Uganda is gearing up for the presidential election in 2021, which sees President Museveni running for a sixth term. Is there a candidate that represents a credible alternative to this deep-seated political hegemony?
In 2021 Ugandans will go to the polls to choose a leader. The current president, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, has been endorsed by his party to run in that election. At a retreat of the National Resistance Movement (NRM) party last week, the 74-year-old, who assumed office in 1986, said, "I am ready, as in the past, to lead you." Museveni will be contesting for a sixth term.
Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, the popular Ugandan politician, businessman, entrepreneur, philanthropist, musician, freedom fighter and actor popularly known as Bobi Wine, also intends to run for the presidency in 2021. He told The Daily Monitor, "I tell you (Museveni), your days are numbered. How can you say you went to the bush and fought for democracy when you don't practise it in your NRM Party, even after 33 years?"
In August 2018, Bobi Wine was arrested and charged with treason alongside 33 other people after clashes between supporters of the ruling party and the opposition. His driver, Yasin Kawuma, was shot dead in 2018 in the car he was driving during by-election campaigns in Uganda. Bobi Wine's popularity in Uganda has grown and his support base has increased, largely among young people. He told the youth of Arua, "I ask you to have the same courage and to be firm. Be assertive regarding your rights. Do the same as we did in August last year. Power does not belong in guns; it is in your head. Museveni's regime is trembling because he knows people have become assertive and know their political rights."
Bobi Wine perhaps presents Uganda's only option when it comes to voting out President Museveni - if the election ends up being free and fair. With the support of a few of the old guard and the majority of the youth, President Museveni could be facing a real threat in 2021.