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    OPINION: Bobi Is Great In Character Not Thinking; How Did M7 Terribly Lose In Buganda If He Rigged Votes? – Andrew Mwenda…

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    Journalist Andrew Mwenda

    Bobi Wine is without any doubt a great guy. His greatness does not lie in his thinking but in his character. And that could be the problem. A little over three years ago, he was largely known as a weed-smoking Rastafarian who sings good music often with strong political undertones.

    Then by one stroke of political intuition, he transformed himself into a major national political figure and international star, totally eclipsing Dr. Kizza Besigye, the principled, courageous but belligerent leader of Uganda’s opposition.

    He then took on the indefatigable President Yoweri Museveni by the horns for the presidency and gave him a real run for his money.

    How did this singer turned politician come from nowhere and stage such a brilliant political coup? Many people, including me, grossly underestimated the power of Bobi Wine’s appeal. His bid for the presidency exposed the soft underbelly of the Museveni electoral coalition. First it proved that our hitherto invincible president could be defeated in an electoral contest in his Buganda base. Second, and as an insight from the first, that the much talked about rigging machinery of the NRM is actually a myth.

    If Museveni is so good at rigging, why did he lose Buganda so miserably to this upstart? Where did his rigging machinery go? Why did he lose the North in 1996, 2001 and 2006 by huge margins but do well there in 2011? Why did he in 2016 lose Rukungiri and Kasese in Western Uganda? How come he has often lost Kampala and Wakiso? What does the opposition do in all the areas that they can transplant to other regions?

    This is where the rigging mantra fails to add up. If it exists, this shows that with good support and proper organization, it can be beaten. Period.

    Yet Bobi Wine, perhaps because he was carried by his emotions as opposed to his insight, failed to see the blow he had delivered against Museveni.

    Like Besigye before him, Bobi Wine saw the trees but missed the forest. He is a man of tactics, not strategy. He retreated to that old and tired mantra that has blinded Uganda’s opposition of the possibilities in front of them – allegations of rigging.

    So Bobi Wine refused to concede defeat and regurgitated the claims that Museveni stole his votes. Once you lock yourself into this echo chamber of opposition activists’ victimhood card, you lose sight of all the opportunities before you.

    Museveni’s electoral coalition has always been based on holding his Western base, keeping Buganda under his thumb as the Mecca of his revolution and being competitive in the East. Museveni has always been willing to lose the North.

    In 1996, 2001 and 2006, Museveni was badly beaten there, but he never lost any sleep over it. Then comes Bobi Wine and by one stroke redraws the electoral map by literary chasing Museveni out of Buganda. What a feat! Does he see this? Do his handlers see its significance?

    What if in 2026 Bobi Wine kept Buganda, took the North with the margins Besigye had and became competitive in the East, what would happen to Museveni? Bobi Wine is not a tribal chauvinist as his NRM critics allege.

    I don’t even think he has much attachment to his Buganda identity. Bobi Wine grew up in the ghetto in Kamwokya. That is his real tribe where his true feelings of belonging lie. At worst he is a ghetto chauvinist, selecting many around him based on their social-economic background than their ethnicity. If Baganda voted for him in large numbers, it is because they saw him as their son more than he saw them as his kin. They were opportunists who sought to cling on his brand.

    The real danger Bobi Wine paused in central Uganda is that by his sheer charisma, he was able to win over two very powerful social institutions at the heart of Museveni’s political survival – Mengo (the seat of the powerful Buganda Kingdom, home of Uganda’s largest tribe) and Rubaga (the seat of the Roman Catholic Church, Uganda’s largest religion).

    The shortfall is that his bromance with Rubaga did not go beyond Buganda, but he has the potential to take it across the country.

    Bobi Wine also suffered a demographic deficit in these two social institutions, with many elderly people not seeing him as presidential and thus opting not to vote.

    Yet this is only a short-term handicap, if Bobi Wine sought to play the long game. He can rebrand himself and by 2026 (who knows?), he can look presidential.

