In a shock announcement, two most powerful parties currently in Uganda’s political arena may have settled on new entrant to be the flag bearer in the January 2021 presidential polls.
Opposition lawmaker Betty Nambooze, also the spokesperson of the so call People’s Government led by Col Kizza Besigye, says an agenda has been drawn for National Unity Party leader Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine to lead for 10 years and hand over power.
The People’s Government is not a party. It is a joint platform formed by Besigye’s Forum for Democratic Party (FDC) with other politicians, following the 2016 elections. Besigye accused incumbent President Yoweri Museveni of “stealing” his victory, and went on to form that platform, but it failed to grab power.
As for the NUP, it was born last month, as a political party of the “People Power” pressure group championed by Kyagulanyi, a singer popularly known as Bobi Wine.
As the country braces for an election in the wake of the COVID-19 global pandemic, the political opposition has like for all previous polls, been grappling with how to come up with a single candidate to battle Museveni. Previous attempts have failed.
However, Besigye, who has contested in every poll since 2001, is coming under intense pressure not put his name on the ballot. Besigye’s “People’s Government” and Bobi Wine’s “People People” have already been in secret talks, and have met publicly to announce the cooperation.
The lawmaker Nambooze told a Ugandan newspaper Sunday Monitor: “There is a drawn agenda that Kyagulanyi (Bobi Wine) will lead for 10 years and leave the mantle for another person – if all things go as planned.”
“But we know what to feed the media with and what not to.”
She added: “If in an unlikely event that happens and I see Besigye and Bobi Wine on the same ballot, that will be another matter. But as far as I am concerned, there are no signs that Dr Besigye will stand in the next election.”
The outspoken lawmaker also likened her political journey to Rwanda, moving from from one party to another. She was originally from the Democratic Party (DP), the country’s oldest party, but then moved to Besigye’s side. Now, from the interview, she is also planning to cross to another party.
“It is easy for me to go back to DP. I am just going into exile. By the time [Rwanda Patriotic Front/Army leader] Fred Rwigyema died and they asked Paul Kagame to go and lead Rwanda, the latter had been sent to America for a course as a soldier of Uganda. Today he is the president of Rwanda.”
“They never forgot that they were Rwandans and their final battle was not in Kampala, but in Kigali. I would have joined any political party, but when I met Kyagulanyi, I asked him, ‘are you ready to take on refugees?’ You will know his answer next week.”
For years, Besigye has been accused in Uganda but without evidence, of being backed by Rwanda. Last year in September, at the height of the ongoing Rwanda-Uganda fallout, a Ugandan government daily New Vision reported the Besigye held secret meeting with President Kagame.
In Rwanda, the report was dismissed as untrue and deliberately planted by Uganda’s intelligence.
The surprise announcement by lawmaker Nambooze on choice of Bobi Wine is going to cause a stir in Uganda if true. It also comes after a controversial opinion poll last week showed Bobi Wine had 22% voters, President Museveni 46%, as Besigye and other candidates trailed far behind.
Though the opposition quickly dismissed the poll as instigated by the governing regime, it is the first time Museveni is not getting a 50 plus 1 percentage, which a candidate needs to be president.