Journalist and analyst Andrew Mujuni Mwenda has in recent weeks sought to portray National Unity Platform (NUP) presidential candidate Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine as a strong opponent of incumbent Yoweri Kaguta Tibuhaburwa Museveni.
Mwenda claimed Museveni had underrated Bobi Wine, who he believes has strong support on social media.
Days later, he argued that Museveni’s campaign team was clueless on how to handle Bobi Wine, and that they were using old methods to deal with a new threat.
“The previous candidates against Museveni came from the old political order (Paul Ssemogerere, Sebana Kizito) or from Museveni’s own camp (Kizza Besigye),” observed Mwenda.
“NRM knew how to handle them. But they are clueless on how to handle Bobi Wine. So the people in charge of the system are using old ways to cope with an entirely new phenomenon.”
Then Mwenda hinted on why he thinks Museveni’s ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) has failed to counter Bobi Wine.
It all has to do with the money pumped in the elections – who gets it and how.
“I meet young people with such passion for NRM and Museveni. But they are ignored or side lined because the core has been captured by self-seeking elites looking for the next big job or deal,” claimed Mwenda.
“Museveni can pour billions at this problem but cash cannot replace ideology as a basis for generating mass enthusiasm. Siasa needs a faith.”
Mwenda’s praise of Bobi Wine is being greeted with suspicion from across the political divide.
It should be remembered that although the Independent Magazine owner largely considers himself as not affiliated to any political party, he months ago registered as an NUP member.
Now, according to NUP’s enthusiast and lawyer Marvin Saasi, “what influences the political opinions of people like Andrew M. Mwenda is not necessarily the leadership content of a prospective President such as Bobi Wine, but rather the uncertainty of whether they will be able to scavenge off the successor government the same way they’ve been scavenging off Museveni’s Government – and by extension, public funds.”
“Mwenda knows that an end to Museveni’s government most likely spells doom for his ‘business’ empire, including throwing off balance the Museveni-Kagame industry off which he appears to have been making a killing as a double-agent of sorts. If it’s still on balance, anyway,” argued Saasi.
“Accordingly, in their malicious quest to paint Kyagulanyi as unfit for the Presidency, Mwenda and his ilk may never publicly admit that if Museveni ‘transformed’ from a bloodletting bandit to a ‘Statesman’ (did he?), Kyagulanyi is capable of an even greater transformation from whatever shortcomings they imagine in him.”
Even some sworn NRM mobilizers like Duncan Abigaba, a former Museveni assistant who also served as the deputy head at Government Citizen Interaction Centre.
Abigaba accuses Mwenda of thinking Museveni’s social media team can only deliver if he is its head.
He has also taken a swipe at the journalist for being dishonest.
“Andrew Mwenda continues to use Bobi Wine as a bargaining chip to get to the heart of the NRM campaign. The assumption that NRM’s social media strategy can be only be effective if he is in charge is a big fallacy. The ship sails, always,” claims Abigaba.
“About self-seeking cadres, jobs and deals, no comment about Mwenda. Nobody has chased deals and executive jobs like Mwenda in this town.”