Uganda’s former Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi has declared his intention to run for president in the early 2016 election.
Issuing a statement on Monday, Mbazazi said Ugandans want “not simply a change in leadership but a change of systems, a change in order”.
He is seen as a strong contender against President Yoweri Museveni, who has been ruling since 1986.
Uganda is set to elect its president, parliament and local administrations next year in a comprehensive ballot expected to come in March.
Mbazazi’s announcement prompted police and other security agencies to deploy heavily at his home. Museveni is known to keep his political rivals under tight security watch.
The two figures, both founders of the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) headed by Museveni, have been political allies for decades before Mbazazi was fired as prime minister in September 2014 in a single-man cabinet reshuffle by Museveni.
Mbazazi says he seeks to restore the ruling NRM and “return to its roots” as a “genuine, accountable and democratic movement”.
In his remarks regarding his election platform, Mbabazi said Monday there was a need to focus on “critical ideas”.
They included reviving Uganda’s democracy and institutions, transforming the economy and attracting heavy local and foreign investment, promoting equitable development “where all communities and all regions of the country equally benefit from decisions made by the government”, he said.
He added that there was a need to provide jobs that are fit for the 21st century and ensure a greater level of accountability on the part of leaders and making a stronger effort at fighting corruption at all levels.