By Independent Team
Muntu leads Nandala, but many delegates still undecided
Former Army Commander, Gen. Mugisha Muntu holds a slight lead in the race for the presidency of Uganda’s biggest opposition party, the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC), according to a pulse-check poll done by The Independent early this month.
But a large number of the 876 delegates expected to vote in November remain undecided, especially in western Uganda.
On Oct.10, The Independent team called randomly selected numbers of 400 delegates from Electoral College that elected FDC flag bearers in 2011 and are most likely to be involved in the November vote in which Muntu is contesting alongside, Leader of Opposition in Parliament Nandala Mafabi and Shadow Finance Minister Geofrey Ekanya. The elections are slated for November 22.
According to The Independent’s information, the FDC Electoral team is in the process of updating the Delegates voter roll but the 2011 Electoral College list is their most up to date working document.
Of the 400 numbers called, The Independent team managed to speak to 270 or 68% of those targeted because they are expected delegates. The list comprised respondents from eastern, western, eastern, and northern including Moroto.
Of these about 90 either refused to comment, said their vote was secret, they had shifted allegiance to other parties, or that they were busy.
Of the 180 who gave their views, 37.6 percent said they would vote for Muntu, 29.2% said they would vote for Nandala and 4.4% for Ekanya. Significantly, however, a large number – 28.6%, said they were still undecided.
Although 70 of the expected 140 delegates in western Uganda were contacted by The Independent team, 20% of them said they were undecided, and 30% refused to say who they would vote for.
Many of the expected delegates said it will be unfair for them to comment before they have heard from other presidential candidates, especially Nandala Mafabi, who had not yet campaigned in their districts at the time of the poll.
“Wait till when he meets all the delegates in all districts, since for us in FDC we vote for issues,” one delegates said.
However, a significant number of former FDC delegates also told The Independent that they had since quit the party.
Among those who gave their vote in western Uganda, 40% said they were undecided, 26.6 % said they would vote for Muntu, 10% for Nandala, and 3.3% for Ekanya. Another 20% said they had quit the party since the last election.
Out of the 120 delegates called in northern Uganda and Moroto, 50 were unavailable. Of the 70 respondents polled, nine had no comment, five said their vote is confidential, three said they were busy, 14 were still undecided and two have defected from the party, one is now an independent.
Only two of the candidates had campaigned in their area at the time of the poll and some delegates said they were waiting for the third candidate to campaign there in order to make an informed decision.
Of the 56 delegates who disclosed their candidate, 26 (46%) said they would vote Gen. Mugisha Muntu, 15 (28%) said they would vote Nandala and Ekanya had one vote or 2%. But a significant, 14 (25%) delegates said they were still undecided.
Out of the 76 delegates called in central region, Muntu polled 16, Nandala Mafabi polled 13, and Geoffrey Ekanya got two, while seven delegates were undecided and 20 delegates refused to comment. The remaining 18 delegates were not reachable.
Meanwhile, the eastern region FDC delegates appeared to be in highest spirits as they wait for the day of election to vote for their new Presidential candidate to represent them in the 2016 Presidential race.
Out of the 76 delegates 42 delegates polled by the Independent, nine delegates were undecided, 14 delegates said it was their vote was a `personal secret’, 10 refused to comment on the question and the 1 had switched to another party.
Out of the 42 delegates, 21 said they would vote for Nathan Nandala Mafabi, 17 delegates said they were to vote the ‘general’ Mugisha Muntu and four said they would vote for Geoffrey Ekanya. The Independent contacted 126 delegates but of those 50 delegates were not available.
As most delegates mentioned to The Independent, this poll was done quite early into the race and it remained unclear who will win the race because the candidates were still campaigning and had not reached some of the delegates polled.
The Independent’s poll is the latest in a series done and published so far about the FDC race.
In early September the Daily monitor released a poll it conducted between Aug.10 and 25 among FDC supporters. The poll showed that most of the respondents favoured Muntu to be the next FDC president.
According to The Daily Monitor, Muntu had national support of 32.3%, followed by Nandala with 20.9% and Ekanya at 10%. Significantly, the Daily Monitor poll also indicated a whopping 32.8% of the delegates were undecided. The figure for the undecided was higher than that for any of the candidates.
The Daily Monitor poll had Muntu beating Nandala in all the regions except the east where Nandala hails from. In central Uganda, Gen. Muntu polled 49%, Nandala 18%, Ekanya 1.8% while undecided delegates stood at 30.1%. In the north, Gen. Muntu had 41.1%, Nandala 11.8%, Ekanya 20.6% and the undecided were at 26.5%. In the west Muntu had 39%; Nandala 14% and Ekanya 10%.
The first poll was conducted by Research World International, a private research firm, between August 23 and 29 and released early into the race on Aug.31. Like The Independent poll, the RWI poll was conducted by telephonic interview method. It gave Muntu 46.9% support among delegates, Nandala 10% for Nandala, and 0.6% for Ekanya. The RWI poll reached 335 of the party’s 800 delegates across the country.
Meanwhile, The Independent has learned the Research World International has conducted another poll commissioned by the Muntu campaign team in the early weeks of October. In the poll, 400 delegates were contacted based on the more recently modified Delegates lists.
The RWI Director, Patrick Wakida refused to comment on this poll. However, some commentators privy to it say it gave Muntu between 52-56% of the vote, Nandala 21-24% and the undecided had dropped from 31% to 21%.
Not unexpectedly, the polls have been criticized by Muntu’s opponents. But Muntu has also reacted with caution.
When The Independent sought to put him on the spot over his opponents claim that a poll by Research World International (RWI) could not be credible because it is headed by his friend, Patrick Wakida, Muntu remained noncommittal.
“I don’t want to dwell so much on the source of those who conducted the poll survey that put me on the lead,” he said,” but when I look at the methodology that they used, it makes me content regardless of who carried the poll surveys. I don’t have to look at who carried those polls, but even then, if they are disputing those results, some national newspaper in the city also did a similar survey. Why didn’t they refute their findings because they were very close? Why didn’t they question that newspaper as well? To me, looking at the people who conducted the survey is missing a point.
The Independent Poll
The Unknown Vote