Tuesday , November 24 2020
Home / Cover Story / Bobi Wine fails first election test

Bobi Wine fails first election test

Kyadondo East MP Robert Ssentamu Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine

FALSE START FOR BOBI WINE: Can he pass the next two tests?

Kampala, Uganda | JOSEPH WERE | Since he emerged as the head of the People Power pressure group in 2018, the Kyadondo East MP Robert Ssentamu Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine, has faced one critical test; whether he would convince the leaders of political parties to rally behind him as the sole opposition presidential candidate in 2021.

On July 22 he confirmed he has failed the coalition forming test when he announced instead that he has formed a political party, the National Unity Platform (NUP). According to many analysts, it was also the day People Power’s popular appeal evaporated.

Emerging with a party showed that Bobi Wine has ability to be creative and spring a surprise; something that has so far lacked in the opposition. But his focus on forming a coalition can be seen in the name and symbols of his new party. The name could have been National Unity Party. It was initially, the National Unity Reconciliation and Development Party (NURDP), but Bobi Wine chose “platform”; meaning a unifying vehicle for public discussion. The Umbrella in Ugandan politics is also symbolic of efforts to unite various factions under one roof, a test which Bobi Wine appears to have failed to pass.

The test Bobi Wine faced is not new. Renowned opposition politician Rtd. Col. Dr. Kizza Besigye faced a similar test in the 2001 elections. He was the new kid on the opposition bloc. He was popular and was the de facto head of an amorphous pressure group; the Reform Agenda, formed by people opposed to Museveni’s continuing in power.

Besigye also, like Bobi Wine, needed to convince the leaders of established parties to back him as their coalition presidential candidate. Besigye succeeded.

The established opposition parties; the Uganda Peoples Congress (UPC), the Democratic Party (DP), and the Conservative Party (CP) agreed to support him as their candidate against Museveni. That election saw one of the highest voter turn-outs at 70.3% of registered voters. Only the 1996 election, also driven by a protest against Museveni extending his stay in power, registered a higher turn-out at 72.9%.

Voter turn-out which is a measure of how excited voters are about an election has been low since.  In the last election in 2016, voter turn-out was just 67.6%.

Museveni won that election with just 6 million votes or just 40% of the 15 million registered voters. Up to nine million voters or 60% of registered voters did not vote for Museveni.   About four million voted for the opposition candidates and Besigye got his highest vote tally ever; at 36% of registered voters. The rest of the voters, about five million of them, stayed away.

Coalition versus ambition

Looking at those numbers, political analysts have argued that the opposition has a high chance of defeating Museveni if, one; they field a single coalition candidate, and two; if they mobilise voters to turn-out in large numbers.

According to analysts, Bobi Wine could lose support because of his decision to form a party instead of a coalition with existing parties.The argument is that Ugandan voters opposed to Museveni prefer a single opposition candidate instead of each party fronting a candidate.

The trouble is that the politicians can never agree on who should be their joint candidate.  Also, the idea that Uganda’s opposition, if united in a coalition, would defeat Museveni in a one-on-one race has never been tested. Uganda has never had only two candidates on the presidential election ballot. The opposition had the Inter-Party Forces Coalition (IPFC) in 1996 which backed then-Democratic Party (DP) leader, Paul Kawanga Ssemogerere but the ballot also had Muhammad Kibirige Mayanja of the opposition Justice Forum (JEEMA) Party.  In 2001 there was the Reform Agenda platform which supported Kizza Besigye but the ballot had four other candidates. Attempts to get an opposition joint candidate under the Inter-Party Coalition (IPC) in 2011 and The Democratic Alliance (TDA) in 2016 failed.

Bobi Wine, as the leader of the People Power pressure group  appeared to be on the path to achieving both an opposition coalition and riding on the momentum created to effectively challenge Museveni. But Bobi Wine now, as the head of just another opposition political party, has placed both ambitions in doubt.

Bobi Wine appeared too different but he has become like the rest. He is blinded by personal ambition. He is seeking to lead an opposition party even if that is at the expense of a stronger united opposition to the NRM.

Bobi Wine must now confront the factors that make opposition parties in Uganda weak, including lack of funding, unclear programmes, weak organizational structures; especially at grassroots level, conflict within and with other parties, and oppression by the state. Bobi Wine faces all these challenges, plus the added limitations due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

30 comments

  1. thats the mere truth

  2. First of all, to have a negative test for somebody trying to bring change to Uganda politics is absurd, and a clear show of bias that “The Independent” is after all, not of an “Independent” mind.

