8 May 2019

Uganda: Bobi - I'm Close to Deal With Besigye

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Ugandan politician Robert Kyagulanyi also known as Bobi Wine and Kizza Besigye.

Kampala — Kyadondo East Member of Parliament Robert Kyagulanyi has said he is in advanced talks with four-time presidential candidate, Dr Kizza Besigye, and a political deal is within sight.

Popularly known by his stage name Bobi Wine, the legislator at a press conference in Kampala yesterday gave away little on the specifics of the dialogue.

"We have been engaging all the other parties on coming together," he said, adding, "We have recently concluded meetings with Dr Besigye and soon we shall give a final communique on our final decision."

The revelation came four days after Dr Besigye, in the company of Kampala Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago and Mukono Municipality MP Betty Nambooze, visited Bobi Wine at his home in Magere in Wakiso District following his release from Luzira prison.

It is also a turn-around in the political disposition of actors in the two camps defined in recent months by rivalry and political sabre-rattling, with supporters openly squabbling on social media.

Supporters of Dr Besigye derided Bobi Wine for operating without a team and structures unlike their doyen whose countrywide support they argued was proven by the votes he garnered in each of the past four elections.

They discounted as ineffective the clarion call by the celebrity musician-turned-politician for new voters to enrol and obtain the national Identity Cards in order to be eligible to vote in 2021.

Dr Besigye weighed in, saying an election was no longer a feasible way to remove President Museveni, now in power for 33 years.

In a Bobi Wine rejoinder, one proclaimed while attending a new-make alliance between the Democratic Party President Norbert Mao, Social Democratic Party's Michael Mabikke and People's Democratic Party leader Abed Bwanika, the Kyadondo East lawmaker said:

"Don't talk about democracy and stand four times and on the fifth time you say it doesn't work. We believe it works."

Many things had evidently spurn out of control. In February, this year, a mob chanting slogans of People Power, the pressure group that Bobi Wine leads and characterises as a movement, assaulted Dr Besigye as he exited the premises of the Central Broadcasting Services (CBS) radio shortly after featuring on a talk show.

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A phalanx of supporters and volunteer guards momentarily whisked him to safety, and Bobi Wine later condemned the attack as he painfully extricated himself from flying blames.

And the four-time presidential candidate, appearing on Nile Broadcasting Services (NBS) television weeks later, hinted that Bobi Wine as a newcomer should take time to learn from experienced politicians.

Dr Besigye also argued, amid accusations that he wanted to keep as for-life Opposition leader, that he was not dying to be an Opposition frontrunner and neither had he prevented other aspirants from shouldering state brutality and teargasing which are hallmarks of spearheading the struggle.

Those attacks have reduced in the past few weeks.

According to highly-placed sources, the wrangling masked clandestine efforts of a reach-out and meeting of minds between the principals, to the exclusion of some aides.

It remains unclear who brokered the talks, how long they have lasted and the issues discussed.

Bobi Wine has declared his interest to stand for President, which Dr Besigye has not, and followers of the former have been pressing that the latter should make way.

During the Magere meeting last Friday, impeccable sources told Daily Monitor that the two principals held a one-on-one meeting for about an hour before aides joined.

"They were trying to mend fences about what has been happening," the source said on condition of anonymity, adding, "They also talked about who should leave for the other to run [for president]. They concluded that and the announcement is soon coming."

Ms Ingrid Turinawe, a Dr Besigye confidante, yesterday confirmed the talks but declined to divulge details.

"I cannot tell you the details of what the discussions have been about because I am not the spokesperson," she said.

A highly placed source told this newspaper last night that officials of the two camps will address a joint press conference today during which they are expected to announce a major breakthrough on how to work together to uproot President Museveni.

Bobi Wine yesterday named former NTV journalist, Mr Joel Sse nyonyi, as the People Power official spokesperson.

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