FDC presidential candidate, Dr. Kizza Besigye, has asked President Yoweri Museveni not to “hide in fear” of the presidential debate to be aired by NTV Uganda on January 15, 2015.
Besigye made the appeal while addressing a rally in Mbale district challenging Museveni to attend in person and face Ugandans.
Addressing press at State Lodge in Kabale, Museveni said his problem was the campaign schedule which has four rallies a day hence may keep him away from the debate.
Speaking on the same press conference, NRM Secretary General, Kasule Lumumba, said “if the candidate [Museveni] has time, he will come”.
Addressing press at Kati Kati restaurant in Lugogo Kampala, the spokesperson of NRM Taskforce, Mike Sebalu, said their candidate “is not afraid of the presidential debate witnessed by his appearance in international debates.
Besigye insists that Museveni must attend because the country needs him to.
“If he is busy,” Besigye suggested, “let him give us another day.”
“Let him stop hiding, let him stop running away from the debate. People want to listen to the lies he has been telling them. Let him come in front of them.”
Addressing a rally in Kapchorwa Friday, Besigye said he was disappointed by talk that Museveni might not show up during the presidential debate.
“We need to find a day he is not busy.”
Besigye says he is ready to stand on the same stage with President Museveni for a live TV debate.
NRM “stealing money”
Besigye also used the platform to accuse the ruling government NRM of misusing public funds.
“The money is there. NRM has been stealing it. We will now use it to pay our teachers.”
He said in the FDC government’s first budget (July this year), the salary for a primary school teacher will start at Shs650,000 and Shs1m for secondary teachers.
“We want to invest in education so that we have quality education.”
He said his government would also invest in irrigation to utilise “this water that is flowing freely to Egypt [River Nile]”.
Besigye also promised a farmers’ bank to give farmers money that is protected from the risks of farming.
Power hand over
He reiterated the desire to have a small but efficient government of not more than 20 ministers.
Besigye urged Kapchorwa residents to show up on Election Day and protect votes so as to make it hard for those keen on rigging.
“Consider this election as part of the process of liberating this country. First, we must regain our confidence.”
“We must take power from the few people who currently control this country…this time without using guns.”
He added: “Even when the winner is declared, we must remain active and ensure the loser hands over power.”
Besigye said Ugandans live in a country where they are as marginalised as those Ugandans leaving in IDPs [Internally Displaced Persons].
He said the fundamental problem Ugandans face is that citizens don’t have power but live in a country no different from refugees.
“We have a responsibility as people God put in this country to stop this contradiction (rich country with poor people).”
Besigye observed that in a rich country like Uganda, donkeys are still being used to carry water over long distances and children still lack proper education.
“In this very rich country, 19 of our women die daily while giving birth… women who are not sick but lack help.”
He noted that people who live in “this gifted country” are some of the poorest in the world with many unable to find jobs.
“We have one of the most gifted countries in the world. There are few countries that can claim to be as gifted.”