Forum for Democratic Change [FDC] bigwigs in a biting attack said they don’t pay supporters to boost rally crowds like their rival and ruling party, National Resistance Movement [NRM].
This came about in a radio talk show attended by FDC presidential candidate, Kizza Besigye, FDC president, Mugisha Muntu, and party Secretary General, Nandala Mafabi.
The talk show hosted by Mambo radio in Tororo town was also attended by former Budadiri West MP, Hon. Isaiah Sesaga.
“We do not facilitate people to come to our rallies just like NRM,” Besigye said at the talk show.
“To the contrary,” he continued, “supporters come to our rallies and even facilitate us by way of giving us money at rallies.”
Eversince the nomination of presidential candidates, the race has been more about who pulls a larger crowd to his rally than issues at hand.
Besigye remains the undisputed “King of Crowds” having brought Kampala-Jinja road to a standstill the whole day after his Namboole nomination.
He once more filled Nakivubo stadium to the brim even before his main procession could enter Kampala city.
President Yoweri Museveni and former Prime Minister, Amama Mbabazi, seem to be doing well too when it comes to attracting crowds on their rallies.
At some point, NRM sceptics pointed out that the issue was not crowds but people who actually go to the polling station to vote the candidate.
When the campaigns started, NRM social media handlers made sure they circulated pictures of “Museveni crowds” to spite opposition forgetting the earlier assertion that “crowds meaning nothing”.
Besigye says the reason the crowds are voluntarily with FDC is because people follow their interests.
“The onus is now on us not to let them down. We shall not let them down.”
Arrested 43 times since 2011
Earlier speaking at a rally, Besigye said he has so far been arrested 43 times since the 2011 elections.
“Every time they release me, I declare they are thieves,” he said.
Addressing a rally at Busolwe in Butaleja district, Besigye promised to change the mindset of the electorate.
“Don’t call your servants your bosses. If you do they will not serve you. The president, MPs, police etc are your servants not your masters.”
He told them to regain their power, the citizens had to believe in themselves and work together to liberate/get back their power from those with guns.
At the same rally, dozens of NRM supporters turned in their party cards and crossed to opposition.
Addressing rallies in Kibuku and Pallisa, Besigye cited acute land grabbing in various parts of Uganda with many poor people being evicted and rendered homeless.
“This is done under the pretext of reclaiming public land but only to be sold to the so called ‘investors’.”
This, unless stopped by government, is likely to breed violence and insecurity, Besigye warned.
“When voted into government therefore, we shall put the law into effect; get land from whoever has grabbed and acquired it illegally and hand it back to the rightful owners.”
Agriculture and unemployment
Besigye also promised to tackle the problem of unemployment which he entirely blamed on the “rampant untamed” corruption by the current regime.
He said a lot of money has been squandered and the “small balance is brought to you to confuse you into supporting their continued stay in power. This will stop”.
He also promised to increase agriculture financing through establishment of an agriculture bank on top of ensuring good prices for agricultural produce and reestablishment of the now defunct cooperatives.
According to the FDC manifesto, Besigye’ss government will work with private sector operators and partners to train 3 million youths and women in the first 3 years to operate successful Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in in agriculture, food processing and value chain addition, marketing of produce, construction inputs, service sector operations, light industries.
“The government will work with banks, eliminate huddles to registration and formalisation of enterprises and make the women and youth of Uganda effective contributors to the engine of growth of our economy.”
“We will regulate and ensure that labour recruitment and exporting firms operate within the parameters of the law.”