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NUP’s biggest dilemma


Secondly the support for FDC was not just emotional, as one finds with NUP. There was a strong principle around which to organise a strong opposition movement against Museveni – the growth of corruption and intolerance of the NRM. In fact, NRM, like FDC today, had deliberately failed to manage its internal contradictions and thus chased PAFO members from its ranks who went to form FDC in alliance with Reform Agenda and Karuhanga Chaapa’s party! However, increasingly FDC did not learn this lesson. It began to seek internal conformity with the wishes of Besigye, which led it to purge anyone who held some independent thinking.

Today FDC is in a crisis. Across the country it has lost most of its initial leaders without gaining new ones. Its strongest base was the north but today it has a “northern problem” as its leading pillars in that region have quit it and either joined NRM (Anywar, Among) or are now running as independents (Latigo, Okumu, Otto). In fact FDC finds itself with exactly the same problem NRM faced in 2005 – failure to manage similar internal contradictions. Its response has been to purge dissenters leading to these desertions.

With FDC fracturing, one would have imagined that the emerging vacuum would be filled by NUP. But NUP has accentuated this vacuum because it has raised great emotional expectations, which it cannot meet because it is incapable of building an organisational infrastructure to support its strong brand appeal. Bobi Wine’s background as a musician and the people he has surrounded himself with both show that he is unlikely to build an effective organisation! How you build a fan base as a musician is totally different from how you build a voter base in politics! A musician’s music fans are not necessarily his voters.

For instance, if Bobi Wine goes to Jinja, his celebrity status may bring many fans to his rally but they would not necessarily be his voters. Even Bad Black, if she went to Jinja, she can excite people to come to her rally but they would not necessarily be people who can vote her for president or MP. In fact Bobi Wine and his supporters need to think seriously about whether Ugandans see him as a viable presidential candidate, even though they love him as a person.

Besides, the key leaders of NUP lack both the political strength and the experience to build effective political machinery to deliver the vote, which FDC founders had in plenty. For many years, the opposition has failed to marshal a majority in elections – not because of lack of popular support – but because of lack of effective organisational infrastructure. This is also the reason our political parties fail to raise money for their operations. NRM’s organisational strength is rooted in its control of the state. That is what makes it successful.

UPC and DP were strong because they were rooted in the Anglican and Catholic Church respectively. This gave them a readymade national organisational infrastructure backed by a large cadreship of priests. Today, opposition support is strongest among urban populations. However, Uganda is a very rural economy with small urban areas. They are too small to provide an urban based opposition movement like we saw in Cairo or Khartoum. Therefore a strategy of popular uprising that Besigye prefers has little chances of success against an entrenched system like they of NRM.



  1. Then why did you join a failing camp, I thought you had weighed all options and zeroed on NUP!! MOLE but if you think they don’t know they know!

  2. Did you write the article before joining people NUP? As a member who is even vying to be the president of the party, these are things which I believe you should raise internally not in the press.

  3. An Enthusiastic People Power supporter

    The irony of a person( Mwenda) convinced that People Power/NUP are supposedly a bunch of political amateurs lacking in leadership & organization abilities with little to no chances of taking state power yet spends a good portion of his time obssesing about the very people he has contempt for and & never misses an opportunity to be condescending/ patronizing towards, is amusing and so is the know-all attitude

    Your choice of comparison of People Power / NUP vs Reform Agenda/FDC in recruiting the initial membership/ leadership misses the point.
    This is evidenced by the glaring failure of those supposed topnotch recruits of FDC to build an organization capable of taking power as lamented repeatedly by General Mugisha & should have been a wake up call to those who confuse having university education with intellect/ organization abilities.

    The current People power /NUP should more accurately be compared to 1981 NRM/NRA, a motley collection of naive university graduates, failed Marxist politicians, aggrieved peasants,refugees etc almost all lacking any miltary training but never the less took up arms against a Uganda govt trained & supported by North Koreans, the British etc & captured power after a 5 year war. Any skills/ competencies initially lacking by the NRA/NRM membership/ leadership were gradually built during the war as the circumstances dictated.

    People power/NUP leadership/ membership like the 1981-86 NRM/NRA, is also an evolving organization that is responding to its environment & is building the necessary capacity to capture & retain power.

