Kampala — Opposition Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) presidential candidate, Mr Patrick Amuriat, has vowed to carry on with his barefoot campaign even as he nurses swollen feet.
The national elections are next month and Mr Amuriat has about 42 days to traverse the country in search of votes. However, he strolls with a lot of difficulty. Since he launched his barefoot campaigns in Gulu District on November 8, he has traversed various parts of the country without shoes.
He is nursing swollen feet, a condition he has endured for the last two weeks.
Commenting on whether he would drop the barefoot campaign in an interview with the Daily Monitor yesterday, the defiant Amuriat said it was too early to give up.
"I vowed that I was going to walk without shoes and I am not about to give up. It hurts walking without shoes but I want to share the pain with the villagers who hardly have the money to buy shoes. Despite the pain, I know I will not die because I have ever walked barefoot when I was a young boy," Mr Amuriat said.
"My right leg is swollen because the security used excessive force when arresting me while in Gulu. Many people are concerned and have asked me to wear shoes but I will not," Mr Amuriat said. At the height of the campaigns, Mr Amuriat would cool the pain on his swollen feet by soaking them in a basin of hot water.
Mr Roland Kaginda, the regional campaign manager of Amuriat's campaign team, said at the start of the campaigns, they were worried about his feet.
"He is determined to finish the campaigns barefoot. This stunt has made him unique among all the presidential candidates and he has identified himself with the 80 per cent of people in villages who walk barefoot," Mr Kaginda said. Some supporters have asked Amuriat to drop the barefoot campaign for the sake of his health.
Mr Amuriat's barefoot campaigns originated from his arrest on November 3, the nomination day at Kyambogo University when he appeared without shoes. His arrest at the FDC headquarters in Najjanankumbi, Kampala, made history as he was the first presidential candidate to be nominated barefooted.
Mr Amuriat's shoes reportedly got lost during the scuffle with security officers. He was later given the shoes but he rejected them. Until date, he has never looked behind.