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Besigye urges Kenyans to defend democracy, shun negative politics

Uganda opposition leader Kizza Besigye making his remarks during the launch of a book at Intercontinental Hotel in 2018. [File,Standard

Uganda opposition leader Kizza Besigye has warned Kenyans against lowering their guard in their quest for democracy.

Speaking on Spice FM yesterday, Dr Besigye said while Kenya had made significant steps in the realisation of democratic governance, the gains could be reversed if citizens allowed negative political trends to thrive.

“We are keeping a close eye on you because you (Kenyans) are leading the democratic process, and any reversal will harm those who were looking to the country for inspiration,” he said.

Besigye is attending a conference on Uganda’s state of democracy in Nairobi.

He expressed concern over Fafi MP Salah Yakub’s proposal to amend the Constitution and remove the presidential term limit and replace it with an age limit of 75.

“You are on a very slippery ground; the steps that Kenya has made have been achieved through struggle. But you relax a little, they will be reversed because the achievements have not been consolidated... you blink and the gains are gone,” he noted.

Bombed his way

Besigye urged civil society organisations to stand firm and oppose such regressive proposals.

“Civil society has a huge role to play in continuing to broaden citizens’ competencies to identify danger signals and push back against negative trends that will creep up in society,” he said. “If you can’t influence what happens in your country, you’ll end up in the kind of trouble that Uganda is in.” In December 2017, the Ugandan Parliament amended the Constitution to allow Museveni, then aged 73 to extend his rule, potentially guaranteeing him a life-time presidency.

Besigye’s sentiments come after President William Ruto rejected the plot to amend the Constitution to extend his term limit during the Kenya Kwanza Alliance Parliamentary Group meeting on Wednesday at State House, Nairobi.

“Do not spend your time pushing for selfish and self-serving legislation, like changing the Constitution to remove term limits. My focus is service to the people,” Ruto said.

Besigye claimed that Uganda has one of the worst records of human rights violations and has disregarded the rule of law under President Museveni.

The country celebrated 60  years of independence on Sunday, October 9.

“All these years, no leader has ever handed over power peacefully. Similarly, of course, whoever has occupied the highest office in the country has bombed his way into office, which precisely means the people of Uganda do not have the capacity to raise one of them to leadership or to say stop... In other words, the population has no voice in deciding their leaders,” he said.

Freedom

“Every human being aspires to have freedom. It is an intrinsic need for humans to have justice and be treated fairly. The people of Uganda believe in a political dispensation that will accord that kind of governance.”

On Wednesday, November 16, Besigye told NTV that Museveni was perceived to be the most enlightened, but turned out to be the worst in human rights violations.

“The abuses since 1986, when the government was supposed to be more enlightened took over, have been more. Ugandans have seen far greater injustices and violence under Museveni’s rule. Probably because he’s been here longer,” Besigye said.

Besigye has been arrested on numerous occasions for his continued opposition to Museveni’s style of leadership.