    But Bobi Wine is focused on the here and now (tactics) and has missed tomorrow (strategy). There were many irregularities and some rigging.

    But anyone serious enough to look at the numbers would see that Museveni would have won anyway. In fact I think the torment by security services against Bobi Wine played into his hands. It gave him free prime time publicity on radio and television where he had been blocked. By election time, his brand awareness was above 90%.

    For Museveni to hold Bobi Wine’s momentum towards 2026, he needs him to reject the electoral results. This is a signal that Bobi Wine wants his supporters to challenge the results on the streets i.e. stage an insurrection. It is this suspicion that justifies the security cordon around Bobi Wine.

    So for the next five years, he is going to be tightly monitored and controlled because his every movement around Kampala, like Besigye’s before him, will be attracting large crowds supporters demanding action to reclaim “people power.”

    These efforts are emotionally gratifying but not politically productive. They play into Museveni’s security-and-stability hands.

    The constant street battles with the security services will leave Bobi Wine psychologically and physically exhausted. This will take away the energy and focus he needs to build his brand in the north and east where he has good chances of growth if he can win the Catholic Church there. Now that is the long game I am talking about.

    What should Bobi Wine do?

    He should concede defeat, even though pointing out the many irregularities in the electoral process. He should tell his supporters that: “we know Museveni and expected all these irregularities. We entered the race factoring them into our electoral equation. But now we need to move on and focus on 2026 and I appeal to all of you my supporters to follow me on project 2026.”

    To calm Museveni’s nerves further, Bobi Wine would not do anything in Buganda – not for now. He has it already. He would begin with West Nile, move to Lango and Acholi, ignore Karamoja and focus on Teso, Bugisu and Bukedi. He already has Busoga.

    Museveni is unlikely to mount serious charm offensives because he is old and tired. And many around him don’t believe in his vision anymore. They believe in their individual survival.

    By 2026, candidate Bobi Wine could surprise us big time and shutter the myth of Museveni’s electoral invincibility. All Bobi Wine needs is faith and the ability to look beyond the immediate and play the long and quiet game.

     

    The writer, Andrew Mwenda is a veteran investigative journalist, Political analyst and founder/owner of The Independent News Magazine.

     

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    Angels Of Death Strike, Take Two Of Uganda’s VIPs In 2023 Opener

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    Two of Uganda’s Very Important Persons have Monday died.

    National Unity Platform’s parliamentary flag bearer in the last year’s Omoro County by-elections, Simon Toolit Aketcha is dead.

    Toolit, died on Monday morning.

    The news of his death was confirmed by Omoro county MP Andrew Ojok Oulanyah.

    “It is a dark day in Omoro! We have lost one of our gallant sons and former MP, Hon. Simon Toolit Akecha! Hon. Toolit was the MP for Omoro County between 2006 & 2011 and was a candidate in recent by-elections. May his soul rest in eternal peace!” OJok tweeted.

    Toolit put up stiff political resistance against the late Jacob Oulanyah before also competing against his son Andrew Ojok Oulanyah.

    Toolit will be remembered as a candidate to have competed against the Oulanyah’s while holding the flag for two different parties for under ten years.

    In 2016, Toolit, then a candidate of Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) contested against NRM’s Jacob Oulanyah and polled 6,823 votes against the latter’s 8,218 votes.

    In the same manner, Uganda’s high commissioner to Kenya and Seychelles, Dr Hassan Galiwango, has died.

    Galiwango died Monday morning at Nairobi Hospital where he had been admitted.

    The late was the husband to Mbale City Woman Member of Parliament, Connie Nakayeze Galiwango.

    President Museveni appointed Galiwango as the high commissioner to Kenya in October 2020.

    Galiwango was also the former long serving director of finance and administration at the NRM secretariat at the time of his ambassadorial appointment. Ms Medina Naham, the NRM party chairperson of Koboko District, replaced him at the secretariat.

    The cause of his death is yet to be communicated by the government.

