Uganda: 2021 Polls - Gen Tumukunde Calls for Opposition Coalition

(fil photo).

Former Security minister, Lt Gen Henry Tumukunde, has asked the Opposition to front one candidate against President Museveni in 2021 General Election.

The retired general, who is battling treason and illegal possession of fire arms charges, told journalists at his office in Kololo, Kampala, yesterday, that discussion on the plan to form a coalition have already started.

"The point I am making is that we are better off working together. If we agree on a common position, I am ready to support it. All I am asking for is us to come up with a principled alliance, which should also come on time," Gen Tumukunde said.

Gen Tumukunde said he has held meetings over the same issue with former Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) party Dr Kizza Besigye, Mr Robert Kyagulanyi, alias Bobi Wine of the People Power movement and Maj Gen Mugisha Muntu, the coordinator of the Alliance for National Transformation (ANT) party.

He said he has also met the Democratic Party leaders and he plans to meet leaders of other parties with a plan to have one Opposition candidate in the 2021 General Election.

The spokesperson of the People Power movement, Mr Joel Ssenyonyi, confirmed that they have met Gen Tumukunde twice but have not agreed on how to work together.

"He reached out to us and we met him just like we are meeting others. But we did not agree on anything. We, however, all agree that we should work together if we are to win the 2021 General Election," Mr Ssenyonyi said. He added that "a lot needs to be done" before the Opposition groups form a coalition.

Gen Tumukunde said the Opposition leaders should move faster and make a decision because only eight months are remaining to the election. He said if the alliance is not formed on time, the coalition will "fail like it did in 2016".

"I do not want us to repeat the TDA [The Democratic Alliance] story. People were not being clear and that is why it failed. If we are to succeeded, we should all come together for a common course and stick together until a common course is achieved," Gen Tumukunde said.

He, however, promised to stand for the presidency as an independent candidate if the opposition fails to come up with a common position.

"No one should doubt my pronouncement to contest for the presidency. I am a strong candidate who is known across the country. If we fail to reach a common ground during the ongoing talks, then I will stand as an independent candidate," Gen Tumukunde said.

On the newly released Electoral Commission roadmap requiring candidates to hold virtual campaigns, Gen Tumukunde said that it does not lay a levelled ground for all the political players.

He said that the Electoral Commission (EC) should extend the polls for at least six months and consult all the players that will be involved in the election.

"You cannot change the methods of elections to scientific campaigns without changing the laws. If the EC is changing the methods because of the pandemic, then elections must be postponed for six months as stipulated in the Constitution. Why the rush?" Gen Tumukunde said.

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