Recently, I advised the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) party to plan early for President Museveni’s successor, predicting, rightly or wrongly, that he will win the 2021 presidential election.
Following the publication of that opinion, I received many calls from members of NRM, other political parties and compatriots informing me that they had enjoyed reading and share that opinion.
They included two Cabinet ministers, whose names I will not reveal for obvious reasons, and about a dozen of the callers were Opposition politicians who asked that their names should not be revealed.
Coincidentally, on the same day my opinion was published, my fellow columnist, Ms Lilliane Barenzi, while commenting on the road to 2021, zeroed on Kyadondo East MP Robert Kyagulanyi, aka Bobi Wine, and said “let us not see old wine poured into a new bottle”.
Then on Tuesday March 19, Senior Presidential Advisor on Political Affairs Moses Byaruhanga predicted that Mr Museveni will win come 2021.
He selected the reasons for his prediction while deliberately omitting others such as corruption, bribery, intimidation and sabotage of opponents’ plans which are confirmed by courts in Uganda to be the genuine reasons why President Museveni has always defeated his rivals. These devices include persecution and harassment of opponents.
Then on March 20, DP president general Norbert Mao vehemently denied intimate links with President Museveni and publicly declared his own bid for State House. The same publication announced that the Electoral Commission had approved Gen Gregory Mugisha Muntu’s new political party which presumably will nominate him or one of its members to similarly bid for the presidency in 2021.
Elsewhere, periodical presidential candidate Kizza Besigye and a well-known rival of President Museveni, placed Mr Kyagulanyi in what he intimated to be an unknown political nursery, quite oblivious to the fact that Kyagulanyi’s People Power candidates had easily won guild presidential races of Makerere and Kyambogo universities, arguably the two biggest and well-known government sponsored universities in Uganda.
Some years ago, the major Opposition political parties talked of fielding one presidential candidate. Many Ugandans and foreign observers thought at the time that unity and possibility of change were possible.
Electorally, many people welcomed the idea of a united front against the NRM under the Runyakitara saying “ageiteraine nigo gata eigufa”. (Teeth which are tightly held together are the ones which crush a hardened bone)
Unfortunately, within a short time of declaring that political alliance, the empty stomachs of those Opposition leaders, rumbled hungrily and forced them to tear asunder their alliance and go in it alone either for the presidency or to the NRM bossom, and crawl under the ruling party’s rich tables to pick leftovers and crumbs.
It can be predicted, therefore, that Besigye, Mao and other Opposition candidates without consulting or seeking the support of the others such as Patrick Oboi Amuriat, Betty Nambooze, Elias Lukwago or Olara Otunnu and their supporters will not win the 2021 presidential election.
Ms Barenzi’s statement that for many Ugandans, Bobi Wine is the chosen one in 2021 should be taken seriously. This is because his is not a political party but a movement that reminds voters that power belongs to them and they can effect change as happened in 1971 with Idi Amin, 1979 with Yusuf Lule, in 1985 with Okello Lutwa, and 1986 with Yoweri Museveni.
Prof Kanyeihamba is a retired Supreme Court judge.