One week before Uganda’s February 18 presidential and parliamentary elections, main opposition candidate Kizza Besigye of the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC), says he fears voter bribery could be one of the obstacles to his victory. Besigye ran against President Museveni in three previous elections: 2001, 2006, and 2011. Earlier this week, Ugandan government spokesman Ofwono Opondo said the ruling party, the National Resistance Movement (NRM), will once again deflate what he called the Besigye “bravado” on election day. Besigye said given the extremely high enthusiasm Ugandans have shown toward his campaign, perhaps Opondo was referring to the three previous elections that, he said, the government stole from him.
“Even in my previous engagements, I’ve never had a situation where even the poor peasants turn out and make financial contribution and bring materials, chickens, and food, and everything,” he said. “If that demonstration of support is something that the government spokesman would like to brush aside as something that can be defeated, quite obviously he must have a different basis from what I will have as a basis for judging popular support.”
Besigye said the NRM has never cleanly won an election.
“As you know, I have contested in three previous elections, two of which I challenged the outcome in the Supreme Court where the courts categorically and unanimously declared that the elections were not free and fair. And in such an election, it is ridiculous for anybody to claim that they are the victors because in an election where one party holds the whole process, they could even declare that they have a 100 percent of the vote,” Besigye said.