Dr. Kizza Besigye: “My Message To The Youth Of Uganda: Claim Your Country! Claim Your Future!” (21.02.2016)
Thank you for fulfilling your civic duty by voting for change. Your enthusiastic participation in the stolen 2016 elections demonstrates that you wanted to change the politics of this country and secure your future through the ballot box; only to be frustrated by partisan security agencies and an incompetent electoral commission. The electoral process was rigged using intimidation of voters, imprisonment of opponents, sabotage of rallies, late delivery of election materials, delayed opening of election centers, vote falsification at undisclosed tally centers, and bribery, among other malpractices.
But do not be discouraged — the struggle for a democratic dispensation did not start and end on Election Day and the electoral process itself did not end with the announcement of doctored results. Therefore, do not surrender. The majority of you were not even born when the current NRM regime came into power in 1986. Yet all you have inherited are the consequences of its bad governance.
Youth unemployment in Uganda is known to be the highest in Africa estimated to be between 62%, and 83%! I addressed the unemployment rate, deteriorating quality of education, corrupt credit schemes that did not benefit you; and the desperate circumstances of Uganda’s youth during my campaigns. You know your conditions better than me. The election has been rigged and the government is doing all it can to silence me. It is time for you to claim your rights and lead this struggle.
Uganda’s future, your future is in your hands. Remain firm. We can make this country work for each and everyone of us. But you must assert yourselves and claim your future. There is no other person who will do it for us.
Here is where we are: As of now there is no winner, the election process has not ended. The law gives us 10 days after announcement of results to challenge the outcome that is announced. As you all know, I have spent the first of those ten days under house arrest. I am now left with 9 days to exercise this right. Therefore, tomorrow I am going to the Electoral Commission to receive their results. I will then meet the campaign team and following that we will go around the country and collect all our information in order to prepare a well-considered response. This is a right we take for granted and are not asking for permission.
I invite you my friends,
• To rally behind the demand for an independent and transparent audit of the 2016 presidential election results. Explain this to all your friends.
• If you are in Kampala join me to walk to the Electoral Commission. We leave my gate at Kasangati at 9:00AM. Police will try to stop us, I know; but this is about claiming our rights. We will walk peacefully.
• In every village, collect the Declaration Forms that may still be in your possession. Use your phone or camera to photograph the results Declaration form. We will tell you how to transmit them.
• My friends online, engage our African brothers and sisters as well as the international community to reject the results and support our demands for an independent audit.
Friends, I have warned that we are witnessing a creeping military coup that aims to subvert the will of the people. We set out to claim our rights and our country through defiance not compliance. We are still on that path and we shall win by defiance NOT compliance. The NRM government believes that by isolating me the defiance campaign is dead but it was not a one-man campaign. This was your campaign and you must now LEAD IT! Peaceful protest is a human right that is in our Constitution. As you know whenever we have gone out to exercise that right peacefully we have been met with extreme violence. But we will not be cowed. The most brutal dictatorships have crumbled when the people asserted themselves. In Philippines, Romania, Guatemala, Tunisia, Ivory Coast and Burkina Faso we have seen them fall when the youth stood up for their rights. There will be pain and sacrifice. I am ready for it and I have been absorbing it. Do not be afraid, it is our historic duty.
For God And Our Country
Dr. Kizza Besigye