A section of Uganda’s opposition political parties has signed an agreement to work together in elections and other political activities aimed at removing President Yoweri Museveni from power.
The agreement signed last Monday was in protest against election violence and malpractices that have marred recent elections in Uganda, whose results the opposition has outrightly rejected.
Four-time presidential contender Kizza Besigye, Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine and Kampala Mayor Erias Lukwago signed the agreement on behalf of their political groupings – the National Unity Platform, Forum for Democratic Change, Justice Forum, People’s Progressive Party and a pressure group, People Front for Transition.
The opposition is mostly irked by three recent by-elections — first for a district chairperson in Kayunga and two other parliamentary ones in Omoro and Soroti City East — which they say were marred by irregularities in favour ruling party candidates.
The opposition claims that the ruling party bigwigs moving around in unmarked vehicles and with security operatives arrested their agents at polling stations and detained them so they could stuff ballot boxes.
On Monday, police spokesperson Fred Enanga told the media that the opposition politicians arrested at the home of a legislator on the eve of the Soroti East by-election were campaigning after the stipulated time.
The signing of the agreement comes at a time when Museveni’s ruling National Resistance Movement party has signed a similar pact with the opposition Democratic Party, whose president Nobert Mao was subsequently appointed the minister for Justice and Constitutional Affairs.
The opposition blames Museveni for trying to divide them and superintending over gross electoral malpractices similar to those that took him to fight Dr Milton Obote’s government, which he overthrew in 1986.
“We shall jointly or severally use any upcoming elections to organise and rally the population to defend their democratic rights and the election madness that has bedevilled the country since independence,” they said.
There have been calls for the opposition to boycott elections, but political analysts say that even when the official opposition boycotts elections, state-sponsored candidates spring up to legitimise the process.
On Monday, Dr Besigye said: “The struggle that the country must undertake is to regain power and influence... Elections will not shift power from those who captured it with guns to the people of Uganda.”
Bobi Wine, who came second to Museveni in the just concluded presidential elections, said that in the current circumstances where the ruling party treats elections as a military operation, opposition ought to change its message to one of a revolution.
“We go into the elections promising change, even when we know that apart from agitating, we can change very little... Museveni decides ... who the winner will be,” he said.