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Uganda’s Presidential Race Is Here Again, As Museveni Looks to Extend His 30-Year Rule


A screenshot of an Agenda 2016 Youtube video showing president Museveni supporter.

On November 3, close to a year after President Museveni sacked former Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi and left the ruling NRM party, he was nominated to be the presidential candidate for The Democratic Alliance, which represents several political parties, including Uganda People's Congress, Democratic Party, and others.

In the race for the presidency, Mbabazi faces sitting President Yoweri Museveni, who was also nominated for candidacy on November 3. If Museveni wins, it will be his sixth presidential term since he took power in 1986. Mbabazi andMuseveni won't be alone in this competition. On November 4, Kizza Besigye (who has stood against Museveni in the last three presidential elections) was also nominated by his party, the Forum for Democratic Change.

This means the main contenders for 2016 election are Museveni, Mbabazi, and Besigye. Other candidates are Dr. Venancius Baryamureeba, Abed Bwanika, Winnie Kyalya, and Joseph Mabirizi.

The campaigns have already exposed divisions in society. Ugandan musicians and their fans are divided over the justification of singing a song praising President Museveni for his performance in office over the past quarter century. There is speculation in the industry that a group of musicians received money to participate in the song: Bebe Cool and Jose Chameleone are said to have received more than $700,000USD, while an artists’ association is rumored to have been paid another $150,000USD. Other artists, like Eddy Kenzo (the 2015 BET Award winner) and Mathias Walukagga came out to criticize the artists who took part in the song.

The controversial campaign song praising Museveni is available on YouTube:

Official campaign rallies kicked off on November 9, 2015, with photos of the events finding their way to social media almost immediately.

The campaigns have been peaceful so far, though several weeks earlier a woman was stripped naked during a fight between police and supporters of the Forum for Democratic Change.

Bobi Wine, one of the most controversial artists in Uganda, urged Ugandans to be united, saying that elections come and go, but the country and its people remain:

I see all the elections drama going on all over the country and this is what I have to say to you fellow Ugandans; it is your fundamental right to vote but don't allow this whole election process to divide you because it's only periodical; it will soon end and we shall still stick together as Ugandans.

Sharing a photo of angry-looking Museveni-supporters, Evelyn Liri tweeted:

Suggesting the need for change, Ugandan comedian Pablo Kimuli shared a quote from Albert Einstein:

Tlasuba Dada wrote:

In a comment for on an article that appeared in The Daily Monitor, Umusani said of Museveni's candidacy:

Mr Museveni said he will embark on some of the unfulled pledges he made in the last presidential elections…………..”I’m here because the party fronted me. After the liberation struggle, recovery phase and building foundation, Uganda is ready for take-off……….

Dear Mr. President, there are services which if you had worked on in only the last 10 years, no sane Ugandan would passionately object to your 4/5th term project and overstay in power. These are the kinds of services that can't wait for another kick-start namely: health, education, jobs, food security! Ugandans are dying and rotting away economically, intellectually, physically and socially

Without jobs and food security, no Ugandan can stand boldly to oppose a corrupt official who is bribing him. Ugandans remain scavengers who are prone to people waving brown envelopes at them during these 5months till march/feb 2016 because your failed public service and local government teams have failed to effectively launch, promote, monitor, evaluate and improve your 10 point programmes and other initiatives……

Commenting on a story in New Vision about Besigye's nomination, and the fact that Kizza Besigye has always maintained that he does not believe in elections organised by the Ugandan Electoral Commission, Disqus-user Beson asked:

Where is the logic? Taking part in a race you don't believe in.

Erigaci Francis asked Besigye why he feels that, this time, after three consecutive failures, things will turn out different for his candidacy:

Col: you lost a pot of water for three consecutive times as you are nearing home on the same path and again the same custodian gave you a new pot which you know very well that it is faulty as stated by you, what is your assurance to all Ugandans especially change yarning people about the safety of our last pot ?

The video below shows Kizza Besigye's first rally at Nakivubo stadium in Kampala:

The video below shows Amama Mbabazi's first rally at Nakivubo stadium:

All the candidates are expected to hold campaign rallies across the country before Election Day on February 18, 2016.

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