Kampala - A former Ugandan prime minister who was fired last year announced Monday that will seek the presidency in elections scheduled for next year, raising the prospect of a heated presidential campaign against the country's long-serving leader.
In a YouTube message to Ugandans, Amama Mbabazi, a lawyer and career politician who used to be the ruling party's secretary-general before he was ousted in a power struggle with President Yoweri Museveni, said he is running for "a fairer society and a democratic future."
Describing the next elections as the most consequential in a generation, he outlined an eight-point program that included promises to fight official corruption and to improve the delivery of public services.
Also read: Child sacrifice for wealth and power in Uganda
Mbabazi, 66, said he would seek the ruling party's nomination first, a direct challenge to Museveni.
Evelyn Anite, a Ugandan lawmaker who speaks for the ruling party, said Museveni loyalists do not feel threatened by Mbabazi's bid and that they expect his challenge to fizzle out.
Mbabazi once was a close ally of Museveni's, and he held many senior government posts over the years, including minister of defence. The two men appeared to fall out in recent years amid persistent reports that Mbabazi harboured presidential ambitions even as Museveni signaled he wanted to extend his time in office.
Museveni fired Mbabazi as his prime minister last year before the ruling party also ousted him as its secretary-general.