After U.K. Parley Uganda Opposition Leaders See "Progress" In Bid To Unseat Gen. Museveni

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Mbabazi and Besigye -- can they see the mountaintop. File photo

[Africa: Elections]

In a sign that they haven't given up on fielding a single candidate or crafting a working relationship to vote out of office Ugandan dictator Yoweri Museveni, top opposition leaders met in London and reported "substantial progress."

Recently The Democratic Alliance (TDA), comprising Uganda's civil society and religious leaders tried to get all the opposition parties to rally behind one candidate by consensus. While the TDA didn't succeed, a majority of the political parties had endorsed Amama Mbabazi, former prime minister in Museveni's government and now challenger.

Dr. Kizza Besigye, leader of the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC), and long the face of Uganda's opposition --with scars from abuse at the hands of security forces to show for it-- was endorsed by his own party and one other.

There's been a tremendous push by Ugandans inside and outside the country as well as several leading countries that provide aid to the country for both Dr. Besigye and Mr. Mbabazi to ensure there isn't a split in the opposition which would squander the overwhelming feeling of popular discontent that now exists and works in favor of ending Museveni's 30-year dictatorship.

In a joint statement dated October 26, Dr. Besigye and Mr. Mbabazi said, "Under the auspices of the Kofi Annan Foundation, we have held a two-day meeting in London, UK to continue the discussions previously held in Nairobi, Kenya. We have made substantial progress in preparations for the 2016 general elections in Uganda. We will subsequently report to our respective political structures so as to complete the arrangements guaranteeing our success in the presidential elections."

The two recently met in Kenya with former prime minister Raila Odinga who also reportedly tried to broker a unity deal and also pressed the urgency of coming up with a single candidate.

While some observers believe that a three-way race between Besigye, Mbabazi and Museveni would still deny the incumbent the 50% vote he'd need to avoid a runoff, others suggest the opposition won't get a second chance and should unite in order to overwhelm Gen. Museveni in the first round scheduled for February 28.


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