    Secondly, “Looking at those numbers [INSERT HERE – of the 2016 Elections], political analysts have argued that the opposition has a high chance of defeating Museveni if, one; they field a single coalition candidate, and two; if they mobilise voters to turn-out in large numbers…..”

    Do you honestly live in Uganda. Do you realize the impediments to political mobilization and public and civic engagement by political parties in Uganda? Why, their internal weaknesses are symbolic of the restrictive environment under which they operate in Museveni’s Uganda? The government is continuously using the militarized police and military to stiffle political opposition, organizing and mobilization throughout the country. Blockades on opposing voices, house arrest and imprisonment are among the factors affecting the growth of multiparty politics in Uganda. Add to that, abuse of the public purse for Museveni and NRM’s political campaigns at the expense of other parties.

    We see the same events playing out in the US, where a leader seeks to disenfranchise the political and electoral process through propaganda. Convincing the public that established government structures don’t work or are fraudulent, the same structures he’s taking advantage of to enrich himself and his interests.

    At some point, Ugandans of influence, age and privilege have to allow the country move forward. We cannot continue with the cult of Museveni, just because “he liberated the citizenry” long before many of us were born!! We cannot contribute to demoralizing budding political leaders to dream big for the greatest service to the nation — Presidential Seat. No! The NRM nor Museveni have no monopoly on leadership. Yes, it has been the longest opportunistic serving national regime, but a lot of it through corrupting the political process. Many national institutions created at the onset of the NRM government are now personal institutions of the President. For we know nations rise and fall, because they are created by humans. We need to give our nation a chance to grow through change of leadership. Not only because we are sick and tired of the leader, but because, leaders have to come and go and allow new leaders a chance to reshape the nation.

    So, while you are already implicitly setting Bobi Wine onto failure, we are proud of him, and all other Ugandans who are offering themselves to be part of our nation’s leadership, our nation’s political process, against all the odds of machinery and beasts of war!

    • thanks @ Doreen Nkwanga

      I hear the Independent. just paid to be stupid.

    • Am proud to read and here abt ur comment,Lwanga,still M7 uses press like The Independent wlc is not independent to confuze Kyagulanyis’ supporters en the public by devaluing him en talking ills over him bt still we are there to support him out of one man rule.

    • Sorry for you ” the so called independent ” if you don’t belong into this country pliz beta shut up. You will also serve the same punishment with museveni.

    • You’re reading your own things because you obviously did not read what I read. Where does the writer endorse Museveni? Where does he take sides? He offers a sober and well-reasoned analysis, using data and events that have happened. Heck, he even goes out of his way to bring in academic studies and external examples. That you think such a neutral piece is against your candidate says a lot more about you, and the qualities of many of your [online] colleagues that have turned many of us against your candidate.

      • Did you even bother to comprehend the first line of my comment? I said clearly, “…to blare negativity per your heading…”

        If you are a reader, and/or writer, you will know that your heading plays a huge part in setting the tone of your writing.

      • Saddened Ugandan

        Thank you, Mulondo. I wanted to say exactly what you said but… those qualities you noted …not limited to unreasonable brash commenting… really do not inspire dialogue, discussion, or even inclusion. It’s quite disappointing to have to walk away from what once seemed like something promising.

  3. First of all, to blare negativity per your heading, for somebody trying to bring about change to Uganda politics is absurd. A clear show of bias that “The Independent” is after all, not of an “Independent” mind.

    Secondly, “Looking at those numbers [INSERT HERE – of the 2016 Elections], political analysts have argued that the opposition has a high chance of defeating Museveni if, one; they field a single coalition candidate, and two; if they mobilise voters to turn-out in large numbers…..”

    Do you honestly live in Uganda? Do you realize that the impediments to political mobilization and public and civic engagement by political parties in Uganda? That their internal weaknesses are symptomatic of the restrictive political environment under which they operate in Museveni’s Uganda? The government is continuously using the militarized police and armed forces to stifle political opposition, organizing, and mobilization throughout the country. Blockades on opposing voices, house arrests, and imprisonment are among the many factors stifling the growth of multiparty politics in Uganda. Add to that, abuse of the public purse by Museveni and NRM’s political campaigns at the expense of other political parties. Where is the level playing field?

