As the race for the presidential seat gathers momentum ahead of next year’s general elections in Uganda, the east African country’s two key contestants, incumbent President Yoweri Museveni and his major rival, Dr Kizza Besigye, have embarked on campaigns that seek to sully each other’s reputation.
President Yoweri Museveni who is also presidential candidate for the National Resistance Movement (NRM) in the 2011 general elections has described opposition politicians including Besigye, as self seeking opportunists who are out to grab what they failed to protect.
“Those are selfish and opportunists who want to eat what they didn’t contribute to. When things are now okay they want to grab. I want to appeal to you to vote me.”
According to Museveni his fellow contestants were not around when the country was facing numerous challenges including instability of governments, Kony rebels, cattle rustlers, a poor economy. He argues that his fellow contestants Olara Otunu and Besigye were in America and South Africa, respectively, and they only returned to contest in the elections after the NRM ensured that there was peace and stability in the country.
Museveni was last evening addressing thousands of supporters at various rallies in eastern Uganda in Bugisu sub region, where he argued that opposition politicians are seeking to enrich themselves at the expense of the masses by telling them lies. He also boasted that Uganda now has its own money and will construct its projects without depending on donor community.
“Now we shall do the roads because we have our own money. In 1986, the country had only Shs 5billion shared by all Ugandans. Currently the country has over Shs 5000billion,” (about 2 billion US dollars.)
But Dr Kizza Besigye, who represents the face of Uganda’s mainstream opposition, has not taken Museveni’s attacks lightly. During his campaigns in Busoga region, in the country’s central region, Besigye accused Museveni of not ensuring that the “national cake” is shared fairly among all Ugandans, whilst arguing that Museveni’s government collects a lot of money through taxes which is misappropriated by corrupt government officials.
There are 6 other contestants but they do not have much support.