“I stand in pride to be a daughter to this great man,” stressed Winnie Byanyima, the executive director of Oxfam international, while warning President Yoweri Museveni who missed the burial of her father on Sunday, to stay away from the constitution.
Museveni who grew up in Byanyima’s household is currently on Dar es Salaam Tanzania for the East African Community summit and couldn’t attend the burial, the reason he sent Foreign Affairs minister, Sam Kutesa, in his place.
Winnie, the wife to opposition strongman, Dr Kizza Besigye, was addressing mourners at the burial of her father, the late Boniface Byanyima, on Sunday in Ruti, Mbarara district.
“To Museveni and NRM, don’t be tempted to use your numbers to change the constitution to deny us a peaceful transition of power,” Winnie said, making it clear that she didn’t want Museveni in the 2021 presidential race.
By 2021, Museveni will be above the 75 constitutional age and is thus not expected to run for presidency.
According to Winnie, Uganda cannot develop if everyone just keeps quiet and lets the ruling regime do as it wishes.
“I challenge all people on all sides, people speak out, when you see corruption, and injustice speak out. Justice is when instead of taking a few government officials abroad for treatment, money is invested in Ugandans hospitals for all citizens to access treatment,” she said.
Winnie maintained that Museveni’s time has come to an end and asked him to peacefully transfer power to another person.
“Our country is the only one in East Africa that has not seen a peaceful transition of power. Ugandans should not be denied chance to effect their own peaceful transfer of power,” Winnie whose husband Besigye has stood four times against Museveni and lost, pointed out.
She said when her father was fighting in parliament, President Milton Obote used party numbers to abrogate the constitution of Uganda leading to instabilities that ended in 1986.
She the then speaker of parliament who was in Uganda People’s Congress [UPC], exploited the fact that the opposition had few benches in the house and used the numbers to deny them chance to speak.
She said this development frustrated her father and made it impossible for him to make any contribution but still he remained in opposition even after Obote banned parties in parliament.
The Obote government, she said, went on to enact the Detention Act, which saw opposition members detained for five years without trial.
The Treason Act gave a maximum death sentence for anyone found discussing politics leading to the arrest of her father several times.
Winnie said if Museveni too limits the power of free speech and bans NGOs as he has threatened before, the nation will officially be buried.
Besigye, Mao eulogise the late DP stalwart
Speaking on the same burial ceremony, Besigye said people must live their lives on earth honestly, with integrity and service humanity with kindness.
“Everybody must work to live a legacy behind when pass on to the next world,” he said.
Democratic Party [DP] president general, Norbert Mao, said Mzee Byanyima stood for the excluded and today there are many excluded people, making DP more relevant in Uganda today.
“The late Mzee Byanyima believed that opponents are not enemies. He was a true nationalist,” he said.
According to Mao, Mzee Boniface Byanyima has been described by many people, “we haven’t come here as DP to claim him for only ourselves”.
He praised the late as a towering figure, saying even praises are understatements.
Mzee Byanyima, who died last Tuesday at the age of 97, was laid to rest at his home in Ruti Mbarara on Sunday evening.