    We see the same events playing out in the US, where a leader seeks to disenfranchise the political and electoral process through propaganda. Convincing the electorate that established government structures don’t work or are fraudulent. The same structures he’s taking advantage of to hang onto power, enrich himself and his interests.

    At some point, Ugandans of influence, age, and privilege have to allow the country to move forward. We cannot continue with the cult of Museveni, just because “he liberated the citizenry” long before many Ugandans, who are now of voting age, and parents were born!! As the fourth estate, why would you contribute to demoralizing budding political leaders to dream big for the greatest service to the nation — Presidential Seat? No!

    The NRM nor Museveni have a monopoly on leadership. Yes, it has been the longest opportunistic serving national regime, but a lot of it through corrupting the political process. Many national institutions created at the onset of the NRM government are now personal institutions of the President. For we know nations rise and fall because they are created by humans. We need to give our nation a chance to grow through a change of leadership. Not only because we are sick and tired of the leader, but because, leaders have to come and go and allow new leaders a chance to reshape the nation in their vision.

    So, while you are already implicitly setting Bobi Wine onto failure, we are proud of him, and all other Ugandans who are offering themselves to be part of our nation’s leadership, our nation’s political process, against all the odds of machinery and beasts of war!

  4. Yardstick used is too shallow..and biased..

  5. Mr/nyabo I don’t know if you’re a Ugandan but if you’re then maybe you maybe one of those who is not interested having change basing on what you’ve posted. You may have benefited as person
    in this regime but I want to tell you that a majority have not benefited from it. That is if you watch what goes around the world. When bobi wine comes out public I think you always seen the majority and not minority, okay and that what the ruling regime doesn’t want to see because they have lost popularity because bobi wine has exposed the murderous regime with full of corrupt officials that stretches from the top officials to the bottom officials and another thing is bobi wine hasn’t failed to unite all the opposition parties but all these other opposition parties that have failed to join the NUP are some of the beneficiary to the ruling regime so there is no where you can convince them. These are opposition’s against the ugandans. Don’t know whether you understand what I’m saying but just vote KYAGULANYI ROBERT SENTAMU for president 2021

  6. How “independent” is this independent tabloid! Much as u try to pull down the guy, he has support from who want to see a better Uganda, not this cult we r living in.

  7. In the country i know well Uganda,evry one is looking for change,evn this type of press that is paid to write ills over Kyagulanyi and sending fake news over him,all they believe in his surprises,that he make evry day,currently out of Ug bt pipo at him tell all abt Kyagulanyi and mi see them on YouTube lives +NBS news,so independent wlc is not independent take precautions of ur wrk and not be allowed to be used,thnx

  8. Nakitto Josephine

    You are black mailing Bobi wine .can you please stop this nosense!

  9. Guy wen u think of new issues Kyagulanyi has come with to new Uganda are endlessly describle,plz vote him u will see a lovely Uganda with no dictatorship,corruption,murdering,gun rule,longstay in power,endless poverty,poor health,unemployment, ethnicity,tribalism,to mention bt a few. All such issues military rules and old age can never be an answer and a solution to Uganda.

    FOR POLITICIANS PUT IN FIX EN STUCK
    For all politicians,likes of Tinkasimire,Mbwatekamwa,Gonzaga,segona,Lutamaguzi,kivumbi,Abed,Asumi,and soooo maaaany,all must do the same of the likes of Latif sebagala,Nambeshe,zaake and likes if mayors.Its the purpose why Kyagulanyi is intelligent en wise,if all these fixed politicians for really? Want change let them throw a way the old blankets of their old parties to join NUP,thats why its called National Unity for all people of from political different parties and those without to join.so boss mr writer be observant and analytical in ur data research~nup for all who seek change %%%%#####~NUP#PEOPER POWER IS OUR POWER TO ALL UGNS AT HOME.

  10. Some of Uganda’s Will understand their mistake from da grave when no one is convincing their souls using money.we don’t like dirty internet promo plizz?

