A large crowd of Forum for Democratic Change supporters converged on Mandela National Stadium Namboole this afternoon to witness the nomination of opposition leader, Kizza Besigye, for the 2011 presidential elections.
Like the National Resistance Movement members who were at Namboole before them, the FDC ignored Electoral Commission rules about the number of people who could attend the ceremony at the stadium. Numerous bodaboda cyclists and pedestrians stood in wait chanting their support for Besigye, jubilantly escorting him into the center of the city for the unveiling of his candidacy.
Besigye arrived at Namboole shortly before midday. His core group of supporters included several members of the FDC and the Inter Party Coalition (IPC). Among them were the two FDC vice presidents, Sam Njuba and Salaam Musumba. Others were the IPC electoral commission chairperson Rubarimira Ruranga, Conservative Party leader John Ken Lukyamuzi, former Uganda People's Congress heavyweight Cecilia Ogwal Jeema party president Asuman Basalirwa and Michael Mabikke the president of the Social Democratic Party.
Kizza Besigye was presented for nomination by FDC member Martha Atiku. The nomination was seconded by former Buganda Katikkiro, Joseph Mulwanyamuli Ssemowgerere.
Mulwanyamuli is the patron of the pro-Buganda lobby group, Suubi 2001, which recently formed an alliance with the Inter Party Coalition.
The chairperson of the Electoral Commission Badru Kiggundu declared that all Besigye's nomination papers were in order and he signed papers acknowledging the candidacy. This came as a relief for the FDC and IPC whose nomination signatures ,presented last week, were disqualified because the list wasn't representative of the two-thirds of the country required.
Speaking to journalists after the nomination, Besigye said that although he believed that the 2001 and 2006 elections, in which he stood for the presidency, were rigged, the will of the people of Uganda will prevail. He said the previous two elections had proved that despite the bias of the Electoral Commission and state-sponsored violence Yoweri Museveni's support is declining fast.
Besigye said there is a rapid increase in popular discontent in Museveni and this displeasure is about to reach its peak.
The FDC leader attributed Museveni's fall in support to corruption. He said one-third of Uganda's gross domestic product is stolen every year and that voters want an end to this theft.
Besigye promised that if elected to power next year he will focus on delivering health for all, relevant and quality education and a government that would work for the common good.
In 2005, Kizza Besigye was nominated in absentia. He was on remand in Luzira Prison on charges of rape and treason. He was acquitted of the rape charge and this month, the treason and terrorism charges against him were dismissed by court.
Despite the fact that he is free today, Besigye did not appear happy. He said the expression on his face was inconsequential. According to him, happiness is not seen on the face, but in the actions of the voters.