On Saturday 10th,Dec 2016, Eng Winnie Byanyima(57) hit the waves after she declared that was ready and had the passion to be president of Uganda if FDC endorsed her. This has since received mixed reactions from the political arena. Some welcoming her as the most qualified given both her political and humanitarian experience locally and internationally while others criticising the move as creating a family dynasty which Besigye has always accused Museveni of.
But as a Ugandan who has an equal opportunity just like anyone to contest as the president, this is why i think Winnie Byanyima is the best candidate to defeat his home-grown and NRA comrade dictator Museveni.
First and foremost, Byanyina’s clear record in her political career is key towards attracting many hopeless Ugandans who believe that the status quo cannot be easily challenged. She contested in 1994 in CA and served two consective terms as a Member of Parliament Mbarara District with a histrocal of Ngooma Jimie.
Although her spouse Dr.Kizza Besigye has lost four consective times in his presidential bid against former NRA comrade Mr.Museveni in a very unfair environment characterised by use of State Machinery and baised Electrol Commission, a section of his supporters and the would-be supporters are getting to believe that Besigye cannot defeat Mr.Museveni. Thus the coming up of a strong and already established Politician like Winnie Byanyima with her previous 100% winning record(politics) is very vital in renewing the hope of many opposition sympathisers.
Secondly, Besigye’s strong support and the euthanasiam of his supporters who have been growing in each presidential election overtime also provides a strong backbone for Byanyima’s presidential bid. It should be noted that Besigye’s support grew by 58% from 2011 to 2016 while that of Museveni only grew by 3% in the same period.
Besigye has been a symbol for impunity and abuse of law by the State to the population and many he is seen as the sacrifice of the struggle given the number of times he has been arrested and tortured both physically and psychologically.
Thus it would easier for Besigye to appeal to the same population to vote Byanyima with his supporters having it in mind that by voting Byanyina she will be the face president while Besigye being on the throne with the instruments of power.
Besigye’s support overwhelmimgly increased during and after elections with a section of the people voluntarily contributing towards the cause to liberate the country through giving him money, gifts among others. And its of no doubt that Dr.Kizza Besigye is the most popular opposition figure in the country per now because he has stuck to the principles of the struggle given the likes of Prof G.Bukenya, Betty Kamya, Jimmy Akena and the silent Amama Mbabazi.
Thirdly becoming the first female presidential candidate with “capacity and capability” to run, Byanyima is likely to breakdown Museveni’s strong base support of women. Over the years Museveni has remained a darling of women given his fight against domestic violence especially among the rural-based. However these women have stagnated in poverty, poor access to health given that 19 women die everyday while giving birth, poor access to quality education ie UPE, failure to fulfill his presidential pledges such as provising lunch to school children, giving free sanitary pads, easing access to credit etc.
Besides Besigye has remained unpopular among women because the fear his personality and physical appearance. To them Besigye looks merciless, revengeful and a blockage to peace and reconciliation., thus Winnie Byanyima would easily capitalise on such a situation to boast her support among women who have remained vulnerable in the country overtime. To them, she will be the new hope!.
Byanyima is also likely to attract more donor support given her international experience and connections with the most recent being her position as the ED at Oxfam International. It is of no doubt that FDC was financially constrained during the last elections given the fact that it didnt field candidates in for some positions and failed to support thr existing ones financially. Besides it also failed to field polling agents on various polling stations which the NRM capitalised on to rig the elections.
The riise of Byanyima would also be viewed as a sign of growing democracy in Uganda and this would easily convince democratic countries such as USA to increase their support. This would also manifest Gender Equality which is globally recongnised under the Sustainable Development Goals.
Lastly but not least, her experience are too outstanding to be admired by most Ugandans. She attained a Bachelors of Science in Aeronautical Engineering at the University of Manchester becoming the first female Ugandan ti attain such a qualification. She later attained a Masters of Science in Mechanical Engineering at Cranfield Univerty before attaining a PHD from University of Manchester a few months ago.
Between 1989 to 1984, she served as an ambassadar before serving two consective terms as a member of parliament in Mbarara. She was later appointed as a Director of the Directorate of Women, Gender and Development at the African Union Headquarters in Ethiopia.
She served in that capacity untill she was appointed Director of the Gender Team incthe Bureau for Development Policy at UNPD in Nov 2006.
In jan, 2013, she was appointed as the next Exective Director of Oxfam International replacing Jeremy Hobbs, a position that has a 5-year term.
All these positions she acquired were based on merit and i believe Ugandans would benefit a lot if she used such experience in State House. Its of no doubt that there could be very few or no woman in Uganda more qualified than Winnie Byanyima.
Handling Criticism against her Presidential bid.
Many NRM sympathisers will argue that Besigye is turning FDC into a family affair a fact that he has accused mr.Museveni on doing. Unlike NRM selects its top leaders(Sole candidature, appointment of secretariant and ring-fencing key positions), in FDC the process is free and fair for anyone to contest.
In NRM, its a crime to think of having presidential ambitions thus u are eliminated and demonised to be against the principles of the party just like it happened to Amama Mbabazi, Bidandi Ssali, Bukenya, even Besigye. Whereas in FDC each party member that has the requirements is free to contest under a free and fair elections and this has been manifested overtime which even led to the birth of the first presidential debate.
Thus Winnie Byanyina would easily defend any criticism against her presidency since its through the clear and democratic process that she qualifies. It should be remembered that even under democracy, family members cannot inherit top positions as long as clear democratic processes are used e.g in Kenya under U.Kenya, USA under Bush, Clinton and reports suggest that Michelle Obama is warming up for the next USA elections.
With 74% of the population indicating that Museveni should retire after 2021, 68% of the population seeking restoration of Term Limits according to today’s released Governance report in addition to the 68% of NRM legistors that are ready to shun lifting of presidential age limit, Museveni should ratuonally accept that his services are wont be needed beyond 2021 and start getting a successor which wilp be his hardest task ever.
Besides his growing recent unpopularity such closure of Makerere University, a #BailoutEconomy that saw Crane bank being taken over by BOU before capitalising it with shs 200b, imcreasing hunger allover the country, modernising agriculture through bicycle irrigation, his goal-free projects like the Youth Livelihood Fund, OWC, increasing corruption, his recent attacks on Kasese, arrests of the King, his comments about donor countries, intensions to withdraw from ICC among others should only let him think about his exit strategy.
In conclusion therefore, Besigye and FDC should take this golden chance and let Byanyima give it a try in order to bring a new face in politics with the same struggle.
There will ne nothing sweeter for Opposition to have dictatorship swept away by a lady who grew up with dictator M7 under one roof. Besigye’s role in the struggle towards uprooting dictatorship much recongnised and appreciated if finally swept off by another person not him…
THE STRUGGLE CONTINUES
FOR GOD AND MY COUNTRY.