  4. Andrew, now that you’re a registered member of NUP, you should show devotion to your new party by giving this sound advice to the party organs. You don’t have the luxury to criticise the party you intend to lead, through the media; you are now washing your dirty linen in public.

  5. Saddened Ugandan

    Wama Andrew just keep writing about these things. We have never seen this kind of transparency anywhere, yet it is much needed and it is what Ugandans deserve, and it is even good way of setting NUP apart from the rest. Documenting the growth and development of NUP like this can attract longer lasting support and loyalty. This is how NUP is going to locate itself in the challenging political landscape and take center stage, through transparency and honesty. It inspires trust, especially long term. Please keep writing.

  6. To water down all that has been stated by my friend Mwenda (I refer to him as “friend” because he as at least had the guts to associate with people power), NRM is not politically entrenched. No, it’s state patronage, corruption that fuels/refuels the burn. Kyangulanyi has been my FDC and NRM even when they are structurally and experiencially superior not once but in most of the by-elections. What needs to be done is to replicate the same onto the national stage. What Mwenda is expressing here is largely emotional and therefore, hogwash.

  7. has beaten my FDC

  8. Mr. Mwenda, how many MPs did your god Museveni take to the bush when he was starting the rebellion? Ugandans know what they want and are not going to rely on a group of thugs called MPS

  9. 1.The current political trend in Uganda has really marketed M7 because the world now knows the consequence of electing a certain caliber of leaders;Brazil and USA will live to regret the decision they made.
    2.Does Africa have time for try and error in politics?Havent we learnt enough?
    3.If the first world has witnessed the consequence of electing clowns to lead them how about Africa?
    4.It would be nice if M7 told us that the challenges he faces as a President.
    5.Uganda’s politics has been shaped by the army;How sure are we that if Bobi Wine is elected President; he will earn the respect from the army?
    6.Its normal for a 4 year old child to get excited when he sees a birth day cake;it would be abnormal if a 25 year did the same;I beleive that ITS SOME KIND OF ABNORMALITY FOR BOBI WINE TO VIE FOR PRESIDENT
    7.There are some many olds in society today;What should be abnormal is the new normal today;For example a 20 year old lady gets married to a 85 year Old man you wonder whether she will be a wife of a bedside nurse;Good men are marrying women who have been “Public Sockets”,Good women are being married by drunkards.
    8.But Andrew;Who still believes in Cecelia Ogwal…,Betty Kamaya…?Those who are 45 years and below don’t understand such stuff mbu voting as a Tribal block and on Religious basis that stuff ended long ago.Todays’s role models are Rihanas;Beyonce,Kim Karadashains.
    9.This generation relies on chance and luck.
    10.M7 will always win every election he participates in;How will the world react to the news that Bobi Wine has defeated M7?

  10. Andrew you have an unnatural fixation and obsession with NUP: you just cannot say anything nice about them!!. I suspect it stems from deep seated envy that these young guys are able to do what you have secretly aspired to but do not have the grit and guts to take on the brutal regime of M7. Like all pseudo intellectuals you have resorted to writing and and criticizing Besigye for the past 15 years and now Bobi. Remember that Obote ( an intellectual you admire) when advised by his military commanders to deal a fatal blow on M7 rebels dismissed them as mere bandits and chicken thieves; the rest is history. I am sure if you were old enough at that time you would have been criticizing Museveni.

  11. By the way Mr M9 have you returned your application forms which you picked the other time after being registered as an NUP member, in which you expressed your interest to stand for both party president & presidential candidate in the forthcoming party delegates conference?
    If you have, have you realized that even before the first vote is cast you’ve scored far less than 10% of hon Kyagulanyi’s votes? Why? Coz you’re so angry & venomous against the party you so passionately want to superintend over! Your beneath ambition of whatever nature in NUP (read people power) is hereby declared “dead on arrival”!!!

  12. In other words, Andrew Mwenda is saying that: his brand new party, NUP is actually a “Baganda Yekka” party; akin Kabaka Yekka party at independence.

  13. Wycliffee Atwine Muhangi

    This is exactly what is transpiring in NUP. We have been in primary elections, but sincerely NUP has had their primaries limited to a few big towns. Else where NUP is not known to exist and they think they will earn alien votes. Hahaaaa!! See you in 2021 guys.

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