UGANDA OPPOSITION LEADER TO PUT “MORATORIUM” ON LAND AWARDS, EXPRESSES WORRY ABOUT LEVELS OF INTIMIDATION

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Dr. Kizza Besigye addressing the Media in Gulu on Wednesday

GULU, Uganda--A leading presidential candidate in Uganda’s February 18, 2016 election has said that he will put a “moratorium” on land awards in Uganda as one of the measures of controlling land grabbing.

“In our manifesto, we have a four point agenda on land," he said, referring to his party, the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC). "We said we shall put a moratorium on all land awards in Uganda as a measure to control land grabbing by those in government and their cronies”.

Dr. Kizza Besigye, who is a presidential candidate on the FDC party ticket, made the remark on Wednesday December 23, 2015 during a press briefing on his manifesto at the Northern Uganda Media Club (NUMEC) in Gulu town.

He said he will institute special inquiries related to land grabbing in Uganda and reverse the decision on all those, where land has been grabbed illegally. He said that FDC will revisit the legal framework that relates to land management since the current land laws has loopholes, especially on customary and communal land tenure system being practiced in the northern part of Uganda. Lastly, he said FDC will institute literacy program on land laws to empower the community with knowledge on how to protect their land in the future.

Dr. Besigye expressed worry about the mounting levels of intimidation which is being meted on supporters of opponents of President Yoweri Museveni by National Resistance Movement (NRM) leaders and serving army military officers.  

On Tuesday December 22, a Member of Parliament (Gulu Woman) Ms. Betty Aol Ocan and some television crew members, who were on campaign trail of Dr. Besigye were assaulted by NRM supporters of Deputy Speaker of Parliament Mr. Jacob Oulanyah in Omoro county.

“As soon as we reached the venue for our campaign, violence was immediately unleashed during which Hon. Betty Aol and some journalists were assaulted. We had to withdraw to avoid further clashes. This is illegal, criminal, and dangerous for this country. NRM is trying to disrupt the election by perpetuating violence,” Dr. Besigye said.

Dr. Besigye said the serious mistake people make is to think that we have elections in Uganda which is organized in a “free and fair” environment. He hastened to add that what we have is an arrangement by a military dictatorship which is organizing a process to entrench and legitimize itself.

“Our country is being held hostage. No president has been put by the citizens since independence. We should use the opportunity of the regime to wrestle power from him. The institutions of the State are also institution of the dictatorship,” he said.

He said Museveni uses fear by intimidating opponents, favor by bribing and hiring supporters, propaganda, by monopolizing the media, and divide-and-rule tactic to make people collide.

Dr. Besigye said Uganda was still in the first stage of the struggle to remove Museveni's dictatorship- that is of liberation. He said the struggle to liberate Uganda from the Museveni dictatorship will continue even after the election if the Electoral Commission wrongfully declares Museveni winner, until it ends.

He appealed to Ugandans in the Diaspora to engage the community and leaders of the country where they live and give them the correct information on what is going on back home so as to apply pressure on Museveni to respect the will of the people.

“Ugandans in the Diaspora have an important role to influence directions back home. You should engage the community where you live by informing them on what is going on here. Let them apply pressure on Museveni to respect people’s will,” he said.

Besigye said elections are very important, even unfair ones, because elections provide opportunities to expose the dictatorship. He appealed to the media to expose those who commit violence during elections, especially military officers who once said they would not salute him if he defeats Museveni in an election.

Dr. Besigye has already covered 52 districts, representing 45% of all the 112 districts of Uganda.

 

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