Uganda Goes into a Momentous, Tense and Tight Election as 76-Years old Incumbent President Yoweri Museveni seeks yet another Term Hell-bent to Extend his Regime to a Record 40 Consecutive Years. This time round in the face of a Monumental Challenge from a Bold and Daring 38-Years old Pop Star turned Influential Firebrand Legislator and Activist Robert Kyagulanyi popularly known by his Stage Name Bobi Wine who is leading Ugandans and Ugandan Youth in a “People Power Revolution” to “Remove a Dictator” from Power.
UGANDA-Colonial History and Road to Independence
Uganda-Home to Influential Traditional Kingdoms like Buganda, Bunyoro et al. fell under British Colonialism in 1894.
Uganda National Congress-UNC-formed on March 1952 became the first Nationalist Movement to call for Uganda’s Independence from British Colonialism. Iganatius Musaazi,Abubakar Mayanja,Stephano Abwangoto,Ben Okwerede,Yekosafati Engur and S.B Katembo were the Founding Members of UNC. This was later followed by the Democratic Party-DP- in 1954 formed by Joseph Kasolo,Joseph Kasule,SB Kibuuka,LM Tyaba,M Kiddu and A Ntale. It was later followed by the formation of Uganda People’s Congress-UPC-in 1960 formed by Milton Obote,Grace Ibingira,John Kakonge,Cuthbert Obwangor,Felix Onama and Mathias Ngobi. It was later followed by a Buganda Kingdom Monarchist Party known as -Kabaka Yekka- in 1961.
1958-Uganda regained internal Sel-Rule with an internal Self-Government.
The first National General Elections were held on March 1961-the DP Won a Majority of Seats followed by UPC. Benedicto Kiwanuka who was then the Democratic Party Leader became Uganda’s first Prime Minister. Another General Election was held on April 1962;Obote’s UPC had formed an Alliance with the Kabaka Yekka managed to defeat the DP and Milton Obote became Uganda’s second Prime Minister in the Run-up to Independence.
Uganda regained full Independence on October 1962; Milton Obote and Kabaka Mutesa 2 who was then the King of Buganda formed the first Government in Independent Uganda. Obote remained as the Prime Minister with Kabaka Mutesa 2 becoming Uganda’s first President though the Position was largely Ceremonial.
Kabaka and Obote got into Disagreements leading to a Fallout that saw Obote depose Kabaka on March 1966 to take over his Role as Uganda’s Second President; Kabaka fled to Exile in Britain. A New Constitution that abolished all Kingdoms in Uganda was adopted by Obote’s Regime in 1967. Kabaka Mutesa Died 3 Years later on November 1969 after drinking poisoned Alcohol according to Reports.
Obote ruled until January 1971 when he was Overthrown by his Army Chief General Idi Amin Dada while attending a Commonwealth Conference in Singapore.
General Idi Amin Dada tried to annex Kagera Region on Tanzania in 1978,a Move that marked the beginning of the End of his Regime. President Julius Nyerere of Tanzania responded with a heavy Military Offensive against Idi Amin’s Forces in a War that lasted between October 1978-April 1979 when Tanzanian Forces conquered Amin’s Forces and captured Kampala. Idi Amin fled to Exile in Libya and later Saudi Arabia where he lived until his Death on August 2003.
UNFL-NCC Transition Government formed in Moshi-Tanzania Appointed Yusuf Lule Kironde as Uganda’s New President later on April 1979. President Lule was later impeached by the NCC in a Vote of No Confidence on June 1979-68 Days after his Appointment. The NCC Appointed Godfrey Binaisa as the New President. President Binaisa ruled until May 1980 when the UNFL-NCC Military Council removed him from Power. Paulo Muwanga was installed as the New President in a Military Presidential Commission Junta that ruled until the Elections of December 1980.
Milton Obote’s UPC Party was announced the Winner of December 1980 Elections and Obote returned to Power as President. Yoweri Museveni-current President of Uganda whose Uganda Patriotic Movement won just One seat in the Election denounced the Election and formed a Guerilla Rebel Movement against Obote’s Regime. Museveni’s National Resistance Movement waged a Bush War against Obote’s Regime until July 1985 when Obote’s Army Commander General Tito Okello led a Successful Coup that toppled President Obote out of Power. Obote fled to Kenya.
General Tito Okello’s Junta ruled Uganda for 6 Months until January 1986 when Museveni’s NRM Rebels captured Kampala and toppled General Tito Okello’s Junta. General Tito Okello fled to Kenya and Yoweri Museveni took Power.
UGANDA Under Yoweri Kaguta Museveni
January 29,1986-Museveni took Oath after declared the New President of Uganda by the NRM. President Museveni promised “Democracy and Fundamental Change”. In his inaugural Speech,Museveni said “The People of Africa and the People of Uganda are entitled to Democratic Government.It’s not a Favour from any Government.It’s the Right of the People of Africa and Uganda to have a Democratic Government”. He went on to say that “The Problem of Africa in general and Uganda in particular is not the People but Leaders who want to Overstay in Power”.
