Uganda: Besigye Denies Kenya Remarks
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New Vision (Kampala)
28 January 2008
Posted to the web 29 January 2008
FORUM for Democratic Change (FDC) president Col. Kizza Besigye has denied media reports that he supports the post-election violence in Kenya which has left over 700 people dead and thousands displaced.
Besigye, who was on Saturday speaking in Ruti, Mbarara at the Golden Jubilee wedding anniversary of Boniface and Gertrude Byanyima, the parents of his wife Winnie, said the situation in Kenya was regrettable.
The FDC president was recently quoted in the media as advising Ugandans to emulate Kenyans by fighting for their rights.
But some commentators have since interpreted the remarks as encouraging the use of violence to solve political disputes.
“How can I, who is fighting for democracy and the well being of the people, support such a situation?” Besigye said. “I cannot support it and I will not support it.”
He added that the mayhem in Kenya has led to economic hardship in Uganda through loss of tax revenue and the rise in the prices of commodities such as fuel.
Besigye said he instead appealed for calm in Kenya and asked President Mwai Kibaki and opposition leader Raila Odinga to dialogue, ensure national reconciliation and power sharing to save lives.
He appealed to the National Resistance Movement (NRM) Government to take lessons from Kenya and avoid a similar situation occurring in Uganda.
“I know that can happen in Uganda if the NRM does not stop rigging votes during elections.
Conflict, Peace and Security
In Kenya it all began after vote-rigging.” The opposition leader urged Ugandans to vote on principles and shun candidates who try to bribe them with salt, sugar and money during elections.
Mzee Byanyima, a former Democratic Party (DP) national chairman, minister and MP, said he was sad many of his children had missed the event.
“Only two of my children are here. Many of them are in exile or working abroad because of harassment by the Government for the simple reason that they supported Besigye in 2001 and 2006,” he said.