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Thursday, 8 March, 2001, 22:05 GMT
Uganda poll: The other contenders
Election poster
Many think of the race as a duel but there are four more candidates

By Anna Borzello in Kampala

It is easy to think that the Ugandan presidency is being contested by just two men - the incumbent Yoweri Museveni and his former physician, Dr and retired Colonel Kizza Besigye.

There are in fact four other contenders in the 12 March elections, although collectively they score just 10% in opinion polls.


All four challengers are multi-partyists, promising to return Uganda to a pluralist system of government.

Yoweri Museveni and Kizza Besigye are both Movementists - described by its supporters as an alternate form of democracy and by its detractors as a one party state - although Mr Besigye is campaigning as a reformer, and has pledged a speedy return to pluralism.

The four candidates have virtually no hope of winning the election.

Their only chance of gaining political influence is if there is a run off between the two principle candidates, which will happen if neither secures the requisite 50%.

Only then will the four minor runners find themselves in a strong bargaining position.

Aggrey Awori

The most high profile of the four candidates is Aggrey Awori, who would have been the president's principle contender were it not for Mr Besigye's decision to stand.

"Besigye is surviving on my previous constituency," he told the BBC in an interview recently.

Mr Awori, 62, is a veteran politician from Busia in eastern Uganda where he is the MP.

Aggrey Awori
Aggrey Awori renounced rebellion in 1992
The former Olympic sprinter is a staunch multi-partyist and a member of the Ugandan Peoples Congress Party, which once ruled Uganda under the presidency of Milton Obote.

He served as a minister in that government between 1981-1985 but, soon after Museveni seized power in 1986, he joined a rebel movement - Force "Obote Back Again".

In 1992, Mr Awori renounced rebellion.

He has been an MP since 1996 and is known for his outspoken criticism of the government.

If elected, he promises to hold peace talks with rebel groups still operating in the country and reinstall political parties.

However, Mr Awori is most in the news not for his policies but for the helicopter that he swore he would use to carry out his campaigns - and which has yet to arrive in the country.

Kibirige Mayanja Muhammad

This is the second time Kibirige Mayanja Muhammad has stood in the presidential elections.

He competed in 1996, alongside Mr Museveni and his principle opponent Dr Paul Ssemogerere.

Kibirige Mayanja
This is Kibirige Mayanja's second presidential campaign
He was treated with amused tolerance by most Ugandans and on polling day collected 2.6% of the vote.

He promised then he would return next time round.

Kibirige Mayanja, 51, comes from central Uganda.

He studied in Kampala and did his post-graduate work in Britain.

On his return to Uganda, he joined Makerere University as director of planning, where he still works.

Mr Mayanja is a Muslim and has two wives with whom he has seven children.

He has promised a return to pluralism, peace talks and pledged to promote "moral regeneration".

Chappa Karuhanga

Chappa Karuhanga, 49, comes from Bushenyi in western Uganda and is the chairman of a little known political group, the National Democrats Forum.

He has been involved in politics since he was a teenager when he joined an opposition group fighting the regime of former dictator Idi Amin.

Chappa Karuhanga
Chappa Karuhanga has a colourful political past
In the ensuing years Mr Chappa has gone into, and returned from, exile and been imprisoned three times - once during Amin's regime, once on suspicion of collaborating with the forces of the then rebel leader Yoweri Museveni and again in 1998 for reportedly slandering Mr Museveni.

He has promised, if elected, to free parties, and to pursue a mixed economy.

Mr Chappa's most newsworthy act so far has been to marry a pretty woman in her early 20s on the eve of the campaign.

According to media reports, her presence at rallies has earned the flattering comments of male voters.

Francis Bwengye

Francis Bwengye ,59, comes from Bushenyi in western Uganda.

He is a long-term member of the Democratic Party, the country's leading political party, and in 1980 served as its secretary-general.

Francis Bwengye
Francis Bwengye has promised to solve all Uganda's economic problems
Mr Bwengye decided to stand for the presidency after falling out with the DP president and former presidential aspirant, Paul Ssemogerere, in the run up to the 2001 elections.

Mr Bwengye, who has never held political office, has worked as a health inspector and as a lawyer.

He has been married twice and has 10 children.

In his manifesto, he promises to provide solutions to all Uganda's economic ills - as well as a return to pluralism.

In an opinion poll by the independent Monitor newspaper earlier this month Mr Bwengye secured just 1.1%.

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