Uganda election candidates to meet with Raila Odinga


UGANDAN opposition leaders arrived in Kenya yesterday for an unprecedented meeting with Cord leader Raila Odinga.

The Star established that the team from Uganda is seeking views on fielding a joint presidential candidate against President Yoweri Museveni in next year’s general election.

The leaders are in Kenya at Raila’s invitation.

Raila is expected to mediate between them and implore the leaders on the need to field one candidate to face Museveni, who has been in power since 1986.

The leaders were set to meet Raila and other Kenyan opposition leaders late yesterday at the Intercontinental Hotel, Nairobi. However, it remains unclear whether Kalonzo Musyoka and Moses Wetang’ula attended the meeting.

Sources told the Star that the meeting was initially planned for 10am, but was called off after the delayed arrival of the team from Uganda.

Kizza Besigye, the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) flag-bearer, was the first to arrive in Nairobi from Kampala early yesterday morning.

However, Amama Mbabazi, Olara Otunnu, Norbert Mao and Mugisha Muntu’s departure from Entebbe Airport was delayed after their plane developed mechanical trouble.

The leaders departed Entebbe aboard the Kenya Airways flight that landed at JKIA shortly after 3.30pm.

Among those at the meeting, according to diplomatic sources, include a representative of John Magufuli, the CCM candidate in the presidential election in Tanzania later this month.

Magufuli is a well-known personal friend of Raila’s.

The two are expected to mediate among the Ugandan opposition leaders and explain to them the need to work together if they are to bring to an end President Museveni’s 29-year-long rule.

Elections are expected in Uganda in February next year, in which the opposition plans to field one presidential candidate to face Museveni.

There is growing consensus that only one candidate fronted by the opposition can end Museveni’s reign.

The Ugandan opposition has been working together under the aegis of The Democratic Alliance (TDA), an association of seven opposition political parties, to reach agreement on a single presidential candidate.

All efforts by these leaders to come up with a joint candidate have failed and TDA has decided that both Besigye and Mbabazi will run for president.

On September 25, TDA members nominated Mbabazi to be the flag-bearer.

TDA members that support Mbabazi include the Democratic Party, the Uganda People’s Congress, Uganda Federal Alliance, People’s Progressive Party, JEEMA, and Mbabazi’s own Go Forward and former Vice President Gilbert Bukenya’s Pressure for National Unity groups.

Besigye has been endorsed by his own FDC and the Conservative Party.

Besigye has said his side has reservations about Mbabazi’s commitment to democracy, the rule of law and human rights.



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