  11. At the age between 8&9 years,in our village was a friend of my father who had a small bicycle compared to the normal ones.
    Whenever he visited my father, I could sit on it while leaning on the wall,and within me I was very sure that it was my size when I rotated the pedals all could go round very well!.
    As I could chart with my school mates I referred them to the uncle’s bicycle how small it was and how I could ride it and waaooh, all could admire me! The reality was ” I was riding it while leaning on the wall!” At 10year,my father bought the ordinary bicycle my elder brother helped me to learn while on the road, what I’ll never forget in my life is the experience I went through, the worst one is when my brother left me and I rode in what was called “Mukyenda!” The space in between the bicycle flame. I was riding on well and when I turned my head to look behind he was far behind within a second I was down and my right big toe the whole head was cut off by the pedal. I came home bleeding terribly and my mother instead of feeling sorry for me she just smillled and Aaaahaaa,you’ve now learned to ride! When I got healed I went back to it again until I ended up riding when even the hands are off! Another experience I used to wash my boss’s car while in the garage, he could trust me with the keys to clean inside too, after sometime, I started igniting it when free for it was manual, that time I knew when it was free,the break pedal and started rolling behind very slowly as I pressed and released the break.
    One morning as he came out of his bedroom to go to his office was so surprised to find it outside the garage and well parked!
    He asked who drove it out? I said ” me sir!
    When did you learn driving? I said ” I know sir!”
    And when my age mates were talking about motor driving surely I was not left behind!
    After like 4years I joined the only driving school in Kampala by then ” Kawerimidde!” The experience was different and today am a ” Senior Driver!”
    Am not a politician!

  12. The fact that most People Power/Bobi Wine supporters responding to this article seem to think it is biased against him tells is sad. This is why we cannot have good things in this country: we are blinded, usually, by our sectarianism to aim for the common good.

    • Well, the fact that you call, “pointing out a biased headline and content” sectarianism, is INDEED why we have a problem in Uganda. That even the truth is reduced to mere bias or absurdity 🙁

  13. Bobi wine keep surprising u and u will be surprised the day he be declared as a president of Uganda.

  14. Saddened Ugandan

    Most of the comments here have just confirmed for me that I was sadly mistaken in thinking that voting for Bobi Wine might be something worth considering or even a good thing. I know I’m not alone. Very disappointing, but at least I am no longer mistaken.

  15. Intuitions that are manned by individuals is the reason why they collapse and nrm being m7 just(luck of internal democracy )is what the opposition has fronted for a wipon over the years .sadly the would be liberaters have greedily failed to correct this because evéry one wants to b the face of opposition. This is why a coalition has failed and subsequently still will fail bse some people want to own the struggle a bit more than others.

  16. Good afternoon every one,i have followed all political discussion on this plat form and its very good .But i want Ugandan and so-called opposition and their supporters to know that taking Museveni from power through election will not work and NRM will not leave power now.
    Let me ask these question .Why is it that most opposition/political parties in Uganda now their leaders are the one who help Museveni to take over power from UPC? On another note Bobi wine father or relatives were among the people who were supporting NRM during bush war.In my opinion let not allow people to get into problems for no good reasons because it look as if all opposition parties are part of ruling parties but coming out to confuse Ugandan,Since Museveni took power in 1986 and election begin then i have been voting for NRM only and i do not want any opposition to confuse me .
    Let him rule and if its God who have brought NRM nobody will take them from power.The young opposition will cool down after election and opposition MPs will go back to parliament to get government salaries and allowances as they have been doing before . But stop confusing Ugandan that you are opposition ,since NRM took over power i have not seen any opposition only people forming political parties to get political funding from abroad.Lets only fight Corona

    • Okello, you need to become a scholar of politics. Political alliances change; some dwindle, others are made. You surely cannot expect that a people who supported a movement with a vision at its onset ago will all maintain the same vision 30 years later! In older established electoral democracies, even 3 years is enough to sway people’s opinions about a political leader. In the United States, for instance, some who voted for Obama in 2008 did not vote for him again in 2012. The same is happening now with many who voted for the current US president, even within the Republican party have denounced him and will not vote for him again.

      I know many people, including my own family who welcomed the NRM agenda at its onset, voted NRM for many years but have since switched allegiance out of frustration with the electoral process and national governance. If you cannot see any change to the original intent of the NRM and what it is now, then, I am afraid you are doing yourself a disservice of not being an informed citizen and learned reader of Uganda’s political process. Did you know that at one point, Museveni himself once served in the transitional government post Idi Amin, but he too switched allegiance out of frustration with the political process? It is called, political maturity and political change.

      Perhaps, you need a reading of Uganda’s political history in order to contextualize your argument. Many books have been written by plenty of Ugandans and others.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *