Uganda’s two key opposition figures, Kizza Besigye of the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) and People Power leader MP Robert Sentamu Kyagulanyi (aka Bobi Wine) on June 15 announced a strategy for joint political activities under the United Forces of Change.
The announcement of their campaign dubbed No, Nedda came a day before the Electoral Commission announced a revised roadmap for the election season, which includes a ban on mass political rallies due to the coronavirus. The election body says it is following the Ministry of Health guidelines on social distancing, but the opposition accuses it of laying the ground for “mass rigging” in the 2021 presidential election.
People Power spokesperson Joel Ssenyonyi told The EastAfrican that United Forces of Change was not an alliance or a coalition but a vehicle they could use to jointly speak out against injustice and bad governance.
“It is not that we are forming a coalition. That will come, but for now let’s start with the basics,” Mr Ssenyonyi said.
The opposition joint political plans come ahead of campaigns expected to begin in November. A source within FDC said talks have been going on for months leading to the announcement of the new joint campaign. Bobi Wine and Dr Besigye have branded their partnership a political pressure group meant to push back against President Yoweri Museveni’s government.
Earlier in the year, they released a joint statement that said: “We took note that we are on the same mission to free Uganda from dictatorship and oppression. We agreed that despite belonging to different formations and fronts, we must work together as partners on the same mission.”
Before he joined mainstream politics in 2017 as a member of parliament for Kyadondo East, Bobi Wine was a Dr Besigye supporter. At some point, the seeming popularity of Bobi Wine’s People Power created suspicion and hostility with the FDC, the largest opposition party in Uganda.
“We as leaders can only show you the way. Our strategies may differ at some point but our objective is the same,” said Bobi Wine at the launch.
Dr Besigye lauded People Power members for their “patience and commitment to the liberation of their country”.
By Ian Katusiime and Jonathan Kamoga