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Museveni would lose only if left to run alone

President Museveni campaigning for an NRM candidate

President Museveni campaigning for an NRM candidate

During the #Togikwatako campaign, after Special Forces Command (SFC) soldiers had brutalized opposition legislators, Museveni realized he risked winning the vote against zero opposition. 

Victory against no opponent is meaningless. Opposition MPs had agreed to simply boycott parliament and allow the man have his way.  News in the corridors of power confirmed – there is never concrete evidence for stuff like this – that Museveni quickly entered a deal with opposition politicians to have them stay in parliament.

Instead of boycotting, they were being asked – contracted – to stay in, campaign and vote against the amendment. This way, Museveni’s pre-determined victory would actually claim the legitimacy of competition. The actual amount of “professional fees” disbursed to his clients [we need to keep a strictly business language here] remain unconfirmed: while some sources claim it was Shs 70m for each, others have indicated Shs 40m was the deal.

See, while the opposition would be victorious in boycotting, they would also have done their job – as opposition – if they stayed in parliament and opposed the amendment. There, voters would see them either way as doing their job.

But while boycotting would actually dent Museveni’s pre-determined victory, staying in parliament and simply opposing the amendment bolstered this victory.  That is why Museveni was paying for opposing – and not boycotting – the entire process. Our opposition politicians played ball.

Incumbent presidential candidate, Yoweri Museveni must be hurting from Besigye’s decision not to stand in the 2021 polls. 

See, Besigye offered him the best candidate, and stiff competition to “win” against. He was the standard pugilist in the other corner for a believable showdown. A well-educated, genuinely angry and articulate soldier, Besigye was the gold standard character for opposition drama. 

A tough-talking contender, with an unmistakable presence, gruff-voiced Besigye was a natural crowd puller necessary for display of power. Sometimes, when a low crowd turnout was anticipated, Museveni’s team, through especially Boda-Boda 2010, mobilized crowds for Kizza Besigye – most famously when former prime minister Amama Mbabazi joined the fray of opposition.

The election thus had “stiff competition” absolutely necessary for a national election – with pre-determined results.  It has to look like a real election.

That Besigye is out surely hurts the Museveni camp. A Museveni “victory” in the forthcoming election is surely guaranteed, but there needs to be a show of competition. The uncertainty – over enough competition – has surely thrown NRM into panic as they have to have a performatively real election with a strong challenger. 

And this is not to underestimate the place and stature of Bobi Wine as a challenger.  Rather, I am speaking to how Kyagulanyi is likely to be cast in some NRM pre-scripted drama.  Indeed, this essay seeks to celebrate the stature of Bobi Wine as the new kid on the block.

Although Bobi Wine does not offer a perfect replacement for Kizza Besigye as an electoral challenger, he will certainly give them a good show. Charismatic, musical, and creative, Bobi Wine has emerged as the candidate of choice especially in Kampala. If the double-standard nonsense of no open campaigns is not sustained, Bobi will surely pull large crowds.

Plus, with Abdallah Kitatta back in circulation, Bobi can be helped to give NRM good competition estimating or even more than Besigye.  In the end, Museveni will win a good win – with competition from a good candidate.

My contention is this: if the opposition wants Museveni to lose, they have to do what they failed or refused to do in during the #Togikwatako campaign: let Museveni run against himself.  The mantle falls on the main contender of the moment who happens to be candidate Robert Kyagulanyi. 

Mr Kyagulanyi has to follow Besigye’s example [it came late, I know], and boycott these uninteresting electoral Olympics. If boycotting were also embraced by Gen. Mugisha Muntu, Nobert Mao, Patrick Amuriat/Wasswa Birigwa, Museveni would be a dead man. 

They could argue that they are short on resources, and are instead using the little they have to build their parties. They could also claim Covid-19 is a real threat, and cannot risk the lives of Ugandans.  I cannot imagine the panic Museveni would be thrown into anticipating their next move.  

Opposition politicians have always wanted to unite, and the best unity under Uganda’s sophisticated autocracy, is unity in boycott.  And there is no better time to pull this off than under the madness of scientific election.  

Of course, there would be underlings claiming to fill the opposition void:  there would be a Gen. Henry Tumukunde, a Maureen Kyalya, and a Joseph Mabirizi. But these remain minions whose power is in running alongside others.  Boycott would signal to a rebirth of real, change-seeking opposition in Uganda.


The author is a PhD fellow at Makerere Institute of Social Research.


+1 #51 Remase 2020-09-18 13:15
Wooden K, what point did I miss?

I clearly stated that I "like' , Lysol but you stated that I "love" Lysol, who misunderstood who? It's all in black and white. Could you explain how I missed your point?

PrinceM, attending a burial/wedding or not to is not a contest. There is no element of competition whatsoever! Who is competing against who?

Yes, none attendance won't invalidate neither the marriage or prevent a burial from taking place. Boycotting elections means that there is nothing to compete with.

