Analysis: 39 days until Ugandans elect new Commander in Chief
Last Updated on: 6th December 2020, 12:10 pm
UGDecides2021 I Presidency I Power I Data
Oyam—6, December 2020: Ugandans will cast their votes on 14, January 2021 to elect their new president who will also be the Commander In Chief of the armed forces. The same day, Members of Parliament will be elected into the 11th Parliament.
These leaders (President and MPs) will lead the country and different constituencies for 5 years (2021-2026).
The incoming president elect, whether incumbent Yoweri Museveni or another candidate (winner) will be sworn in in not more than 60 days to take control of the country and State House—Entebbe.
The National Resistance Movement (NRM) party presidential candidate, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, has been in charge of the country since 1986. Since 1996, he has won re (elections) besides wider claims of vote rigging, intimidation, and use of security forces to win re-elections, influence in the electoral commission, among other claims.
Seeking re-election to extend his rule to 40 years, president Museveni has less than 38 days to reclaim victories as president-elect of the Republic of Uganda.
In doing so, Mr Museveni who recently adopted another name “Tibahurwa” is facing ten (10) other presidential candidates. Of the ten, there are formidable candidates—some were his bush war aides; two are his best critics—one from the Ghetto to Parliament, and now he wants to take control of the whole country as president, and another from the village to Najjanakumbi.
These are Kyagulanyi Robert Ssentamu aka Bobi Wine and Patrick Oboi Amuriat (POA).
NRM candidate’s former aides in the race are Lt. Gen. Henry Tumukunde and Maj Gen Mugisha Muntu Greg of Renewed Uganda—a pressure group and Alliance for National Transformation (ANT) party, respectively.
Both Gen. Muntu and Gen. Tumukunda fell out with their former army commander Gen Yoweri Museveni. Unlike Tumukunde, who departed government recently, Muntu left nearly two decades ago.
He (Muntu) became the second party president of the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) party where he succeeded Col Rtd Dr Kizza Besigye. He took charge of FDC for one term following his re-election loss to Patrick Oboi Amuriat (POA) who is another presidential candidate in the 2021 elections.
While Museveni and his government boast of numerous achievements since 1986, his opponents detest it. His government is being accused of causing a high rate of unemployment among youth, corruption, and nepotism and him “using national forces to brutalise and kill civilians”.
Recently, the UPDF has rebutted this claim, announcing they are “neutral and nonpartisan” besides some of its top leaders and commanders publicly saying “they are not ready to give power to a civilian leader”.
In October this year, Brig Deus Sande—the Commander of the UPDF mechanised brigade in Masaka said the army is not ready to hand over power if Museveni loses election.
His comment attracted condemnation from Ugandans and the regime’s opponents, who said Museveni seems to have built the army for his survival.
Soon, the UPDF Spokesperson, Brig Fravia Byekwaso clarified, saying Brig Deus’ “views were his not for the army”.
Ahead of 2021 general elections, the country’s opposition leaders, including presidential candidates and their supporters, have been arrested and charged in Courts on allegation of flouting Covid-19 rules and SOPs.
Accruing from such arrests and detentions, more than ‘60 opposition supporters’ who became riotous following arrest of Bobi Wine on 18 November in Luuka district have died following shooting by security forces. Dozens remain admitted to health facilities, and scores arrested by security forces.
It is worth to note that the deceased and targets of last month’s violence were young men—majority unemployed and desperate for change.
Arunda Ismael—a boda boda man i chose recently to offer me a commercial ride to town is one of the young men desperate for change. “I graduated with a diploma in Procurement and Logistics in 2012, but imagine I am ‘jobless’. It is a big luck to find a job in this regime,” he told me.
He says “it’s not about Bobi Wine to me, it’s about a regime change and 34 years now you can feel the aroma of change.”
According to World Bank, more than 75 percent of Uganda’s population is below the age of 30, with the country having one of the highest unemployment rate at 13.3 percent—the number of youth looking for a job. The World Bank says this rate is the highest in Sub-Saharan Africa.
“The youth bulge and high levels of unemployment call for urgent action and innovative solutions. The Ugandan Ministry of Gender, Labor and Social Development, with the World Bank, commissioned consultations with youth in local communities,” the Bank’s report reads.
If 60 percent of 75 percent of the country’s population give their votes to any opposition candidate in the forthcoming presidential election, the incumbent might find it hard to win his re-election.
In his opinion published in the TND News recently, Luzindana Adam Buyinza, a founder member of Uganda Poor Youth Movement (UPYM) and an ardent supporter of former Prime Minister, John Patrick Amama Mbabazi who also doubled as NRM Secretary General, wrote 16 factors why President Museveni has lost popularity and likely to lose re-election.
This was one of his key reasons, and I quote: “Failure to effectively engage and empower youth in villages and trading centres to overcome poverty and unemployment. The NRM party leaders and government officials who have failed to transform the lives of the poor youth of Uganda are the people describing them as thugs, goons, thieves, hooligans, etc. The youth are determined to fight on to liberate themselves.”
Read more: 16 factors why Pres. Museveni has lost popularity and likely to lose re-election
NRM presidential candidate Museveni is using his campaigns across the country to commission projects initiated years ago. The president has commissioned markets, roads, factories, among others.
In one of his speeches, he says such a project would create employment for youth and improve household incomes.
In Jinja district, he says “the NRM countrywide grassroots appeal draws both youth and old to advance the party’s core principles of Democracy, Pan-Africanism and Socioeconomic transformation.”
While NRM believes her achievements over the years are enough to guarantee another victory, opposition candidates like Kyagulanyi Robert, Mugisha Muntu, Norbert Mao, Nancy Kalembe, John Katumba, Henry Tumukunde, Patrick Oboi Amuriat, Joseph Kabuleta, Willy Mayambala, Pastor Fred Mwesigye are all determined to win the presidency.
With no official data available yet, Bobi Wine, in terms of media coverage during this campaign period, comes second after Museveni and FDC’s POA third. Being someone who emerged from the Ghetto to Parliament in 2017, Bobi Wine surprised many Ugandans—including the world when he won the “hearts” of “many youths” and the “hearts” of some Besigye’s sympathizers within a short period.
He became popular here and globally after a series of arrests and detentions, especially last year, and when he declared intention to run for presidency.
In 2001, 2006, 2011 and 2016 elections, Kizza Besigye came second after Yoweri Museveni. In all these elections, cases of elections fraud, intimidations and arrest of top opposition candidate, Besigye and his supporters were common.
With Besigye out, these are the questions: Will Bobi Wine win or come second? Will Generals Muntu or Tumukunde deny Gen Museveni re-election? Is it Norbert Mao or John Katumba?
The same questions should be asked of the other remaining candidates who are all capable of winning.
It is 39 days until Ugandans elect their new Commander In Chief.