‘Asuman Basalirwa Rejected Besigye Mediation in Talks for Single Opposition Candidate in Bugiri Election’
Hussein Kyanjo: Asuman Basalirwa Made U-turn on Talks for Joint Opposition Candidate
First of all, I must put up a public apology for the apparent failure of talks to unify our forces. It was not for lack of trying, but it was about the people and their decisions.
I was among the team which went to the negotiations and settlement compromising of myself (Hussein Kyanjo), JEEMA Chairman Kibirige, JEEMA Treasurer Ms. Nabalamba and JEEMA Electoral Commissioner Mr. Nsamba.
When we went for the first meeting, we didn’t conclude but later scheduled other meetings. It’s in the last meeting that we came out with proposals.
We agreed that we choose three people from each party for each village (ward) in Bugiri. That would mean six people per village throughout Bugiri. We would deploy them to conduct a random survey of the strength and capacities of our candidates.
The second suggestion was that we organize a joint mega rally for the two candidates (Asuman Basalirwa of JEEMA and Eunice Namatende of FDC) and then we all go and each candidate campaigns at the rally so that the public can make a prompt apparent decision. That would help to bring out the very image of the candidates.
So JEEMA went back after the meeting. We first engaged the JEEMA candidate (Basalirwa) and he was totally agreeable to the position. But we had another hurdle to overcome of the Basalirwa Campaign Taskforce and JEEMA National Executive Committee.
We explained the same position to the Basalirwa Campaign Taskforce and NEC and we discussed for long but the majority view in our party (JEEMA) was that they did not accept these resolutions. They gave many reasons which are not necessary for this press conference but they had genuine reasons to say we are not going to put our candidate through all those processes.
We (JEEMA)agreed that we have not succeeded in the talks and therefore we go for nomination. We shall continue with the talks as we deem necessary.
So on Tuesday, FDC candidate was nominated and on Wednesday our JEEMA candidate was nominated.
I was in Bugiri myself and it was possible from the situation in Bugiri to try and assess what would be the net outcome. It’s a common practice all over the world that whenever there is a conflict either of ideas or military conflict , it can continue but it should never curtail the willingness for the warring factions to sit and compromise.
So therefore, I and others continue to think that at some time before the voting day, we may reach a surprising agreement and focus on one candidate.
Yesterday we had two meetings (rallies) of Eunice Namatende and Asuman Basalirwa! Naturally I belong to Basalirwa side and so I didn’t find out what happened on Namatende’s side.
This disagreement continues to haunt us; why can’t we agree like we agreed in Jinja and Rukungiri. Why?
So today I am here to assure you that we may not ultimately agree but we should never fail to discuss the matter to the end so that we don’t erode the confidence the public have in us.
The worry is that some people in the general public are more intelligent and more focused than ourselves. But we assume that we are more intelligent and understanding than general public.
One thing which I keep telling to my people in JEEMA is that “The survival of a smaller party like JEEMA is humility but the poison of the big parties is arrogance ” so we must avoid falling in the trap of being arrogant to one another as we search for a successful campaign that will deliver victory.
I stated at the JEEMA rally in Bugiri that our enemy (Museveni) is celebrating because of the two rallies in Bugiri. We had shown that when we agree we win but he is now praying that we don’t agree and he is helping the process of disagreement which I detest.
I told my people that the grave mistake they are making is to begin to address the personality of Ms. Eunice Namatende rather than the cause. And two, that you cannot force somebody to support but you can only persuade someone to support you.
I told them that let us conduct civil campaign. Our candidates have good qualities which can be brought before the public for them to make an informed judgement rather than standing out to condemn the opposite side.
Let us continue dialogue. I am expecting more calls from FDC giving me the appeal to convince JEEMA candidate to step down and FDC should expect calls from us to pursuade their candidate to step down for my candidate!
Hussein Kyanjo is former Jeema Secretary General. This was his remarks at a Thursday Press Conference.