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UNDERESTIMATED? Why Amuriat could shock Museveni, Bobi Wine – despite ‘media injustice’

When veteran opposition leader Dr Kizza Besigye recently claimed the media had deliberately refused to adequately cover some presidential candidates, he might have had his protégé Patrick Oboi Amuriat (POA) of main opposition Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) in mind.

Besigye compared the press injustice with police brutality.

Media injustice against some presidential candidates competes well with Police injustice against the same candidates,” complained Besigye on December 08.

Uganda’s mainstream media seems to tell their audiences that the 2021 presidential election is a two-horse race between incumbent Yoweri Kaguta Tibuhaburwa Museveni of the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) and Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine of the National Unity Platform (NUP).

For weeks, most major television and radio channels have focused on Museveni and Bobi Wine campaigns, bundling brief reports about nine other candidates in election news wraps.

The FDC has severally accused the media of bias: for reportedly blowing differences among party members out of proportion.

That the media, for example, exaggerated the issue of Nabilah Naggayi Sempala’s quest for the Kampala Lord Mayoral race.

This is not the first time the media are obsessed with some candidates.

In the 2016 election, the media devoted acres of space and months of airtime on former prime minister John Patrick Amama Mbabazi, either consciously or unconsciously, marketing him as Museveni’s key opponent. Besigye was in the race, but a lot of coverage seemed to suggest Mbabazi was the president’s biggest threat.

According to FDC spokesperson Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda, “the Media today has candidates.”

“As you fight against the interference of the State, you also need to have internal mechanisms to stick to journalism. Now like objectivity and balanced reporting, I sometimes don’t see that in many newsrooms,” said Ssemujju, a former journalist.

So, could the media be underestimated the barefooted villager?

Although it may seem tough for Amuriat to fit in Besigye’s shoes, the former MP may not be an underdog as some sections of the media may want him to look.

Those who know Amuriat speak volumes of his mobilization skills, and credit him for the inroads the FDC made in eastern and northern Uganda.

His resilience is also something his supporters argue makes him tick.

But besides his personality, Amuriat is relying on the FDC structures and support base, which have seen Besigye perform considerably well in three elections.

For years, POA has worked with party organs, eventually beating former army commander Maj Gen (Rtd) Mugisha Muntu to rise to the FDC’s top seat of president.

He believes he has the support of all true party members.

With Ugandans’ voting behavior patterns somewhat complex, some people who have previously voted Besigye might choose other candidates, but the party presidential candidate hopes members will vote him.

Here is a quick look at Amuriat’s profile

PATRICK OBOI AMURIAT (POA) PROFILE

Date of birth: March 17, 1963

Place of birth: Kumi, in the Eastern Uganda

Parents:  Mzee John Amuriat of Kogili, Kanyum, Kumi District and Elizabeth Aciro Amuriat (deceased) of Omoro District

Education

Diploma in Education (Makerere University)

Bachelor of Science in Engineering (Makerere University)

Master of Science in Engineering (Makerere University)

Work

  • Kumi District as District Engineer
  • Other local and international engineering firms

Politics

1994: Ran for Constituency Assembly (CA) seat

1996: Official interpreter and Campaign Chief of Paul Kawanga Ssemwogerere in Teso and Karamoja Sub Regions

1999: joined Reform Agenda

Joined Parliamentary Advocacy Forum (Pafo)

2005: Founding member of FDC

2001-2016: Kumi MP

Chairperson of Science and Technology Committee

Chairperson Commissions Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (Cosase)

Member of the Committee of Works and Transport

2015: Besigye’s Chief National Field Coordinator

2017: Elected FDC president

Pearl Times Reporter
Pearl Times Reporterhttps://pearltimes.co.ug
Latest Uganda news, politics, business, health and entertainment coverage.

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