Museveni’s arch rival, Besigye shaking up Ugandan politics ahead of 2026 polls

Museveni's arch rival, Besigye shaking up Ugandan politics ahead of 2026 polls
Former presidential candidate Dr. Kizza Besigye addressing a press conference at his offices in Katonga.

Mbarara, Uganda | By Michael Wandati | In a recent address to the residents of Mbarara, opposition stalwart Dr. Kizza Besigye stated unequivocally that he does not intend to wait until the 2026 elections to oust President Museveni and the NRM government from power.

“I will not wait for 2026, let us begin now, our plan is not to look for a leader, our plan is to look for what to lead and that is our country Uganda that is in captivity by Mr Museveni and his family,”Dr. Besigye said.

The retired colonel and former personal doctor of President Museveni during the bush war, who is now a prominent figure within the FDC Katonga faction, has embarked on a nationwide consultation tour. The purpose of this tour is to gather the opinions of voters regarding the potential formation of a new political party.

Addressing voters in Mbarara district on Wednesday 3, April 2024, the outspoken Dr. Besigye urged all party members to lead discussions aimed at fostering unity among Ugandans. He emphasized the importance of promoting the ideology of removing the NRM government through collective efforts, without resorting to violence.

“If one morning we all decide and agree that no food stuff will be sent to Kampala, the army who Mr Museveni thinks belongs to him can rebel against him due to hunger and in that regard be sent off as the president, that way we shall have redeemed ourselves from the enslavement of this family,” he said.

“The regime has subjected you to beggars and only waits for the little support with handouts on top of intimidations with the famous ‘drones’ to those that try to speak out, We then cannot wait for 2026,” Dr. Besigye added.

The four-time presidential candidate warned the Katonga faction about what he described as “masqueraders at Najjanankumbi.” He cautioned that their interests and objectives may diverge from those of the Katonga faction.

“The Najja group has a totally different aim that is driven by selfish interests and how they will survive the tough times created by this government,” Dr. Besigye said.

Dr. Kizza Besigye rallies supporters, vowing to enact change before the 2026 elections.

Dr. Besigye discreetly shifted his operations to his private office on Katonga Road in Nakasero, years prior to a bitter dispute erupting between his supporters and FDC President Patrick Amuriat and General Secretary Nandala Mafabi, causing turmoil at the Najjanakumbi headquarters.

The entire Besigye faction, including National Chairman Wasswa Birigwa, departed from Najjanankumbi and aligned themselves with Dr. Besigye at Katonga, leading to the formation of what is now termed the ‘Katonga Faction’.

Francis Mwijukye, MP for Buhweju County, remarked that the Nandala group at Najjanankumbi has been clear about their identity and objectives.

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“I am happy that the people of Mbarara can listen to us,” he said.

Harold Kaija, the Secretary General of FDC Katonga, affirmed that despite the turmoil caused by the Najjanankumbi faction within the FDC party, “our party structures remain intact, and people still have faith in Dr. Besigye.”

Kaija indicated that while some party leaders and members advocate for the formation of a new political party, the next course of action will be announced following the ongoing consultative meetings with party members nationwide.

Dr. Besigye and the leaders of FDC Katonga are currently touring western Uganda, commencing with Mbarara on Wednesday, followed by upcoming visits to Kabale, Rukungiri, and Bushenyi, respectively.