Sunday, 11 August 2013

Bukenya: Museveni will feel me in 2014

Former Vice President Gilbert Bukenya being escorted to his seat during celebrations to mark Kabaka Mutebi’s 20th coronation anniversary at Mengo
Former Vice President Gilbert Bukenya being escorted to his seat during celebrations to mark Kabaka Mutebi’s 20th coronation anniversary at Mengo, Kampala last week. 

In Summary
Busiro North legislator says he already has more than 20,000 volunteers countrywide and is in talks with some leaders in the opposition to mount a united front against President Museveni.


KAMPALA
Former vice president Gilbert Bukenya has upped the ante in his presidential bid saying he is about to start his do-or-die showdown with President Museveni ahead of the 2016 presidential race.
Prof Bukenya who said he has been mobilising discreetly and consulting various political forces in both the ruling NRM party and the opposition, told the Sunday Monitor that he will bring out his real self in a few months. a few months. He boasted the support he has received has motivated him to come out of his shell sooner than later. However, he declined to mention the plan he will employ to mount a successful challenge against his former boss.
“I see the population moving and I am changing strategies but you know you can’t say everything [now]. I am talking to the opposition groups and NRM people, some people in NRM are very disgruntled,” Mr Bukenya told the Sunday Monitor at his Katomi Kingdom Resort in Garuga, Entebbe on Wednesday. “In 2014, you are going to see the real Bukenya politically. But right now, I am moving through NRM primaries and so on. I know the reason why.”
Museveni fear?
The former vice president claimed that the President’s current tours around the country and the return of Buganda Kingdom properties last week have been sparked by the fear of the threat of his candidature.
But he added that all this will not change his growing support which he said is particularly stronger in the northern region than in his home region of Buganda.
“I have over 20,000 volunteers walking everywhere. Although, you people associate me with Buganda, this is not true. My strength is in Northern Uganda. Northern Uganda supports me more than in Buganda,” he said.
Prof Bukenya said Mr Museveni’s popularity has been dwindling nationally and charged that the 69 per cent vote the President received in the 2011 elections was manipulated. He said he will mobilise other political players and the international partners to force change of the current Electoral Commission, to pave way for a neutral electoral body that will ensure a free and fair election in 2016.
Government says
Mr Ofwono Opondo, the executive director of Media Centre, the government’s public affairs handler, rebuffed Prof Bukenya’s claims, adding that the former vice president rose to prominence by default.
“Why is Prof Bukenya talking about manipulative politics now, not yesterday? Was it [election rigging] done only in his area? Nobody will believe him because he has already sunk,” Mr Opondo said. He also disputed Bukenya’s assertion that the President’s current tour of his bush war battle areas in the Luweero Triangle was triggered off by the fear of the former VP’s increasing support in the central region.
“The President was in Acholi and Bundibugyo. Did he rush there too because of Bukenya? I think Bukenya was a mistake to rise to where he rose to,” Mr Opondo charged.
Declaring his presidential bid in May, Prof Bukenya said he will contest against Mr Museveni in the NRM primaries. But should the elections be rigged, he will stand as an independent in the national presidential elections scheduled for early 2016.
Disgruntled
Asked whether by standing as an independent after losing to Mr Museveni in the primaries, the electorate would not see him as a disgruntled man and a bad loser, Prof Bukenya said at the moment he is talking about challenging Mr Museveni from within the NRM but did not rule out changing to an alternative strategy he will consider more appropriate.
“Politics is not a straight line, politics is zigzag. If you are in politics, never undress yourself fully. If you undress yourself fully you are going to make your road difficult to travel. All these are our gimmicks of survival. You will see the developments. I am going to stand in primaries but I will see what is going on, what is being mobilised and I also mobilise differently,” Prof Bukenya said. “So the challenge must be well planned, well calculated at his [Mr Museveni] point of weakness and today he is at his point of maximum weakness,” Prof Bukenya added.