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    OPINION: Museveni Is Tired! He Has Grown Old And Run Out Of Ideas, Bobi Wine is Now Using The Same Strategy M7 Used Against Obote – Mwenda…

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    Bobi Wine’s Rollercoaster Campaign.

    I have just been re-reading President Yoweri Museveni’s 1981 masterpiece on why he chose a protracted armed struggle to fight the government of Milton Obote. It provides an incredible insight into how a weak group can employ its weaknesses as strengths and turn the strengths of a powerful oppressive state into handicaps. It is incredible how, even without strategic planning, Bobi Wine is using the same strategy successfully against Museveni.

    Over the last month, Bobi Wine has created a rollercoaster campaign. He has positioned himself as an underdog fighting an entrenched dictatorship. To many young Ugandans suffering from anxiety over the future: whether employed, underemployed or unemployed, he has a simple but powerful message: “I am fighting for your freedom; all of you have to become freedom fighters to fight for your freedom. Some of us will die but it will be for the greater cause.”

    This message is resonating with many young people in urban and semi urban areas who clearly see him as their hero, and who also think this “freedom” is a solution to their anxiety. Bobi Wine is short on policy and strategy, but he is sincere with his feelings, which resonate with this segment of our population. He is unlikely to win this election (even if it were free and fair) for reasons I will discuss another day. But for now he is the cool new kid on the block.

    Here is Museveni’s real dilemma: Bobi Wine has branded him a dictator and needs proof. Bobi Wine has, without premeditation, lured Museveni into a series of street battles where more than 100 people have been killed. This slaughter has been captured live on social media, the platform where Bobi Wine’s base dominate. So he has provoked a powerful enemy in control of the state to use arbitrary violence to prove his accusations of dictatorship. This is exactly what Museveni did to Obote in Luwero.

    In the aforementioned article, Museveni argues that a guerrilla movement should undermine a government’s credibility and legitimacy in both the domestic and international arena. By provoking state security forces to kill civilians, Bobi Wine is achieving exactly that. Yet Museveni is not acting differently from how he has handled previous opponents, armed or pacific. Indeed, the NRM/A was much more uncouth and violent in its early years than today.

    Bobi Wine’s success at branding Museveni has been due to three factors: the presence of new technologies of social mobilization (social media), the decay of ideological commitment within NRM (death of siasa) and the collapse of the structures of demobilisation and counter mobilisation NRM used to have. The old grizzly bear (NRM) may not be defeated in this battle by the upstart Bobi Wine but its reputation has been grievously wounded.

    For all its great achievements, NRM has failed to master social media. This is not because it does not see its value but because it is ideologically exhausted; lacks committed cadres with passion to tell its story. I meet young people with such passion for NRM and Museveni. But they are ignored or side lined because the core has been captured by self-seeking elites looking for the next big job or deal. Museveni can pour billions at this problem but cash cannot replace ideology as a basis for generating mass enthusiasm. Siasa needs a faith.

    The longer Museveni has ruled, the more authority has shifted to him individually. Today this authority is transmitted from him through a small circle of close family and kin. There are no longer many people around him who are not family but who can exercise the influence people like Eriya Kategaya, James Wapakabhulo, Bidandi Ssali, Amanya Mushega, Kahinda Otafiire, Jim Muhwezi, Kale Kayihura, Amama Mbabazi, Noble Mayombo did. This is why the president’s campaign is movie staring Museveni alone.

    Hence there is internal paralysis and inertia inside the president’s campaign and even the wider government. Everyone waits for “Mzee” to make decisions. But Museveni has grown old. He is now low on energy and zest. He often postpones attending to critical issues because he is over burdened and exhausted. Thus many issues in need of urgent attention remain unaddressed because there is no one to carry the ball down. His own style and approach makes matters worse. Museveni has little interest in young people. He finds them impatient and reckless.

    It is in this context that Bobi Wine has surprised the system. The way he has rolled out his campaign across all the districts he has visited shows that he had been grossly underestimated, including by me. The system lacks the political and security smarts to handle him, hence the arbitrary use of violence. So the biggest coverage of elections is not what the president is great at (public policy) which Bobi Wine is intellectually handicapped at, but the violence and brutality government has unleashed on this singer turned politician.

    The NRM is unable to change its ways because it has governed Uganda for 35 years using particular methods, which have served it well. However, Uganda has radically changed: its economy, the population, the level of education and exposure and its lifestyle and attitudes. Bobi Wine is a representative of this change. The previous candidates against Museveni came from the old political order (Paul Ssemogerere, Sebana Kizito) or from Museveni’s own camp (Kizza Besigye). NRM knew how to handle them. But they are clueless on how to handle Bobi Wine.

    So the people in charge of the system are using old ways to cope with an entirely new phenomenon. And this is at a time when they have suffered deep institutional atrophy, terrible loss of energy, passion and morale, and a grievous decline in faith in their mission. The NRM has degenerated into a cash and carry party. Without faith in its mission, it no longer seeks to persuade but to bribe and/or coarse. This explains the retreat to violence as the one and only tool.