President Museveni would later go against his Promise of Democracy by banning all Political Parties after taking Power. A New Constitution was adopted on September 1995 in Preparation for New Elections under Constitutional Order. On May 1996;10 Years after taking Power,Museveni Won the first Presidential Election with 74%. His former Minister Paul Ssemogerere who was his main Challenger came Second with 24%. The Economy of Uganda was by then growing and doing well under Museveni who was still a Favourite of the People being praised as Uganda’s Liberator. The Country had just promulgated a New Constitution marking a new promising Era of Democracy and Stability in Uganda.
In the Elections of March 2001; Colonel Dr.Kizza Besigye-Museveni’s former Comrade in Arms and his Personal Doctor who accused Museveni of betraying their Vision Challenged him in the Presidential Election. Museveni was announced Winner with 69% followed by Besigye with 28%. Col.Besigye disputed the Results at the Supreme Court but his Petition was dismissed. President Museveni promised to step down at the End of his 2 5-Years Constitutional Terms in 2006.
Contrary to his Promise; Museveni brought in a Ploy Referendum on July 2005. In it was an Amendment to lift the near 20 Years Ban on Political Parties and another cunning Amendment that removed the 2 Presidential Terms Limit as spelt out in the 1995 Constitution barely 7 Months to the next Presidential Election.
The Amendment cleared Way for Museveni to Contest the Presidential Elections of 2006,2011 and 2016 where he was announced Winner in all the 3 Elections that were characterized by widespread Irregularities and Violence. Kizza Besigye who was his main Challenger throughout endured arbitrary Assaults,Arrests,Intimidation,Harrasment,Detention and trumped-up Charges. Besigye has been reported as One of the most Arrested and Harassed Opposition Politician in the World. His Petitions against Museveni’s Re-elections have always been dismissed at the Courts.
Fast-forward to December 2017;at the Age of 73 Museveni pulled another Shocker. Through his NRM Majority in Parliament,he removed the Maximum 75-Years Age Limit set by the 1995 Constitution for Anyone seeking the Office of President. This cleared Way for him to seek yet another Term in the January 2021 Presidential Election.
UGANDA-January 14,2021 Presidential Election
For the Umpteenth Time;76-Years old President Yoweri Museveni is a Candidate in this Election Hell-bent to see his Regime reach 40 Consecutive Years in 2026 when the next Elections are set to take place.
His Arch-rival since 2001 Dr.Kizza Besigye has bowed out of this Race. “I have taken a Decision not to particiapate in the oncoming Elections but this does not mean I am giving up the Struggle against Dictatorship and the Fight for our Freedoms that Museveni has taken away from the People.Uganda will not be free by Electoral Commission Officials announcing a New Winner who is not Museveni.I have agreed with my Colleagues that we get Someone to lead Plan A and they leave Plan B for me.Never ever imagine that I can leave the Struggle”-Kizza Besigye said in a Press Briefing on August 2020.
As is; Museveni’s main Challenger this time round is Robert Kyagulanyi alias Bobi Wine. The 36-Years old is a celebrated Music Pop Star turned Firebrand Legislator, Social Justice Activist and Critic to President Museveni’s Autocracy. Through his “People Power-Our Power” Movement;Bobi Wine has been rallying Ugandans and Ugandan Youths demanding for a “Free prosperous and democratic Uganda with an empowered Citizenry and the formation of a People-centered Government that adheres to the Rule of Law while ensuring Dignity and providing Opportunities for all Ugandans”. He has been the Leader of this Movement since 2017 when he was overwhelmingly elected as an Independent Candidate beating the Candidates of NRM, FDC and DP to represent Kyadondo East as the MP.
Just like Besigye; Bobi Wine has gone through and is going through Hell in his Attempt to Unseat Museveni through this Election.Bobi Wine has been arbitrarily Arrested,Assaulted,Harassed,Detained and Charged with trumped-up Charges on several Occasions.Most of his Campaign Rallies and Entourage have been disrupted with Arrests, Assault, Gunfire and Teargas. Most of his Campaign Managers are in Detention Today. Wine says he has survived what he believes were Assasination Attempts 3 Times during his Campaigns.He has since been wearing a Bullet-proof Vest and a Ballistic Helmet during his Campaigns. He recently evacuated his Wife and 4 Children out of Uganda after receiving Intel on planned Kidnap and Harm to his Family.
His August 2018 Ordeal during the hotly contested Arua By-election where he survived Assassination drew International Attention to Uganda; a Police Bullet that he says was aimed at him killed his Driver Yasin Kawuma. Bobi Wine and 5 other MPs who together they were campaigning against NRM Candidate in Arua were Arrested, Assaulted, Detained and Tortured by the Police and Military Police before being charged with Treason at a Military Court. The Beating visited on Bobi Wine weakened him to a point of using Crutches and a Wheelchair before being flown out for 2-Weeks Treatment at a US Hospital. The stoning on one of President Museveni’s official Car in an altercation between Rival Crowds was the Reason behind the Ordeal. President Museveni recently said Bobi Wine’s Assault was “a proper Beating done in the right way and in order”.
