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Ugandan ex-prime minister to challenge president in polls

Sitting Uganda president Yoweri Museveni/FILE

Sitting Uganda president Yoweri Museveni/FILE

KAMPALA, Jun 15 – Sacked Ugandan prime minister Amama Mbabazi announced on Monday he will challenge his former ally, veteran President Yoweri Museveni, in elections next year.

President Yoweri Museveni, aged 70 and the east African nation’s leader since 1986, has already been chosen as the ruling National Resistance Movement’s (NRM) candidate.

Mbabazi, 66, the former NRM secretary-general and prime minster from 2011-2104, was sacked by Museveni in September following reports he was to stand against him.

“This is the most important election in a generation,” Mbabazi said, promising to boost public services and cut unemployment if elected.

“The coming election is about the future, about making Uganda work for everyone… It is about breathing new life into our system of government -– a system that has become weak and inefficient,” he added.

Security forces surrounded Mbabazi’s home after he announced his candidacy, his wife Jacqueline Mbabazi told AFP.

“Armed security personnel surrounded our residence but have been kept away by our police guards, the situation is tense,” she said.

But Minister for the Presidency, Frank Tumwebaze, said Mbabazi was welcome to contest the polls but added that he was doubtful he would bring change.

“He has been here for all the years, being part and parcel of the government architecture until he was sacked,” Tumwebaze said.

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“Leadership does not start when one declares to be president,” he added.

Last week opposition parties formed a coalition for “the final push” against Museveni. The Democratic Alliance (TDA) say they will field a joint candidate for the election, pledging that if successful, their candidate would serve only one term.

Members of the TDA include Uganda’s main opposition party, Forum for Democratic Change (FDC), the Conservative Party, the Democratic Party, the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) and Uganda Federal Alliance (UFA).

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