    Last year, Bank of Uganda governor prof. Emmanuel Tumusiime-Mutebile, Speaker of Parliament Jacob Oulanyah and Gen. Elly Tumwine among other VIPs died.

     

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    Five Dead As Bomb Goes Off In Church Near DRC, Uganda Border 

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    A bomb killed at least five people on Sunday after detonating in a church in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, the army said.

    Details of the attack remain hazy, but military spokesman Antony Mualushayi said the “terrorist act” happened in a Pentecostal church in North Kivu province’s Kasindi, a town on the border with Uganda.

    Mualushayi later told reporters that at least five bodies had been taken to the morgue following the blast, in what he called a provisional death toll.

    Joel Kitausa, a local civil society figure, put the death toll at eight and said 27 other people had been wounded.

    AFP was unable to independently confirm the toll.

    It was not immediately clear who carried out the attack. Mualushayi said that one suspect — a Kenyan — had been arrested.

    The DRC’s communications ministry said on social media that the attack was apparently carried out by the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) group.

    The ADF — which the Islamic State group claims as its affiliate in Central Africa — is active in the Kasindi area.

    It has been accused of slaughtering thousands of Congolese civilians and carrying out bomb attacks in Uganda.

    The ADF has planted bombs in towns in North Kivu in the past.

    Since 2021 a joint Congolese-Ugandan military operation has been targeting the ADF in North Kivu and neighbouring Ituri province.

    Over 120 armed groups roam mineral-rich eastern DRC, many of which are the legacy of regional wars that flared at the turn of the 21st century.

    Source: AFP

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    Nepal Crash: Dozens Killed As Plane Crashes Near Pokhara Airport

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    Dozens of people have been killed after a plane with 72 people on board crashed near an airport in central Nepal.

    The Yeti Airlines flight from Kathmandu to the tourist town of Pokhara crashed on landing before catching fire.

    Videos posted on social media show an aircraft flying low over a populated area before banking sharply.

    At least 68 people are confirmed to have died, officials said. Several critically injured survivors were taken to hospital, unconfirmed reports said.

    Local resident Deeveta Kal told the BBC how she rushed to the crash site after seeing the aircraft plunge from the sky shortly after 11:00am local time (05:15 GMT).

    “By the time I was there the crash site was already crowded. There was huge smoke coming from the flames of the plane. And then helicopters came over in no time,” she said.

    “The pilot tried his best to not hit civilisation or any home,” Deevta Kal added. “There was a small space right beside the Seti River and the flight hit the ground in that small space.”

    The flight set out with 68 passengers on board, including at least 15 foreign nationals, and four crew members.

    According to flight tracking website Flightradar24, the 15-year-old twin-engine ATR 72 stopped transmitting position data at 05:05 GMT and the last signal from the aircraft was received at 05:12.

    Hundreds of Nepalese soldiers were involved in the operation at the crash site in the gorge of the Seti, just one and a half kilometres from the airport.

    The search operation has been suspended for the day, officials say.

    Video taken where the plane came down showed thick billowing black smoke and burning debris.

    “We expect to recover more bodies,” an army spokesman told Reuters, saying the plane “has broken into pieces”.

    Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal called an emergency meeting of his cabinet and urged state agencies to work on rescue operations. A panel to investigate the cause of the crash has been set up.

    Of the passengers, 53 are said to be Nepalese. There were five Indian, four Russians and two Koreans on the plane. There was also one passenger each from Ireland, Australia, Argentina and France among others.

    Aviation accidents are not uncommon in Nepal, often due to its remote runways and sudden weather changes that can make for hazardous conditions.

    A Tara Air plane crashed in May 2022 in the northern Nepalese district of Mustang, killing 22 people.

    In early 2018, 51 people were killed when a US-Bangla flight travelling from Dhaka in Bangladesh caught fire as it landed in Kathmandu.

    The European Union has banned Nepalese airlines from its airspace over concerns about training and maintenance standards in the country’s aviation industry.

    Source: BBC

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