“Our country is in the hands of baseezi,” presidential candidate, Kizza Besigye, told a huge crowd that gathered at Nakivubo stadium in Kampala to listen to his maiden speech.
When we asked those who understand Luganda language better, they said “baseezi” is a term used to describe “man-eaters, night dancers, cannibals or vultures”.
Besigye was labouring to explain how those in government have usurped all the power for themselves leaving people to beg in their own country.
“You have been reduced to beggars, you have no jobs. The schools, roads, hospitals are all in a bad shape. Do you know what has brought all this?”
“… because we don’t own our country. The country is under the control of baseezi [cannibals or vultures],” he emphasised.
He said those cannibals have not only usurped people’s power but also own all the resources in the country including money.
“Uganda is one of the richest countries but we [the citizens] are the poorest. Uganda is a highly indebted poor country yet it has all the riches,” he said.
Besigye then explained that his struggle will be about liberating the country and returning power to the people, stabilising the country and embarking on a path to development, the development that includes everyone.
“I didn’t come here to ask you for power because you nolonger have the power but I promise you that we will liberate this country.”
Revolutionising the state
Besigye promised to revolutionise state institutions to ensure that they serve the people instead of serving individuals.
He cited the police force, Parliament, electoral commission and courts which he said now serve a privileged few and “that will change too”.
He talked about the increasing gap between the rich and the poor saying those who work don’t own anything yet those who don’t work get everything.
Besigye promised to slice the number of government officials so the money spent on them can be used to liberate the people from poverty.
“We won’t allow 80 ministers in our government. We will have 20 ministers. Why have a parliament with 400 MPs? We will reduce them so the rest of the money can help the people.”
He also promised to slice the number of presidential advisers who he said were becoming irrelevant.
“Those government workers who are used to stealing people’s money will not be tolerated.”
He promised to improve the education system, raise salaries of teachers and give each secondary student a free computer.
“We want teachers to be able to drive their own cars.”
He also promised to restore the dignity of farmers and the impoverished Uganda police.
He said while government has money in billions, the opposition has people.
“They have robbed us enough. But it all ends today [kiggwa leero]”
“No one will liberate us, its our duty to liberate ourselves,” he said.