If Barcelona boycotted to play without a valid reason, but simply because it was weak and couldn't win BM, it would avoid elimination.

Yes, BM would have gone through with a win. Here we have an election in which we clearly know the winner beforehand. You got it right, M7 will be declared the winner regardless. The difference is, he will win without competing against anyone for valid reasons. The boycott is based on valid reasons.
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+1 #52 Remase 2020-09-18 13:50
These are the valid reasons: COViD-19, candidates are unable to present their reasons to the electorate of why he/she should be elected.

There's no such a thing as scientific elections. M7 rigs elections and he refused to implement the electoral reforms. He appoints the EC which dances at his tunes. M7 shouldn't not be a candidate because he has changed the constitution so that he can be a life president.

Therefore we can't hold any elections in which M7 is a candidate. 35 years are enough, because M7 said 35 years ago that the problem with Uganda is life presidency, which breads nepotism, patronage, corruption, tribalism ejusdem generis. I could go on and on.

We should boycott the elections and let M7 run alone and be declared unopposed winner like in the NRM.
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+1 #53 Remase 2020-09-18 14:03
Fellow Ugandans, damn if we do damn if we don't, M7 is the winner as long as he is a candidate, why compete with him?
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-1 #54 Wooden K. 2020-09-18 14:47
I agree with you PrinceM.

Talking to Remase Lysol is like talking to a bloody wall.
Its time consuming.

Yes ,Dr. Besigye will go down as one of the bravest Ugandans , but he made some few strategic blunders.

He focused too much on fight itout with Museveni and ignored helping other opposition members to win parliamentally seats. In Rungiri when Dr. Besigye comes from , NRM was left alone to dominate.

This time , the opposition must indentify cabable men and women and help them to become MPs.

In his short life in politics , Bobi Wine has done just that .
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-1 #55 Wooden K. 2020-09-18 15:00
Some people masquerade and call for boycotting.
Are they agents of this dictatorship ?

Look, over 70% of voters in Uganda today are under 35 years of age. For the first time in Uganda`s history, People Power has managed to mobilize and get them interested in competetive politics.

Those so-called experts do not even realize that the violence we saw during NRM internal elections is connected to that development . Young people are no longer indifferent; they want to fight for their places.

The numbers PrinceM cites are nothing compared with what will come in 2021. Young voters are going to gave the dictator a massive headache. Only the wicked can suggest that we boycott.
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-1 #56 Wooden K. 2020-09-18 17:03
Reamase Lysol , the point was not about the difference between "like " and "love"

As I ilustrated , it about a dog not knowing that a mirrow reflects its image.

Lets move on :

You think that Barcelona would "avoid elimination" if it boycotted . !!! ???

That must be the dumbest thing you have put it so far.
Do you even think before you write ?
Boycotting an election means that there is nothing to compete for ?

How can you boycott a competation where/ if there is no opponent ..huh ???
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-1 #57 Opolot 2020-09-18 17:14
I like the maturity of the discussion. People are disagreeing but without insulting each other.

This is progressive. The likes of Lysol and Jonat only come in to abuse writers because their goal is to discourage every government critic and silence them.

We know. Good enough the writers simply ignore them and continue with their work
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+1 #58 Remase 2020-09-18 17:35
Wooden K, you are the who sound like M7's spokesman. Age and high percentage of interested voters can't obscure the fact that M7 rigs elections.

The bottom line is, M7 has never won any elections. Never ever and never will. I asked you to tell me why Ugandans should vote for Kyagulanyi, you haven't offered anything. You just wishing "mbu overwhelm M7, is that new?

You are M7's mouthpiece because you clearly know that he changed the constitution to rule for life. If you are not what did you do when M7 changed the constitution to stand when he shouldn't?

If you didn't do anything, why do you act as if you care so much about the elections? Togyikwata ko is an order! We ordered M7 not to kwata on the constitution, he did, therefore, fellow Ugandans, boycott the elections.
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0 #59 PrinceM 2020-09-18 18:04
Boycotting elections is a nonstarter. Like it or not, certain people like Mao, Kabuleeta, Amuriat, or Birigwa who are all credible but weak candidates will stand.

We should instead be discussing how to make it impossible for Museveni to rig the election like is the case in Kampala and Kasese in 2016.

Besigye did not do enough in this regard as he lacked agents in many polling stations enabling vote stuffing and forgery of declaration forms. But also going by the NRM primaries, it’s clear many rural voters particularly women are easily manipulated by as little as 1000 shs to vote Bosco.

Instead of promoting a useless boycotting strategy, let us do our civic duty and enlighten these villagers to vote wisely regardless of bribery or intimidation.

In many areas in the central and Eastern Uganda, people are enlightened and cannot be easily manipulated thanks to the people power message. If the same happens in Western and Northern Uganda, Museveni can lose the election!
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