Besigye accuses Museveni of mischief on Migingo

Published on 11/06/2009

By Antony Gitonga

Ugandan opposition leader Kizza Besigye has accused President Yoweri Museveni of mischief on the raging Migingo Island ownership dispute.

Mr Besigye, who has been in Kenya for the past four days, said President Museveni had blown the issue out of context.

“The issue has been blown out of context causing unnecessary tension between Kenya and Uganda,” he said in Naivasha where he is attending an international conference.

Besigye, who lost narrowly to Museveni in the 2006 presidential elections, said he was baffled by Museveni’s statement on the island.

“He admitted the island belongs to Kenya, but confused the matter more by claiming it is in Uganda’s water,” he said.

He said the issue was simple but leaders of the two countries had mishandled it, and called for patience.

Democratic space

He was speaking to journalists at Simba Lodge during the closure of a four-day conference on accountability and democracy in Africa.

The workshop, organised by the Centre for Multi-party Democracy-Kenya (CMD), had participants drawn from ten African countries.

On democratic space in Uganda, Besigye, who is the chairman of the Forum for Democratic Change, asked East Africa to support his country’s efforts to entrench reforms.

He said although civilians were in power, the country was still under a military regime.

“We are now engaged in an intense struggle to have reforms for democratic transition to move away from military rule,” he said.

CDM Chairman Larry Gumbe called for strengthening of political parties to expand the democratic space.

He admitted Kenya had made strides in democracy, but was quick to note that weak institutions and systems should be reformed.

Ms Creda Mweupe from Zambia called on the region’s governments to be accountable to their constituencies rather than to external donors.

Reading a joint communiquÈ, Mweupe said political parties should influence the Budget-making process and monitor its implementation.

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