African News

Uganda: Main opposition leader laments lack of democracy

16 February 2016 at 01:07 | 1433 views

By Gibril Koroma

Uganda politician Kizza Besigye (photo-Al jazeera) is a man that has seen it all when it comes to political harassment and persecution.

As recently as Monday February 15 he was arrested TWICE in Kampala, the country’s capital, as he tried to move from one location to the other to hold rallies for the general elections scheduled for Thursday February 18. Before Monday, he had been arrested and detained numerous times since 2001. He has been in exile twice.

Warren Kizza Besigye Kifefe, a medical doctor and former guerrilla fighter, was at one time the personal doctor of Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni, the man he has been trying to remove from power through the ballot box since 2001 after things got sour between the two.

Besigye says Museveni, who has been in power since 1986, is power-hungry and repulsive African dictator while Museveni has often described Besigye as an upstart who has "nothing to offer" Uganda.

The two men had known each other for decades since the time both of them belonged to a rebel army called People’s Resistance Army (PRA) led by Museveni in which Besigye was both fighter and medical doctor to the rebels.

Since the PRA swept from power former Ugandan President Milton Obote, Museveni, who subsequently took over leadership of the country, has stubbornly refused to budge from the seat by removing or ignoring constitutional term limits and using security forces to intimidate and harass political opponents and generally suppressing dissent in the country.

Museveni was at one time a darling of the West but that has drastically changed over the years as he became more and more intolerant and dictatorial. Despite the fact that he has been in power for 30 years and growing increasingly weak (he frequently sleeps at conferences), Museveni, 71, is still contesting on Thursday for a fourth term of office.

And he will win again. The national electoral commission, the police, the army and a host of other powerful institutions in the country are all packed with his friends, tribesmen and women. Just like his fellow presidents in places like Rwanda, Congo Brazzaville, Cameroon, Zimbabwe, Equatorial Guinea and so on.

Meanwhile here is Kizzi Besigye lamenting the political situation in his country, Uganda: