people’s votes so that it is not stolen, squandered or misrepresented as has always been the case in previous elections. However, government maintains that it is a militia hell bent on creating chaos before and after the polls. It waits to be seen whether Ugandans will defy Besigye’s defiance message or use it to take him to the country’s biggest office.