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A preliminary peep at 2021

The things opposition parties should ignore and those they need to focus on to have a chance in 2021

THE LAST WORD | ANDREW M. MWENDA | The opinion poll by Research World International (RWI) found Kyadondo East Member of Parliament (MP) Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine (at 22%) far ahead of long-standing opposition leader, Dr. Kizza Besigye (at 13%). President Yoweri Museveni led the pack with 32%, but far below the 50% plus one he needs to win a first round. While this may be great for Bobi Wine, it has potential to be a risk to the opposition chances of beating Museveni in 2021. I will return to this subject towards the end of this article.

I am frustrated that opposition activists consistently spend most of their time complaining about how unfair the electoral process is. They have devoted most if their efforts in pushing for electoral reforms and changing of the composition of the Electoral Commission (EC). Indeed, in the opinion poll, 88% of opposition supporters said they do not trust the EC, while 45% of all respondents agreed with them, 43% trust the EC.

I think focusing on the EC is misguided and hides the real challenge of the opposition.

This article is, therefore, a dialogue with the opposition leaders and activists on how they can do better. It is advice they hate but which they need.

It makes little sense to expend your energies on a struggle – like disbanding the EC and changing the electoral laws – you have little chance of winning. The NRM has an overwhelming majority in parliament to block any serious electoral reform legislation. Museveni is not going to change the EC if that creates risks for him to lose power. It makes little sense to fight over what you have no control over.

The opposition should devote most of their effort on things that are under their direct control. They need to recognise that it is difficult, if not impossible, for the NRM to steal elections at the EC tallying center.

Most (if not all) of the rigging happens at the polling station and is largely through stuffing ballot boxes. This happens where the opposition has little or no presence during the balloting and counting of votes, itself a sign of opposition numerical weakness.

Yet I also think rigging is the least of the problems facing the opposition in Uganda; the real challenge is voter turnout; a factor that needs high levels of organisation to overcome.

But let us deal with vote rigging first: to monitor polling effectively, the opposition has to ensure it has polling agents at every polling station.

NRM can thwart this by either planting operatives as opposition polling agents or buyoff opposition agents to become complicit in the rigging on polling day.

To neutralize this threat, the opposition needs to have at least 20 polling agents at every polling station. This requires high level of organisational capacity which the opposition needs to build.


  1. ejakait engoraton

    “An FDC insider admitted confidentially that they didn’t have agents or effective representation in 19,000 polling stations – i.e. they had no ability to control their vote in 67 per cent of the polling stations. However, NRM – while it had candidates everywhere – didn’t have agents and effective presence in all polling stations either. Some estimates say it was essentially absent in between 5,000 to 7,500 polling stations.”

    As quoted by OO

    As Friends in FDC told me that in the 2016 presidential elections, they had polling agents in barely 7,000 of the 28,010 polling stations i.e. 25%. .

    As quoted by AM

  2. ejakait engoraton

    “What happens, though, is that the election and government officials, and security agents, at these polling stations then function as agents for President Museveni, first, and as a by the way, for NRM. I have spoken to several foreign election observers in the 2016 election, who told me of several instances where the vote was tilted for Museveni and the NRM parliamentary candidate, without its agent in sight.
    In a fair electoral contest, NRM and FDC would battle to a goalless draw. It is the State that does it for NRM and Museveni. And that is where the power is.

    The NRM as a party will be accommodating. The State won’t. Towards 2021, we will likely see a more visible iron fist, as the NRM continues to wither and the things with which governments pacify citizens – groceries and social services – stop to have effect.”

    And there again is the wisdom of OO , yet again in the same article in the MONITOR of May 1.

    So whatever AM may say and trying to put the blame in ton the lazy OPPOSITION, he is being the devils advocate.

    As OO says, the agents act first on behalf of M7 and then sometimes as an afterthought for the NRM/ candidate, and sometimes not at all for the NRM. The reason you find different levels of “stuffing” for the president and the parliamentary candidate bringing about disparities in the vote tallying.

    SO under the current arrangement and system, there is nothing much that the opposition can do.

    • Ejakait, to hell with elections because elections means rigging. So what is important is for the old guard to peacefully go away and let young blood take over. If they so wish let them go to their original constituencies and seek parliamentary slots.
      If they cannot relinquish power peacefully, then Sudan showed them the example. The press in Uganda is sufficiently professional to record evidence which will be used in prosecuting police and soldiers who will do human rights violations to be prosecuted later after their sender falls or is in Luzira himself.
      I am reliably informed there is a private law firm which has more than enough evidence (kept in the cloud) to put the visionary on defence for a long time
      This cannot go on otherwise Uganda risks ending like Afghanistan, Yemen or some other wild country if this goes.
      When an organism decays,maggots and other eaters of the dead and dying crop up. Count Ejakait.
      1. What with ISIS infiltration and setting up a fully functional base in the backyard in Beni
      2. Bhang growing (legal) mbu for export medicinal.
      3. Betting which has been a crime since creation but is now licenced
      3. Slave trade [labour export to Arabia]… will say they go intentionally but it is because of abject poverty(you know who caused it) because it is recent.
      4. Don’t be surprised if an organs market is set up lying that the dead gave their parts in their testaments while it is the government (police,ISO, CMI) selling disappeareds’s organs. Rogue surgeons from India will set up shops and mayhem will be the order of the day…. kidnappings will rise followed by a bodyguard business which will be called job creation.
      5. When corruption is tolerated as the status quo , anything can happen.
      6. It is an abomination to hear Ugandans (whose produce used to rot because production was far above consumption) sleep hungry. All things(including NRM) age and deteriorate.
      7. Muzeveni should do Ugandans a favour and go home because removing him(which is inevitable) will be costly.
      8.The army he trusts knows which part of their bread is buttered…..should they make an error to kill civilians during insurrection, they know they will be disbanded or find themselves guerrilas being hunted by a new army and ICC.
      9.The UPDF is civilised enough to know the fate of armies that murder citizens on orders and on behalf of old dictators. Don’t they know how the interests of a septuagenarian and a still-single man differ? He sends you to go kill people and the next thing you know you are in Luzira, exile or running in the jungles of cursed Congo. who knows with the modern drones’ technology whether they will survive even months?
      10. An expeditionary force 200 strong sent to infiltrate Nyungwe (Rwanda) by(I would rather not say) was killed in less than 1 week (spotted by drones) by Kagame special forces and the survivors reached Burundi so wretched no hospital or doctor wanted to go near them for fear or being infected by a deadly disease because they had eaten primates as they ran restlessly for days and nights.