    Now Bobi Wine is doing something politically dangerous: he is demonstrating actual power. He travels in a convoy of over 30 vehicles, hundreds of boda bodas, and an army of hundreds of people, who provide a human shield around him. His convoy is larger and seemingly more powerful than that of Museveni. It closes the entire highway turning it into a one-way road as police watch helplessly, often just escorting him. This projects him as a president in waiting. No one should loose sight of the symbolic significance of this especially among our peasant population.

    To stop this momentum, government arrested him for violating electoral campaign SOPs, sparking widespread riots and deaths. He was released on bail on a clear condition that he should respect the SOPs. Since then he has been defying them with impunity, and government seems afraid of enforcing the bail conditions. Essentially Bobi Wine has placed himself above the law, and police seem unable to handle him, well because the matter is political. Bobi Wine may not be an existential threat to the NRM and Museveni’s power. But for now he is, without doubt, a strategic threat.

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

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    We Shut Down Facebook, If They Can’t Cooperate, They Will Not Operate In Uganda – Museveni Warns…

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    Yoweri Kaguta Museveni Tibuhaburwa, the president of Uganda has banned Facebook in Uganda.

    Museveni argued that it is not appropriate for Facebook to partially interfere with the usage of its services to target some groups.

    “The other day Facebook decided to block the NRM message senders. Why would anybody do that? When I heard about that I told our people to warn them. That social media channel (Facebook), if it’s going to operate in Uganda, it should be used equitably by everybody,” Museveni said.

    “I am sorry for the inconvenience to those who have been using this channel (Facebook), but we cannot tolerate this arrogance of anybody coming to decide for us who is good and who is bad,” the president warned.

    “There is no way anybody can come and play around with our country to decide who is good and bad,” he added.

    President Museveni also warned some groups that he said have made it a habit to cheat in elections. “I want to tell you, that cheating is treason. When you use violence to intimidate to be voted for, you are committing treason,” he warned.

    “If you plan to cheat or alter results so that you win even when the majority didn’t vote for you, it means you won’t go back to solve the issues of the people because you will cheat in the next election. This renders democracy null and void. I am warning everyone, don’t try to cheat,” he added.

    President Museveni also appealed to EC to not allow any voting where a thumbprint is not used. “Anybody trying to cheat, we shall go for them. Don’t waste our time by trying to cheat. One of the reasons we are appealing to you to vote peacefully is because your country is doing very well,” the president said.

    President Museveni revealed that sometimes he gets problems with some of Uganda’s foreign partners because they don’t understand the history of Uganda. He said they don’t know that Uganda is strong because of the massive organization, strong strong army, and strong economy.

    “We realized the importance of the private sector, and because of that, we have a very strong economy which will be stronger if we eliminate corruption. Ugandans, be confident, we have everything. Our economy is strong and so is the army, and it is well experienced,” the president said, urging all citizens to go and vote. “If anybody tries to intimidate you, we shall deal with him or her,” the president warned.

     

    By Baron Kironde

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    Museveni Leads Kyagulanyi In New Poll, Most Losers Will Not Accept Results – Afro-Barometer…

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    As the country nears the D-day for presidential elections this Thursday, a new research from Afro-barometer shows that National Resistance Movement (NRM) presidential candidate Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, who is also the incumbent is in the lead.

    In a 54-page document, Afro-barometer says that the research was conducted between 22 December 2020 and 7 January 2021 in 300 enumeration areas across 110 districts.

    “President Museveni holds a clear lead, but many respondents would not say how they intended to vote, so the final outcome may be much closer. The nation could also be headed toward electing a more closely divided Parliament,” Afro-barometer says.

    They add that although a majority of Ugandans are prepared to vote and see the Electoral Commission as well prepared, fewer trust that the 2021 elections will be free, fair, and credible.

    “Large majorities of respondents say they have National ID Cards (85%), are registered to vote (84%), have confirmed the name and location of their polling station (77%), and have verified their voter registration status (74%),” the research says.

    “Among the 84% of survey respondents who said they were registered to vote, more than half (53%) indicated they would vote for President Yoweri Museveni, while 18% said they would cast their ballots for challenger Robert KyagulanyiSentamu (better known as BobiWine).”

    Concerning whether drama that has been witnessed during the campaigns, the research notes, “Fewer than half of respondents feel that the election campaign environment has been free and fair for all candidates.

    The proportion of Ugandans who say the opposition and its supporters are “often” or “always” silenced by government has almost doubled compared to 2015, to 61%. Fear of political intimidation or violence during elections has increased compared to 2011.”

    “Large majorities expect that the losing side will not accept the election results (80%) but believe that security agencies will be able to prevent large-scale violence (73%),” the research says.

