Uganda decides: Besigye nominated, promises lean gov’t

Col. (rtd) Kizza Besigye of the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) after clinching nomination to run for president. Mr. Besigye has previously challenged Museveni and lost three times

Col. (rtd) Kizza Besigye of the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) sitting on a giant loveseat donated by a supporter during the procession to Nakivubo Stadium where the FDC leader launched his manifesto. 

Business in the Ugandan capital Kampala ground to a halt Wednesday as the country’s popular chief opposition leader Col (rtd) Kizza Besigye of the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC)was officially nominated for president by the electoral commission.

Besigye, the three-time presidential hopeful joins his potential rivals in the February 18th presidential poll, President Yoweri Museveni of the ruling NRM and Amama Mbabazi of opposition coalition TDA who were cleared Wednesday. Five more candidates have been approved to run for Uganda’s top office.

In his post-nomination address to thousands of supporters, Besigye vowed to slash the number of government ministers and of the members of the national assembly.

“We want a smaller government, why should we have 80 ministers? we want only 20 ministers. We have 400 members of Parliament, our plan is having only 100 sitting members of parliament,” Besigye said to  thunderous cheers and applause from ardent fans.

The FDC flag bearer also stressed his plans to revamp Uganda’s agricultural sector and to decisively fix rampant unemployment especially among the youths.

Besigye, who also served as President Yoweri Museveni’s personal physician during the liberation war, took to his official Facebook Page to thank his enthusiastic supporters pledging the “campaign of defiance” referring to his intentions to battle the national police who are infamous for arresting and harassing him.

“I was completely overwhelmed by the show of support that we received today.I think that it wasn’t simply a matter of supporting my candidature; it was also our people’s way of demonstrating their disgust with the NRM/ Museveni regime,” he posted on Facebook.