Ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) presidential candidate Yoweri Kaguta Tibuhaburwa Museveni began campaigning in Buganda sub-region this week with his mobilizers expressing confident that the silent majority will shock National Unity Platform (NUP) aspirant Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine in next month’s poll.
Bobi Wine is from Buganda.
Voting behavior patterns in the past elections show that a considerable number of Ugandans consider candidates’ tribes before making their final decisions on who to cast a ballot for.
For years since Bobi Wine expressed interest in the country’s top seat, many in the Museveni administration have dismissed his People Power pressure group and the NUP as having some support only among Baganda urban youth.
But Museveni and NRM have had trouble winning the Buganda vote, with the opposition parties like Democratic Party (DP) and main opposition Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) enjoying support.
Even when Museveni faced his fiercest opponent Dr Kizza Besigye, who didn’t hail from Buganda, he lost in urban Buganda districts like Wakiso and Kampala.
Therefore, Museveni’s quest to win Buganda is not necessarily a plot against Bobi Wine’s alleged popularity but against the opposition.
With Bobi Wine holding rallies and Museveni sticking to meetings with party leaders, the NRM hopes its mobilisers at village level will help it win the Buganda vote.
Speaking during a meeting of NRM youths and leaders in from the Greater Mubende districts of Mubende, Mityana, Kassanda, Kyankwanzi and Kiboga in Mubende on December 21, deputy NRM vice chairperson for central Uganda Godfrey Suubi Kiwanda said the party mobilisers had “declared that Buganda is for Museveni.” He assured Museveni of victory in the region.
While youth meetings and mobilization drives have been the norm for NRM in all the regions Museveni has campaigned it, the party hopes to intensify these in the central region.
Government chief whip Ruth Ssentamu Nankabirwa believes Bobi Wine’s NUP supporters have intimidate Museveni supporters but is confident Election Day will prove to Bobi Wine the power of the silent majority.
“January 14, we shall see. You’ve been hearing about silent majority. You know how our people from the opposition behave: they threaten, they vandalize posters and there are not so many people at the villages there,” Nankabirwa says.
For his part, Museveni warned against voting leaders solely on tribal basis, urging voters to look at manifestos.
The president emphasized “the need for them to desist from divisive politics and focus on solving the needs of the people.”
He warned of the consequences of divisive politics.
“Politics is not a game or a joke, if handled badly, it can endanger a nation. This country was in a turmoil because politicians were focusing on politics of religion, tribe and gender chauvinism,” he continued.
“The NRM has used wisdom to return peace and thrive Uganda’s economy. Therefore, support the NRM which is tried and tested.”
The commander-in-chief further warned those threatening NRM supporters.
“Those who threaten to beat people, we won’t allow you to beat anybody. Those who attempted to cause violence in Kampala saw and know what happened to them. You are not even allowed to scare people,” he noted.
“You can’t dare me, you shouldn’t threaten me. If you need my vote, you have to woo me, approach me with respect. You can’t scare me. Why don’t I threaten the voters? I come here and beg you for votes.”