BREAKING: Besigye Woos Zambia President Sata To Oust M7


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prescription "sans-serif"; font-size: small;”>He said democratically-elected governments like Zambia should stand on the frontline and help other countries in the 54-nation continent to end dictatorship.

“I would expect that Michael Sata will join the voices from other democratic countries like Botswana and others in condemning the acts of authoritarian regimes that remain in Africa,” said Dr Besigye, who briefly lived in exile in Lusaka in 2001.

Col. Besigye once lived in Lusaka’s Olympia suburb, according to his friends.

“When I ran away from Uganda in 2001, I first stayed in Zambia until the Levy Mwanawasa regime joined Museveni in making my stay there insecure,” Besigye said.

The victory of Michael Sata is a great inspiration to me and my colleagues to fight on, he adds.

“The happenings in Zambia give us a lot of encouragement and inspiration because we are all struggling from the same kind of problems. We are trying to deal with colonial states making the transition from the colonial state and neo-colonial state to a situation where the peoples of Africa can be in charge of their governance, where people have the power to change their government and to direct what happen in their countries,” Besigye said.

“This is the struggle that Zambians have been involved with right from the first government of UNIP through the struggles of the Movement for Multiparty Democracy. These are the processes of liberation. So the success of Mr Sata is a great inspiration to us.”

Dr Besigye, chairman of the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) party who has faced several arrests for leading ‘walk to work’ protests against President Museveni’s rule, said he would “definitely continue” to walk to work.

“Walking is my fundamental right and certainly that will be the last right I will cede to this kind of regime. I do not need any permit to walk,” Dr Besigye said.

“The regime is fearful of walking to work because they indeed know that once people have the right and protest against what the regime is doing, then they will lose their hold on power which is the sole objective of the regime at the moment.”

Dr Besigye, who has lost three elections to Museveni, said the head of state did not have a popular mandate and depended on rigging elections.

“In the first place, he came into office through the use of the gun and he has maintained that power through the use of the same gun. Elections are just a ritual,” Dr Besigye said.

“Museveni knows that there is popular discontent and he would like to keep a lid on it using repression. That is the very reason I have been a victim of that repression.”

He said since 2001, when he first contested against President Museveni, he has faced many death threats.

“It was following those kinds of threats that later on in 2001 I decided to leave the country and I stayed for four years in South Africa,” said Dr Besigye, while cataloguing the numerous arrests and life-threatening experiences he has faced. “Part of the campaign of 2006 took place while I was in prison.”

He said the threats on his life do not come as a surprise to him.

“Anybody who stands up to a dictatorship must expect that there will be all kinds of threats to their lives. Our duty is simply to expose them whenever we know them and to do whatever is within our means to keep safe but we know the risks that we work in and it goes with the duty that we have assigned ourselves,” Dr Besigye said.

“We will hang in there in spite of all the threats and try to make sure that we will permanently end this kind of state in our country.”

He said he was certain that President Museveni’s 25-year-old reign would end soon.

Dr Besigye claimed that President Museveni’s rule was similar to Mobutu Sese Seko’s in Zaire, now Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), which finally fell.

“Every sign is now out there and clear that the Museveni regime has reached its stage of diminishing returns. I have no doubt that we are seeing the end of it. We have a very discontented but energized population at the moment, and less fearful of the terror machinery of the regime,” Dr Besigye said.

“That is why the people have been protesting in spite of all the kinds of equipment and police deployment that have been there. I am optimistic that this regime will come to an end.”

However, he expressed concern that the balance of power in African organisations such as the African Union (AU) was still tilted towards authoritarianism.

He said the AU could only be pro-democracy based on the democratic levels of its member states.

“Once the dominance in these institutions is that of authoritarian regimes then we cannot expect much from them. But we are beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel as more and more governments become free and democratic,” said Dr Besigye.

“We have the East African Community (EAC), Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) and SADC, which are all good frameworks but implementations are far lacking,” Beisgye tells


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