June 30, 2015 / 3:32 PM / 4 years ago

Ugandan opposition leader prepares fourth presidential challenge

Kizza Besigye attends an interview with Reuters at his home in Kasangati near Kampala, January 13, 2012. REUTERS/James Akena

KAMPALA (Reuters) - Veteran Ugandan politician Kizza Besigye will seek the opposition’s nomination to challenge Yoweri Museveni in presidential elections next year, that could provide the toughest test of the incumbent’s almost three decades in power.

The opposition have vowed to put aside differences and impose a single candidate to run against Museveni, who is widely expected to win should he seek another term.

Museveni also faces a challenge from Amama Mbabazi, a former ally who Museveni dismissed as prime minister last year amid rumours he was contemplating a challenge against the president.

Dan Mugagura, who chairs the electoral commission within the opposition party Forum for Democratic Change, said Besigye would “be a candidate for our flag bearer position,” when the party chooses its candidate in early September.

He is widely expected to win the party’s backing and he is not expected to face a major challenge among other opposition leaders.

Besigye, 66, has lost to Museveni three times since 2001. The opposition has regularly accused the government of election irregularities and voter intimidation by security personnel, charges which the government has denied.

After the 2011 election Besigye championed a series of anti-government demonstrations that prompted a government crackdown in which at least nine people were killed.

Don Wanyama, a spokesperson for Museveni’s party, dismissed Besigye as a spent force, and that “Museveni’s track record of delivering is clear and will easily beat anyone, be it Besigye or Mbabazi, hands down.”

Reporting by Elias Biryabarema; Editing by Edith Honan and Jon Boyle

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