There was clear sense of dejection, loud cries of disapproval and sulking faces staring down at uncertainty, as Col Dr Kizza Besigye announced his decision not to contest in next year’s Presidential election.
Col Besigye struggled to calm emotions of the youthful FDC supporters, urging them to “trust my judgement,” and let him step aside from presidential elections.
The 64-year-old has attempted four times to oust his former bush war commander President Yoweri Museveni without success. And the four times he now believes are enough. It’s time to switch gears… to change the cover; told scores of FDC members on Wednesday.
Col Besigye said he had made a decision to focus on mobilizing Ugandans to force a regime change through public insurrection.
“We are now at another crossroads when the gunmen are organizing another election. I told you that in 2016 both my hands were busy, one engaging the elections and another engaging the struggle. That is not very efficient. Election gears are our Plan A while the fighting gears are our Plan B,” Besigye said.
“It is my humble decision that I have intensively discussed with my colleagues that we get somebody to lead Plan A and you leave Plan B to me.”
Besigye was making a key note address at the FDC offices in Najjanakumbi where the party’s President Patrick Amuriat Oboi and Chairman Wasswa Biriggwa had just picked presidential nomination forms.
Speaking at the event, Besigye revealed that he had made a decision to engage in the struggle after the 2011 elections.
He said he was not even supposed to participate in the 2016 elections, but was urged by colleagues for reasons he couldn’t disclose presently.
For now, he says, he needs to focus all his attention on the mass mobilization, warning also that elections alone wouldn’t be enough to force President Museveni out.
“Trust my judgement. This country will not be free by (Justice Simon) Byabakama going to Kololo to announce that there is a new winner who is not Museveni and for Museveni to come with his hat and handover power,” Besigye said.
“Those waiting for that day… he will not do so. It is our duty to make sure he leaves whether he wants or not.”
Besigye’s announcement however, was not entirely welcomed by party members, some of whom accused him of abandoning the struggle.
Earlier on, the youthful supporters blocked Besigye from making his address as they demanded that he signs the nomination forms first.
“He must sign here first,” some were heard screaming.
“You cannot back out now; you fired the first shots, you have to fire the last one. We are not tired of fighting; you cannot abandon us.”
But Besigye sought to reassure them that he wasn’t jumping ship and promised to be available and to support the party’s campaign in the presidential elections next year.