The move by the ruling party’s Central Executive Committee (CEC) to endorse President Yoweri Museveni as the party’s flag-bearer for the 2021 polls has drawn mixed reactions across the political divide. Within the opposition camp, CEC’s endorsement of Museveni meant that the stage for a showdown in the forthcoming 2021 general elections had been set.
As for the ruling party, it implied planning ahead of time. The Uganda People’s Congress national chairperson, Lawrence Okae, said CEC’s decision had eased the political matrix for the party, especially the opportunity to study the already known candidate ahead of 2021. On Tuesday, the National Resistance Movement (NRM) CEC adopted a resolution recommending Museveni as the party’s flag-bearer in the 2021 presidential elections.
The resolution adopted during a five-day retreat at the Chobe Safari Lodge in Murchison Falls National Park, Nwoya district stated:
“To recommend to the membership of the Movement and its organs that His Excellency Yoweri Museveni, our leader and general of the African resistance, continues leading the Movement and the state in 2021 and beyond as we eliminate the bottlenecks to transform.”
Makerere University history don, Mwambutsya Ndebesa, said the resolution meant that whoever the Opposition fielded in the 2021 race, will be simply an escort to the NRM’s candidate.
“Revolutionaries do not expire through votes. The Opposition should instead concentrate on resource mobilisation and support organisation for the 2026 political roadmap. That is where the focus should be and not 2021,” he said.
Explaining the rationale behind the move by CEC to endorse Museveni, Ofwono Opondo, the Government spokesperson, said the NRM wanted to sort out things early. Some NRM lawmakers also supported the CEC decision, describing Museveni as the best captain for the party ahead of 2021.
“Uganda still needs Museveni to complete unfinished business, including infrastructure development,”
Kabula County MP (NRM), James Kakooza, said. Kigulu North MP (NRM), Fred Bwino, said Museveni’s strength was in keeping the party together. Opposition Chief Whip and Kira Municipality MP, Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda (FDC), said:
“I do not support CEC’s endorsement of Museveni as the sole candidate for NRM even though it was obvious that NRM would do it.”
Betty Aol Ocan (Leader of Opposition in Parliament) said:
“What CEC has done is not the business of Opposition. The Opposition’s priority is to ensure that issues affecting the common people are sorted.”
Manjiya County (NRM), John Baptist Nambeshe said:
“I do not support it because they are abusing the NRM constitution. CEC is supposed to seek the views of NRM supporters before making such resolutions.