Former four-time presidential candidate Col (Rtd) Dr Kizza Besigye has asked National Unity Platform (NUP) leader Robert Kyagulanyi alias Bobi Wine to make a public statement to cease fire on the new People’s Front for Transformation (PFT).
“I called Kyagulanyi and he said he regrets the on-going attacks on this front. Some people have been asking me why he has not done that publicly and I don’t know why but I leave that to him,” Dr Besigye told journalists at their first address to the media yesterday.
The formation of Dr Besigye’s new pressure group which is composed of six political parties has birthed a verbal war with supporters of Bobi Wine’s NUP who indicate that PFT is out to fight against the leaders of opposition in Parliament.
At the peak of the ‘war’ on social media last week, Mr Patrick Oboi Amuriat, the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) party president, who is also one of the principals of PFT, tweeted indicating that they had no obligation to ask for permission from the leading opposition in Parliament before they form political groups.
“Leading opposition in Parliament does not have to lead any struggle against the dictator if they don’t wish, are not prepared or have no capacity to. Mandela (former South African President) led the struggle against the apartheid in South Africa from outside Parliament. FDC doesn’t need anybody’s permission to struggle,” Mr Amuriat tweeted on Sunday.
This is not the first time such an outburst is happening between Dr Besigye and Bobi Wine’s entities.
In 2019 following the formation of Bobi Wine’s People Power pressure group, supporters of Dr Besigye were engaged in a verbal fight on social media with the group that they said had come to take their political space.
One morning in March 2019, a group of “ghetto youth” donned in People Power T-shirts Dr Besigye as he exited a radio station in Mengo, in the city centre.
Bobi Wine then made a public statement and condemned the attack but was quick to blame the state for masterminding what he called “an attack aimed at spreading hate.”
The two principals consequently held a joint press conference dubbed united forces of change as a gesture to bring their supporters to order. The bickering subsided momentarily.
Dr Besigye yesterday pointed out that he was aware that there is a habit by the state to create fights on social media to derail the main aim of struggling to oust President Museveni.
Mr Joel Ssenyonyi, the NUP spokesperson declined to comment about the fights as a way of depriving the fight habit of media attention so that the focus can be turned on the main cause of forging a way of changing power in the country.
The two sides in the contest also accused each other of failing to turn up whenever the other needed one’s support on a political coalition.
Dr Besigye said that they sat in meetings countless times asking them to join the formation which he said they turned down pending more consultation from all the other party leaders before they made a clear commitment.
“We called NUP and they told us they needed eight months to consult. When the months were done, we asked them again and they told us to go ahead with the formation because they were not yet ready,” he said.
In a rejoinder, Mr Ssenyonyi said, “There was a time we wrote to all political parties to come and we discuss a way forward after the elections. All the other parties responded apart from POA (Mr Amuriat).”
Four months after the Presidential elections this year, NUP wrote to FDC asking for a meeting with the leadership of the party, the meeting was cancelled at the last minute with the intended hosts indicating that they had an emergency that could not allow them to host Bobi Wine and his delegation.
But leaders within FDC said they had developed cold feet towards the meeting when they did not understand the agenda of the meeting.