Gen (Rtd) Benon Biraaro has cautioned that President Yoweri Museveni ought to start thinking of a peaceful transition of power or brace for an unceremonious exit from the top executive seat.
The rate at which the population is getting disillusioned, the former NRA Bush war General warned, Museveni was likely to face the same fate as his former counterparts Mobutu Sese Seko (Zaire), Juvenal Habyarimana (Rwanda) or Daniel Arap Moi of Kenya.
Gen Biraaro made the scathing remarks during the ongoing National Consultation for Free and Fair Elections forum at Hotel Africana on Tuesday.
A former Deputy Principle Private Secretary of president Museveni, Gen Biraaro, fell out with government and formed his own Peace and National Unity (PNU) political party after retiring from the army last year.
He is nursing ambitions to run against his former boss in the 2016 presidential elections.
At the majorly opposition-driven national conference, Biraaro advised Museveni to follow in the footsteps of Kenya’s Moi who unceremonious stepped down in 2002, following mounting pressure from local and international bodies over corruption and human rights abuses.
Noted Gen Biraaro, “This is the time to see whether Museveni will end up either as Habyarimana or Mobutu. But I would wish that he ends up like Mzee Moi. At a time like this the people of Kenya told Moi they had had enough of what he was doing and wouldn’t trust him anymore. He accepted and stepped down.”
He added: “The president and the NRM should think about this. I have been moving around the county, and never before, have I seen a population that’s badly concerned about ‘other means’ of struggle as there is in the villages today.”
The three-day conference which winds up today Wednesday, is making final touches on a number of reform proposals for the country’s electoral system.
These are expected to be tabled before parliament for consideration ahead of the 2016 general elections.
Gen Biraaro however expressed doubt that president Museveni would allow parliament to pass such electoral reforms.
The only way out he said, was for all opposition parties to start debating formulation of a Government of National Unity, which he believes would be better placed and willing to implement the electoral reforms.
Such is a government that brings on board all parties in the country to be part of the governance system, where in some cases all or some of the opposition parties are allowed positions in cabinet.
“We should draw a roadmap, such that by March next year, the Government of National Unity is what we are discussing. We can call upon other friends of Uganda to join us so that we have a bigger dialogue involving everybody.”
His stance was echoed by former FDC president Col Dr Kiiza Besigye who equally stressed government’s unlikelihood to endorse opposition proposed electoral reforms.
Besigye noted that the free and fair elections campaign would have to be steered by citizens themselves and forced onto the political leaders in parliament and cabinet.
NRM spokesperson Mr Ofwono Opondo however, said government had no business with an exercise championed by the opposition and civil society.
He told Chimpreports on phone that government was pursuing its own process of electoral reforms through a Cabinet subcommittee, which would be presented and passed at parliament not at Hotel Africana.
“Government is not answerable to the opposition or the civil society but to the people of Uganda. You know that the Minister of Justice issued a notice calling for national input in the reforms. There’s a cabinet subcommittee looking into that, and soon parliament will debate and pass the reforms,” he said.