By Kweronda Ambrose
Rukungiri district leaders from the Forum for Democratic Change party (FDC) have made a heartfelt appeal to Dr. Kiiza Besigye, urging him to reconsider his retirement from politics and re-enter the political arena.
The leaders strongly believe that Dr. Besigye’s leadership is crucial in resolving the current political impasse and the lack of direction within political parties at the national level.
Their appeal was made during a Born Again Crusade held at Bagahwe Trading Centre in Bugangari sub-county, Rukungiri district, on July 15. Prominent figures such as former Rukungiri Municipality MP Mr. Roland Mugume Kaginda, Rukungiri district FDC Chairperson Mr. Virginia Kyarugahe, former Woman MP Ms. Betty Bamukwasa Muzanira, and former Rujumbura county MP Mr. Fred Tumuheirwe Turyamuhweza were among those who openly requested Dr. Besigye’s return to active politics.
The leaders expressed that Dr. Besigye’s absence from the political arena has left a noticeable void in all political parties. Mr. Kaginda emphasized, “We were here thinking that the president (Museveni) was a god. The challenges you see us having in political parties, it’s because you relaxed and thought of testing whether there is another commander. I implore you to get back to full command. Speak now, and we shall listen.”
Ms. Muzanira highlighted the need for Dr. Besigye to allow leaders to initiate a campaign for his reelection in 2026. She emphasized the importance of mobilizing party members and other Ugandans who desire real change to register and establish party structures.
“We are ready to mobilize the young, the old, the weak, and the strong, so that all of us can campaign to have you back on the ballot. We need your permission to do this,” said Ms. Muzanira, who served as Rukungiri Woman MP for two years following a by-election.
Ms. Kyarugahe, the Rukungiri district party chairperson, pointed out that many people were hesitant to participate in party structure elections because they were awaiting Dr. Besigye’s decision on whether he would participate in the upcoming elections.
During a visit to Nyankoro village in the same sub-county, Mr. John Mbunduguru, an FDC leader and parish registrar, expressed the concerns of the people. He stated that people were unwilling to join the party register due to challenges within the party and a lack of clarity regarding Dr. Besigye’s stance on the upcoming elections.
“People are asking, are you coming back? They don’t want to get involved in another election where you are not a candidate or choose not to participate. We all want you to lead us. They tell us someone wants to sell our party, how can we trust those people leading us now?” Mr. Mbunduguru said.
However, Dr. Besigye remained dismissive of the electoral process as a means of change under President Museveni. He reiterated his previous stance that elections should only be utilized for mobilization to facilitate a peaceful transition for citizens to reclaim their right to choose leaders.
“For the challenges within the party, when we perceive that the leaders are struggling, we will intervene and restore order. We will never allow the party to go astray,” Dr. Besigye assured Mbunduguru.
During the crusade, Dr. Besigye remarked, “Since 2016, I have been campaigning and telling you that those who want to give me their votes do not have a vote. They do not have the power to vote for me. How can I trust people to vote for me when they themselves do not have a vote? The struggle I want us to engage in is to first have a vote to give, and then we can consider how to vote. Talking about an election without considering the power you hold is meaningless.”
In the 2021 elections, several FDC leaders in Rukungiri district lost their seats, and the voter turnout was only 42%. FDC conceded most of the elective positions in the district to the National Resistance Movement (NRM), which claimed over 90% of the seats.
Dr. Besigye attended the four-day crusade organized by Pastor Arthur Tabaro, who is also the LC I chairman (on FDC ticket) of Kanyankyende village in Bugangari Sub County.
In conclusion, Dr. Besigye reiterated his unwavering commitment to the struggle for a democratic country and assured everyone that he would not be swayed by any external influences.