By Vision Reporter
The chances of President Yoweri Museveni and his former bush war doctor - turned political rival Kizza Besigye meeting appeared to be getting closer to reality on Friday.
This follows a series of meetings between prominent women of the Women Situation Room (WSR), a former presidential candidate and different power brokers, who included the diplomatic community.
Members of the WSR established in February, as part of efforts towards peaceful elections in Uganda by prominent women, led by former Uganda Investment Authority chairperson Maggie Kigozi, on Tuesday, met both Museveni and Besigye, urging them to have roundtable talks to resolve the current impasse.
“We asked them to initiate a dialogue between themselves. We want them to sit and discuss issues around them so that we put an end to the current stalemate,” Kigozi said, but declined to divulge further.
Museveni was announced winner of the February 18 presidential poll, but Besigye and former Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi have disputed the results, citing irregularities. Mbabazi has petitioned the Supreme Court.
Victoria Ssekitoleko, a member of the WSR Uganda, said: “We met Museveni and Besigye yesterday. They are both ready to talk.” Last week, former presidential candidate Maj. Gen. Benon Biraaro also met both principals and in an interview with New Vision confirmed that Museveni was committed to talks, but had not agreed to share power with the Opposition.
Sources in the diplomatic community also say they had initiated talks between the two former candidates in the last election. On Thursday evening, the diplomats from the EU and US visited Besigye at his home in Kasangati.
This was the second visit in less than a week. Efforts to get a comment from Besigye about the details of the meeting, proved futile. But he tweeted a photo of him and members of the WSR and wrote:
“With members of Uganda Women’s Situation Room.Asked them to focus on electoral injustices that result in violence.” Both officials from the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) and National Resistance Movement (NRM) confirmed they were ready for the talks and that they had been approached by different groups.
FDC president Mugisha Muntu confirmed they had been approached for dialogue. Even though he said they agreed to the talks, he said they would set their conditions. “The terms we set in 2011 for the talks between us and NRM have to be the same for this new set of dialogue being initiated,” Muntu said.
NRM deputy secretary general Richard Todwong, however, cautioned the FDC members against setting conditions that would jeopardise the chances of the meeting. “President Museveni has always welcomed dialogue with those opposed to him, like the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) rebel leader Joseph Kony, why not Besigye?” Todwong wondered.
If they do not succeed, it will not be the first time FDC snubs meeting President Museveni. Shortly after the 2006 election, when President Museveni invited all former presidential candidates in the race to State House Nakasero, all the other former candidates turned up, but FDC did not. In April 2011, talks were initiated, but they failed.