Ofwono Opondo - Government Spokesperson. Photo/Courtesy

Uganda’s general elections are still two years away, but signs show contenders elbowing to have a foot ahead of potential rivals especially at the presidential and parliamentary levels where contests are usually stiff and brutal, but hopefully this time not. President Yoweri Tibuhaburwa Kaguta Museveni previously YKM, the man not to be under-estimated, and NRM’s presumptive candidate is leaving many including within to guess whether he is retiring after forty years at the helm or willing to stretch his record. 

Many, yours truly inclusive, think that he stretches and will campaign to that effect, and could be a little disappointed if Museveni declines. Nevertheless, ready to pick a viable alternative when the time comes next year. NRM although still the party to beat, with 38-year baggage of malfeasances, feeble tackle on runaway corruption at its top echelons, lackluster public service delivery, inertia in political engagement especially with young people, educated and corporate elites could find itself in abyss. The styled NRM Cadres’ meeting at Kati Kati restaurant this week urging NRM CEC into action,  s new dimensions to the jinx.   

The previous main contender, Kizza Besigye Kifefe, looks more of an old male buffalo ejected from the kraal by a younger energetic rowdy bull in Robert Kyagulanyi a.k.a. Bobi Wine of the People Power renamed National Unity Platform who in the 2021 elections inherited his treadmill and scored heftily. FDC and Alliance for National Transformation are saddled with Patrick Oboi Amuriat and Mugisha Muntu, two uninspiring leaders still struggling to connect with voters and seem to have no new skills both in demeanor and policy to enable them progress in the near future. Amuriat and Muntu are being written off as contenders with no realistic possibilities. So, NUP of money conmen, FDC, ANT, DP and UPC, regardless their tantrums are factions racing for who delivers the least. 

Norbert Mao of what remains of the Democratic Party, and Jimmy Akena of the withering Uganda Peoples’ Congress (UPC) are two of a feather whose candles at the national level seem extinguished already, unless of course in the unlikely event that miracles happen. This leads me to the touted MK Movement of Muhoozi Kainerugaba, rebranded Patriotic League Uganda, who though still a serving UPDF military General, in his previous political sketches on X platform came across as petulant, arrogant and either unable or uncomfortable talking to the public and media. Many see him as a kitchen-knife child with a sense of entitlement, worsened by his abrasive and insolent political surrogates who like NUP supporters on social media don’t show restraint against those they disagree with. But if Muhoozi wanted the presidency of a silver platter, he needn’t go through the tedious death-threatening military career. He could have just hanged around the NRM power corridor to enter parliament probably an easier route to be home and dry in the presidency. Many of the surrogates currently around him might not have ever even crossed the national boundaries doing political election campaigns but could be schemers who need schooling in good politics of mutual respect and open constructive criticism especially when dealing with possible allies within NRM. From our past disagreements with leaders like Bidandi Ssali, Eriya Kategaya (RIP) or Amama Mbabazi, there is little gain hauling insults at Kahinda Otafire as currently being although he too needs to tame his tongue.

But well Uganda’s vibrant political terrain including its elections have increasingly shown that they are not a sweetheart island, and in the era of deep-seated decay, aggressive media, and social media that drives vulgar ethos with bare knuckles, whoever chooses to plunge in ought to be ready for the tumbles, and they should not cry in mother-tongue when the debris come falling.

Written by; Ofwono Opondo - Government Spokesperson and ED Uganda Media Centre