SYDNEY -- A Sydney cardiologist who is trying to run for president of Uganda has become embroiled in extraordinary accusations he helped fund a rebel group to commit a series of murders in the east African nation.
Dr Aggrey Kiyingi, 61, who has strenuously denied charges he helped orchestrate the murder of Muslim clerics and police officers, told The Huffington Post Australia authorities are desperately trying to trying stop him running for president.
He said his supporters were this week blocked from picking up nomination forms.
In May he was reportedly committed in absentia to stand trial at Uganda’s High Court in connection with the murder of two prominent Muslim clerics in late December last year, following similar charges leveled at him in March.
But Dr Kiyingi, who runs a practice in Merrylands in Sydney's west, said he has not been officially contacted by authorities.
“It means absolutely nothing and we are going ahead,” he said, referring to his presidential ambitions.
“It is Uganda government propaganda. They do that every month. I've never been served up to now, and that means technically as far as I'm concerned those are rumours.”
In all, seven victims were allegedly killed by the Allied Democratic Forces rebel group over the past year, and Ugandan police since late 2014 have accused Dr Kiyingi of funding their activities and arrested 18 people.
“We detected this around Christmas, towards Christmas,” head of the Ugandan police force General Kale Kayihura told the ABC in April.
“They actually went in to attack police stations and it was linked to Dr Kiyingi's group.”
Dr Kiyingi has previously condemned the killings and denied any involvement with the ADF.
President Yoweri Museveni has ruled Uganda for nearly 30 years and is expected to be elected to another five-year term after the election, due in early 2016.
Kiyingi said his team have been blocked by officials from picking up nomination forms at Uganda’s electoral commission.
Uganda’s Electoral Commission has reportedly said Kiyingi is ineligible to stand for any elective office in Uganda because he is not a registered voter.
But Dr Kiyingi said the Ugandan Electoral Commission has jumped the gun, and cannot stop his supporters from getting the forms.
He said his supporters have been harassed, beaten and in some cases raped and killed by authorities.
Kiyingi said if he returns to Uganda ahead of next year’s election he might be arrested or worse.
“So be it,” he said.
“(Museveni) knows that if I arrive in Uganda, whether he kills me or arrests me, that’s his end too, because the population is going to stand up.”
Comment has been sought from the Australian Attorney General’s office and the Ugandan High Commission in Canberra.
Interpol referred questions on Dr Kiyingi to Ugandan authorities.
Undeterred, Dr Kiyingi has been campaigning from Australia and deployed 1.5 million business cards – called Kiyingi cards - to spread his election message on the ground.
In 2006 he was acquitted of organising the shooting murder of his Australian wife, Robinah Kiyingi - a high-profile lawyer who worked for the Ugandan arm of Transparency International.
In late 2013, he accused Ugandan authorities of trying to steal his ancestral lands.
While he faces hurdles nominating for the election, he also faces competition from forces not aligned to Museveni.
In June, Uganda’s former Prime Minister, Amama Mbabazi, announced he will run as an independent candidate in the country’s 2016 presidential election after allegedly being blocked from nominating on the ruling party’s ticket.