  3. ireta Omulusuula

    Am still waitiung for Rwsaubutare here for this artical…

    • Omulusuula, even the best dancer leaves the floor. It is indignifying to evict Ugandans from their ancestral land mbu a landowner has papers signed somewhere saying that land is his.
      When you evict a person from his ancestral land, you are breaking all laws of God and man. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights(on which all laws should be based) guarantees a home for all creatures who are not pests. This regime is time-barred because (i) it cannot protect property (evictions) (ii) it cannot protect life (count people who were killed and the government kept quiet) (iii) it impoverishes people ( school drop-outs, educated-unemployeds, forbidden-to-work self-employeds, etc…) (iv) evicts citizens and gives land to foreigners (investors) (v) incurs impayable debts making posterity slaves (imagine a child born indebted monies he must pay yet he never ate it) (vi) spending national wealth on expensive useless liabilities (what are Sukhois for? how much does it cost to service? will it ever defend Uganda? why were they bought?) (vi)detested government (everyone wants to steal, damage or criticise this government (even those it employs and pays salaries steal from it) SO IT SHOULD RESIGN LIKE MALI recently and pave way for a popular one that will have people’s goodwill.

  4. ejakait engoraton

    “Ejakait, to hell with elections because elections means rigging. So what is important is for the old guard to peacefully go away and let young blood take over”

    Old man RWASUBUTARE, exactly my point.

    Elections in Uganda are pointless, at least in as far as who will end up at state house. Ours is a well disguised military regime, a one man rule dictatorship (me thinks LUCIFER incarnate) and elections are just a fanfare in which one is trying to relive his humiliating defeat in 1980, convincing himself that he can win an election.

    They are just meant to play to the international gallery and to try and whitewash and otherwise try to legitimise an otherwise illegitimate regime.

    And here is MWENDA, trying to tell a terminally ill AIDS or CANCER patient that the reason they are in the state they are in is because they have not been compliant with their treatment of ASPIRIN.

    • What makes all resistance an exercise in futility is that approximately 32 million Ugandans don’t know any other Uganda except the war-battered one.
      To try (no matter how hard) to tell them that PLE leavers were employed in Post Office and Banks and earned real salaries that supported families,that Mulago and all other up-country hospitals treated and fed patients (regardless of identity or income), that all Obote and Amin’s children were delivered in Mulago and had their education alongside other Ugandans depending on pass-mark attained, that the train moved unerringly like clock-work Mombasa to Kasese and Tororo to Pakwach, that UTC (Uganda Transport Company ferried people and their luggage countrywide without a hitch day and night, that any farmer who wanted could get a loan from his cooperative society and pay after every harvest such that the burden was never felt, that it was near impossible to sell stolen property because of vigilance,that every adult was a member of a cooperative society and had a filed card,that Karimojong who accepted to go to school were given everything free(tuition,pocket money,uniforms,transport etc…) but are now beggars,that your tribe was only identity like a name but only merit was considered,that Uganda was unbelievably respectable internationally,that you could buy a watch in Kampala street vendor for 25 shs and sell it in Nairobi at 40 shs, that NYTIL Jinja made the best fabrics (khakhi mercerised) , that it was near impossible to see a soldier in uniform unless their vehicle was passing by, that the Uganda Police was so smart that they were so efficient that their presence alone was deterrent enough for mischief makers, that is was inconceivable and unheard of for a judge to eat a bribe,that easterners(indians,arabs,turks etc…) are the ones who came to pack-ass (kupakasa) in Uganda and not the other way round……. THEN TELL THEM WHAT HAPPENED,WHEN AND BY WHO IT WAS REVERSED IS SO DIFFICULT A TASK IT NEEDS TOTAL OVERHAUL.
      It is a fact that 32million Ugandans believe Uganda has always been like it is (miserable living and unescapable debts) that is why it is highly unlikely that they can rise and demand that a capable person(s) take over the leadership.

  5. kambere godfrey

    This article sounds like the late Dr Obote being interviewed by hostile journalists like AM of Monitor Radio or Robin White of BBC. he often said’ my party won an absolute majority in parliament’ . Quickly my mind raced to recent pictures on BBC tv of what became of Cuba under the Revolution of Fidel Castro.True the Luwero debacle might have sounded like a revolution to our young impressionable ears but the fact clear for all to see is that the politics in Uganda is not worthy a minute of any sane minded persons time! Ofcourse NRM will get an absolute majority in parliament. And democracy will be re defined. The only sure thing is that the TAXES WILL INCREASE AND GET EMBEZZLED.

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