Uganda's biggest opposition party, Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) says it's not bothered by an opinion poll that has placed the party’s four-time presidential candidate, Dr Kizza Besigye in third position amongst the 2021 presidential contenders.
The poll by Research World International placed Besigye behind President Museveni and Kyadondo East legislator, Robert Kyagulanyi also known as Bobi Wine.
If Uganda went to the polls last month, Museveni would score 32 per cent, followed by Bobi Wine with 22 per cent and Besigye with 13 percent, indicated the poll, conducted among 2,042 respondents aged 18 years and above across the country. Bobi Wine only joined active politics less than three years ago while Besigye and Museveni have been directly battling it out since 2001.
When results of the latest poll were published by Sunday Monitor, the party’s diehards were quick to raise from the dust, a 2015 poll which gave Museveni 51 per cent, Besigye 32 per cent, and Amama Mbabazi 12 per cent. But Besigye scored 35.1 per cent in the official election results, Museveni 60.6 per cent, while Mbabazi got 1.39 per cent in the 2016 elections. Those official figures have always been disputed by Besigye and FDC who still claim that they were rigged out by Museveni and his party. The ruling party, National Resistance Movement (NRM) officials have also rubbished the research findings.
FDC spokesperson Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda says history of previous polls by Research World International will absolve Besigye. Ssemujju says the FDC will use the poll outcome for internal research but they are quite confident that it’s inaccurate.
"Speaking about research work, the mistake you made you, Monitor who published the findings, you did not go back to a similar report that you made towards 2016. If you go back, Besigye didn’t get more than 18%. But if you want to go by the official figures it was more than the Research World figures. So while we’ll use that information for our internal research, we can’t depend on its accuracy because it has never been accurate. I don’t have to be the one to tell you that it is inaccurate because you published it in 2015. Just go back and see the figures that they gave Dr Besigye and FDC at that stage. When you compare them, you will have the answer." said Ssemujju.
Meanwhile, the party still has no stand on whether they will attend the Inter-party Organisation for Dialogue (IPOD) second summit slated for May 15. FDC snubbed the first summit in November last year.
Party leaders have been threatening to snub the second summit over continued brutality by security agencies, although they have been participating in IPOD preparatory activities ahead of the second summit.
For instance, they have been part of an ongoing discussion on drafting regulations that will guide the implementation of the Public Order Management Act (POMA), 2013. Political parties through IPOD are trying to iron out contentious issues such whether the police is mandated to authorize their meetings.
Ssemujju says FDC is still a member of IPOD and will participate in its activities except those which they view as irrelevant in the struggle against the Museveni-leadership. He says the party leadership hasn’t met to make decisions on whether to attend second IPOD summit or not.