Bobi Wine’s arbitrary Arrest and Detention on November 18,2020 sparked Outrage among his Supporters who took to the Streets in Protest. Police and Military Police responded with brutal Beatings and Gunfire in a Violent Clampdown that left 55 People Dead with Dozens injured. Hundreds were arrested and charged.
Bobi Wine;a Candidate of the National Unity Platform-NUP- is campaigning on a Pledge of “People-centered Governance, Equal access to Quality Education,Health Services and Justice, Inclusive Economic Development, Land,Natural Resources and Environmental Development and Protection, National Security and International Relations as well as a Pledge to reverse growing Poverty,Corruption,Food Insecurity,Inequality,Economic and Physical Instability”.
President Museveni on the other hand is campaigning under the Slogan of “Securing your Future”. On January 7,2021 he said “The National Resistance Movement has stood the Test of Time.We have correctly diagnosed Uganda’s Problems and prescribed the correct Solutions.We have resolved many Bottlenecks to Uganda’s Progress and we will continue to do so.It is why we are Days away from Victory”. Earlier on November 27,2020 he said “There is no Opposition in Uganda which I cannot defeat.I don’t see a Group that has a correct Position in the Politics of Uganda Today that can Defeat NRM”.
On January 12,2021-a Day to this Election-President Museveni ordered Uganda Communication Commission to “Immediately Suspend any Access and Use;Direct or Otherwise of all Social Media Platforms and Online Messaging Applications until further Notice”.The Government also ordered a Clampdown on all Virtual Private Networks-VPNs which Internet Users use to access the Internet when Mainstream Internet Connection is blocked.On the Evening of January 13,2021-Hours to this Election-the Government Ordered Total Shutdown of Internet in Uganda.Most of International Election Observer Missions have also been denied Accreditation to Observe this Election. Several International Journalists have also been denied Access to Uganda to Cover this Election.
A Total of 11 Presidential Candidates have been cleared for this Presidential Election.There is only One Woman;Nancy Kalembe.
A total of 18.1 Million Ugandans have been registered to Vote for a President and 527 Members of Parliament across 134 Districts of Uganda. With 80% of Uganda’s Population being under the Age of 35; Nearly 10 Million of the total Registered Voters are under the Age of 35. This is a Generation that has been born and brought up under President Museveni’s Regime.
Uganda-named after the Influential Traditional Kingdom of Buganda that exists To-date is a Landlocked Country in East Africa Home to 46 Million People.
With a GDP of $33 Billion and a GDP Per Capita of $794; Uganda is still classified among the “Least Developed-Low Income Countries”.
In the most recent 2020 UNDP Human Development Index; Uganda is ranked at Position 159 out of 189 Countries in the World.
21.4% of Uganda’s Population or 9 Million Ugandans are still stuck below the Poverty Line each living under $1.90 a Day.
Agriculture is the main Economic Activity and biggest Employer in Uganda. Coffee and Tea are the Main Export Cash Crops; Uganda is the largest Coffee Exporter in Africa and second largest Producer after Ethiopia.
Uganda has Significant Minerals Deposit; the Country has considerable Deposits of Gold,Copper,Cobalt,Nickel,Crude Oil and others that remain largely untapped.
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park, Rwenzori Mountain National Park, Queen Elizabeth National Park, Murchison Falls National Park are some leading Tourist Destinations in Uganda; Bwindi and Rwenzori are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. River Nile which is the longest River in the World originates from part of Lake Victoria in Uganda.
Uganda’s official Language is English which was inherited from its former Colonial Master Britain. Swahili and Luganda are widely spoken and used as National Languages.
In Faith and Religion; 85% of Ugandans are Christians with about 12% being Muslims. Other forms of Faith and Beliefs are also practiced.
Uganda Shilling-UGX is the Country’s Currency.
Kampala-the Capital City is the largest and most populous City with a Population of over 1.5 Million People. Nansana,Kira,Ssabagabo,Gulu,Lira,Mbarara and Jinja are some of the other popular and populous Cities and Towns in Uganda.
Uganda has been battling with a deadly Insurgency from the Lord’s Resistance Army-LRA;a Militancy that broke out in Northern Uganda in rebel against a newly established Government of President Museveni in early 1990’s.The LRA Militancy has since spread to 3 other Countries;DR Congo,Central African Republic and South Sudan.The 4 Countries formed a Joint Force;AU-RTF in 2012 to Combat the LRA Militants.The LRA Warlord Leader Joseph Kony who is One of the World’s most wanted is still at large in unknown Hideout. Fighting between the LRA Militia and Government Forces is reported to be responsible for nearly 200,000 Deaths from the start of the Insurgency To-date; Millions have been displaced and Thousands Abducted.