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Ugandan Information Minister Basoga Nsadu
"There is no way the state can sit down and deliberately plan these acts."
 real 28k

Monday, 5 February, 2001, 16:47 GMT
'Intimidation' ahead of Ugandan poll
Kizza Besigye on the campaign trail
Kizza Besigye is slowly gaining on President Museveni
Supporters of a leading challenger to Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni are claiming they are the targets of a deliberate intimidation campaign.

In the latest incident, on Sunday evening, three followers of presidential hopeful Colonel Kizza Besigye were killed as a truck drove into a crowd waiting for a campaign rally.

Ugandan Information Minister Basoga Nsadu denied that there was government intimidation, adding that President Museveni has abolished "state inspired insecurity" so there was no sense in creating insecurity now.

There is a strategy designed to frighten supporters

Besigye campaign co-ordinator

Uganda is gearing up for presidential elections on 6 March with President Museveni facing his stiffest challenge since taking power 15 years ago.

Official inquiry

Police investigating Sunday's incident are currently looking for the driver of the vehicle involved.

Police spokesman Eric Naigambi said the driver had gone past the group, who had gathered to greet Kizza Besigye, before turning around and driving straight into it.
President Yoweri Museveni
President Museveni: 'No way' he could be involved

He said the act was deliberate, but it was still unclear if it was politically motivated.

Mr Besigye's campaign co-ordinator Louis Otika listed three separate incidents when Besigye supporters had been attacked and killed.

He said that "there is a strategy designed to frighten supporters so that they fear turning up to our rallies."

Counter claims

Information Minister Mr Nsadu responded by saying that "there is no way that the state or the Museveni campaign can sit down and deliberately plan these acts".

He went on to say that there was more violence coming from the Besigye camp.

He said that one speaker at a rally encouraged listeners to attack anyone who did not support their candidate.

Meanwhile an opinion poll published on Monday showed that Kizza Besigye, one of four challengers, is gaining on President Museveni.

The poll showed Mr Besigye support jumping to 37%. President Museveni is still a long way ahead with 54%.

President Museveni came to power in 1986 at the head of a rebellion. He won presidential elections in 1996 with 74% of the vote.

Under the Ugandan constition, candidates for political office have to stand as individuals as political parties cannot sponsor them.

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See also:

11 Jan 01 | Africa
Uganda election fight kicks off
02 Jul 00 | Africa
'No-party rule' wins
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