Three-time presidential candidate, Abed Bwanika, has asked President Yoweri Museveni and his bitterest rival, Kizza Besigye, to treat each other with respect.
“It doesn’t matter whether I agree with him or not, President Museveni should be treated with respect. Kizza Besigye, too,” the People’s Development Party [PDP] president said Monday morning while appearing on NBS TV.
Bwanika said he also had a plan to visit Besigye’s house because “he deserves to be listened to”.
Bwanika also noted that while he is not pushing to meet president Museveni, “he too deserves a chance to be listened to, given his role”.
Asked whether he would consider working with President Museveni, Bwanika said if there is a framework that benefits Uganda, he would consider.
“I’m not looking for a job,” he hastily added.
According to Bwanika, if nothing is done to restore faith in the system, the 2016 elections will lead to voter apathy in the future.
He said currently, there are no new investors coming to Uganda.
“Last year, we lost 5% of our direct foreign investment. No investor wants to invest in a country whose political future is uncertain.”
He further observed that Besigye’s arrests are a negative branding of the nation that keep investors away while Kenya is building Africa’s biggest mall.
“Dr Kizza Besigye is sometimes treated as though he is not a human being.”
Bwanika re-echoed candidate, Maj Gen Benon Biraaro’s words, saying a unity government should be an option if Uganda is to heal.
“We can borrow a leaf from Kenya where Koffi Annan [former UN secretary General] played a key role. We need credible mediators.”
Bwanika said the purpose of observers in the elections is to help improve the process hence the need to sit down and examine their reports.
The Electoral Commission, he noted, needs to admit that the elections were not free and fair “if we want to start on the road to healing”.
“Dialogue will not be possible unless we ask and answer the question on whether the elections were free and fair.”
Bwanika said the biggest problem is that few religious leaders can stand up while many were “stained during this election”.
He added that the few “credible” religious leaders in Uganda might be silent because they are ashamed of the actions of their colleagues.
“We are demanding for proof on results read by Mr. Badru Kiggundu [EC boss]. We should pressure Electoral Commission into availing DR [declaration forms].”
Article 56 clearly says Electoral Commission (EC) shall derive results from a Declaration of Results forms. EC should avail them as proof.
Bwanika said he was meeting some of the people who have decided to contest the results in court.
“I am taking time to reflect. I am using 2016 to reflect on my direction. Come 2017, I will pronounce myself,” Bwanika said on his losing elections thrice.
He said his capacity in 2016 was stronger than the last two attempts at the presidency. This is the first time he contested results.
“Whatever went wrong in this election is largely the fault of Electoral Commission. We started by questioning the voters’ register.”
Uganda had 15 million registered voters but only 10 participated. “We should all be asking, “What happened to the 5 million?”
Bwanika revealed that he is still tallying own results and will pronounce himself at a later stage.
He says the loud silence after the results were announced indicates that Ugandans didn’t agree with what was announced.
“After the post-Museveni victory silence, we saw a low voter turnout in the Local Government elections. Going to court to contest is feasible but whether justice will be served is another issue.”
“The election was not free and fair and that rests entirely on Electoral Commission incompetence.”
He cited the late arrival of voting materials in opposition strongholds Kampala and Wakiso districts claiming it was “deliberate”.