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Besigye Leaves Vacuum FDC Cannot Fill – Mao

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But according to Mao, Dr Kizza Besigye has been a formidable force in challenging Museveni’s rule and that next year’s election is going to be the biggest test for FDC. He says that even though nature abhors a vacuum, Besigye leaves a vacuity that can never be filled.
A photo montage of Kiiza Besigye (L) and Norbert Mao (R)

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The decision by Dr Kizza Besigye not to run for the presidency in 2021 is the biggest test for the opposition Forum for Democratic Change-FDC Party, Norbert Mao, the President General of the Democratic Party has said.

The four-time presidential candidate and former FDC President announced his decision not to offer himself for elections on Wednesday afternoon.  Besigye said that instead, he will concentrate on his unspecified plan “B” to bring an end to President Yoweri Museveni’s grip on power.

But according to Mao, Dr Kizza Besigye has been a formidable force in challenging Museveni’s rule and that next year’s election is going to be the biggest test for FDC. He says that even though nature abhors a vacuum, Besigye leaves a vacuity that can never be filled.  

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However, Michael Mabikke, the Social Democratic Party Leader who is part of the DP block that crossed over to the budding National Unity Platform (NUP) last week doesn’t share Mao’s view. According to Mabikke, Besigye had played his part and it was time for him to give way for fresh blood and new ideas.

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Mabikke argues that even though Besigye is the only opposition candidate to garner over 30 per cent of the total vote in a presidential election, it is misleading to think he is the only hope for change. He cites the 27 per cent garnered by Dr Paul Kawanga Semwogerere earlier in 1996 as proof that Besigye is not a special candidate.    

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During his speech, Besigye noted that it is unrealistic to expect president Museveni to hand over power through the ballot.  Besigye has often called on Ugandans to oust the regime through a popular uprising similar to the Arab Spring revolutions in North Africa and the Middle East.

Commenting on this statement Mao says that even though it may be possible to defeat Museveni at the ballot through a well-organized challenge, it may not be possible for him to hand overpower.

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Mabikke is confident of the opposition in Uganda winning at the ballot. He cites several cases in Africa where autocrats have been ousted through the ballot including in the Gambia.  

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However, columnist Yusuf Serunkuma says the political history in the countries where dictators have been removed through the ballot is different from the situation in countries like Uganda, Rwanda or Zimbabwe.  He notes that the breed of autocrats in countries like Uganda is able to decide how to manipulate elections so the electorate does not matter. 

He says that with or without Besigye or NUP presidential hopeful Robert Kyagulanyi on the ballot, Museveni will still successfully shape the polls.

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