    Below are some of the highlights from the research:

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    Bobi Wine Wants To Go Into Hiding In One Of The Embassies After Casting His Vote – Enanga Reveals Why Security Has Been Tightened Countrywide…

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    Uganda police Public Relation Officer (PRO) CP Fred Enanga has revealed that they have credible information that National Unity Platform (NUP) presidential candidate Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu alias Bobi Wine plans to go into hiding in one of the Embassies, immediately after casting his vote.

    In a statement released today, “We also have credible intelligence that the NUP Presidential Candidate, Hon. Kyagulanyi Ssentamu Robert wants to go into hiding possibly in one of the Embassies, immediately after casting his vote. And thereafter, allege through his NUP networks and bloggers, that he has been kidnapped by state operatives.”

    He adds, “The intention is to incite the public and cause another wave of protests.  We want to inform the public that this is a tactic that we strongly condemn and issue a strong warning to the perpetrators.”

    Below is Enanga’s full statement on elections:

    We would like to start by congratulating all Ugandans, and in particular candidates, their campaign agents, fans, well-wishers and other stakeholders, for approaching the last day of the political campaigns for Presidential and Parliamentary positions.  Despite the challenges faced along the campaign trail, we must acknowledge the efforts of every sector including the media, security, all political actors, medical experts, electoral officials and other stakeholders.

    Our focus as the Joint Security Agencies is now on the Election Day, where all Ugandans especially voters, will make their choices.  It is therefore, a very crucial stage of democracy, and we shall ensure all eligible voters, safely perform this sacred civic duty.

    As we head into the polls, we would also like to remind Ugandans, that we are a peaceful community, although there have been attempts by some sections of the pubic to promote hate speech through several audios and videos to cause ethnic divisions in the country.  Surprisingly, most of these recordings are by Ugandans abroad including mobilized bloggers in Asia, Europe, the US and South Africa.  We urge all Ugandans not to infringe on the rights of fellow Ugandans, during this Election and the days to come.  We have a history of togetherness amidst all threats against our country, and we are confident that even this time, we shall remain Ugandans at peace.

    Despite the rights and freedoms to vote, there are a few basic rules that voters need to follow when voting, so that they do not end up breaking the Law.  They should do the following;

    o   Make sure you carry along your National ID or NIN

    o   When you arrive, ONLY Electoral Commission staff will take you through the voting process.

    o    You will receive a ballot paper listing your candidate, party, symbol in your constituency.

    o   Read it carefully and then vote for your chosen candidate by ticking or us of a thumb print.

    o   When you are ready fold the ballot paper for privacy and insert it in the ballot box.

    o   Avoid writing comments on the ballot paper for your candidate, do not sign your ballot paper or imprint names.  It will not count.

    o   You are not allowed to photograph the ballot paper you receive at a polling station.  A selfie risks giving away how someone voted which is against the law.

    o   Stay sober, drunken people can be disruptive and can spoil their ballot paper.

    o   Persons with disabilities, and elderly should seek help from the polling officials.

    o   Voting is secretive.  Avoid discussing candidates inside the polling station.  It can easily unsettle others.  Always alert the polling staff if someone is discussing a candidate inside the polling area.

    o   Do not distribute any election related materials.  It clearly shows your political allegiance and if in large groups its an act of intimidation.

    o   Employers are warned against refusing their employees time off for voting or even penalizing them after voting.

    o   Do not bribe others to vote in a certain way or not to vote at all.

    o   Do not threaten or ask someone else to threaten or impose violence on other voters at the polling station.

    o   Do not campaign at the polls because all political activities on polling day are prohibited like displaying campaign symbols, verbally advocating for a specific candidate, and having campaign literature.  In addition, wearing political attire to the polls, such as T-shirt, caps is considered campaigning.  Therefore, let us leave all the political swag at home.

    o    Regarding health, all voters must know that voting safely during the pandemic requires wearing a mask, hand washing or use of hand sanitizer and on observing social distance.  Precautions are really important because of the high COVID location.

    Once again, we would like to reiterate that there are no specific threats targeting the Elections.  However, we are prepared for any eventualities including demonstrations and riots.

    As the Joint Task Force, we have an operational plan to ensure the protection and safety of all Ugandans and visitors in the country.  We have heightened our levels of visibility and alertness as we go into the polls.  Additional manpower has been deployed tactically in the field, from the Polling station, the Parish level, Sub-county, County level.  All villages, trading centres, Town/Urban Councils, Municipalities, and Cities are effectively covered in our deployment plans.

    Our task teams stationed at specific points will be responsible for responding to any election related calls.  We already have patrols at all levels (foot, motorcycle and motorized) along selected hotspotting poling  centres especially in 39 districts out of the 146 districts in addition to the special checkpoints and traffic enforcements operations among others.

    Additional efforts are focused on identifying, investigating and disrupting individuals that intend to incite violence and engage in criminal activity, especially Youth Brigades like Agenda Kifuba Ddembe in Nansana, Mityana Municipality; “Ten Ten” in Mukono, Makindye, Nansana, Kiira and Nakawa; Team Banyiivu in Makindye and Lubaga; