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By Gilbert Mwesigye

With news that the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) leaders and founding members are persuading Dr Kizza Besigye to be the party’s presidential flag bearer in the 2021 election, Kira Municipality MP Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda says he would not blame the former party president if he refused to hold the leading opposition organization’s flag for next year’s poll.

But Ssemujju, also the FDCspokesperson, noted that he would gladly vote the opposition leader if he accepted to be on the ballot for a fifth time in a row.

In a Sunday TV interview, Nganda claimed that Dr Besigye has previously declined to stand as a presidential candidate but was persuaded by party elders and leaders to carry the party’s flag in contests against President Yoweri Museveni.

“Even in the last elections Besigye did not want to stand. I had a meeting with him and sometimes the meetings would go past midnight. He insisted he would not stand. In one of those meetings, I remember he asked [Kampala Lord Mayor Erias] Lukwago to stand,” Ssemujju told NBS Focal Point

“But campaigning to be President is not a joke. It requires a lot of resources, discipline and resilience, which you don’t find in many people. People who have been on the campaign trail with Besigye want him to contest forever. Besigye is genuine; he does not want to contest. There is nothing in being a presidential aspirant.”

Besigye has contested for presidency four times, but he has not been lucky. Even when some argue that the man from Rwakabengo should not be on the ballot again, Ssemujju feels that would be unfair.

“Contesting has no expiry date. You cannot say someone should not stand or he has no potential to lead because he has tried and not gone through. People should only start judging Besigye when he is in that seat,” Ssemujju said.

New opposition political groups like People Power and Alliance for National Transformation (ANT) have already named their presidential flag bearers, but the main opposition party is yet to announce its candidate. Last week, FDC President Patrick Oboi Amuriat said there are a number of internal discussions going on regarding the issue of who should represent the party. Amuriat also confirmed there are talks to convince Besigye to stand again. Also on the list of those backing Besigye’s candidature is Betty Aol Ocan, the Leader of Opposition in Parliament, who says the former Museveni minister is the best candidate they have. She says she is one of the people who have contacted Besigye to contest but he is still reluctant.

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