At least 10 opposition political parties and activist groups have formed a coalition through which they hope to take another shot at ending President Yoweri Museveni's 36-year strong grip on power.
Speaking today at the unveiling of the coalition named; People’s Front for Transition, former president of the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC), Dr Kizza Besigye who was selected as the group’s national chairman, said Uganda is at an unprecedented level of crisis that it necessitates all political forces coming together to end the National Resistance Movement (NRM) hold onto power.
Besigye said the closure of schools due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the crisis in the health sector will continue to deteriorate if political players in the opposition don’t swallow their pride and agree to a common front.
Besigye said that the country must now realize that elections under Museveni will not cause change in Uganda. He said they have in the past tried them and realized Ugandans can only have a right to vote when they are free from what he called the NRM domination. According to Besigye, Ugandan voting rights will start to make sense when their vote starts to count.
He added that Ugandans across the country must realize that there is a need to have a grand reset of the country in order to deal with the crises that the country finds itself in. Besigye, a four-time presidential candidate said that in the next three weeks they are going to consult all stakeholders who have not been consulted before the launch today and agree on how to work together.
Kampala city mayor Erias Lukwago who is the national deputy chairman of the front said every change seeking Ugandan must agree to come together and confront the injustices facing the country now. He added that now that they are not facing elections, all political players should feel free to work with each other for the common good of the country.
“Our coming together is a sign that Ugandans are yearning for change and the rule of law. We are not here to compete with each other but for the common cause. Let the cause be the glue that brings us together. We are not here to connive against anybody except those who have hijacked the sovereignty of the people; we have a cabal in charge of our country,” Lukwago said.
"This formation, this platform is called a front for a purpose. We're not here to create a coalition arrangement because that presupposes something else. This is not about coming up with an electoral alliance. This probably may be akin to what happened in the aftermath of 2011 elections when we had walk-to-work [protests]. It was non-partisan, it was not focusing on the subsequent election, it was just about Uganda and people coming together to coalesce behind a particular cause. Probably that is why it the best ideal I can bring about, the best arrangement we have ever had - walk to work," said Lukwago.
FDC president Patrick Amuriat Oboi said they are optimistic that the new formation will go a long way in achieving what eluded them during the 2021 general elections, adding that the unveiling of the front is a beginning of the hard journey that might see many of them jailed, harassed and intimidated.
“Our comrades in the National Unity Platform thought the dictator could just be run over through an election. The FDC stays committed to every effort in advance of this struggle through a non-election platform to bring change to our country. Today is a very important milestone that will bring us together to take the struggle from one place to another," Amuriat said.
Other than FDC and the 'people’s government', the new front has membership from the Conservative Party, Jeema, UPC of Peter Walubiri, DP-Block, Social Democratic Party, and Uganda Young Democrats among others.
Joel Ssenyonyi, the spokesperson of National Unity Platform (NUP) with the majority opposition MPs in parliament said they will not be joining the front but they have no problem working together.
“We don’t have to be one thing for you to work together for change. Ugandans across the country know what they want therefore, we shall be working with every entity and formation in achieving the change we want,” Ssenyonyi said.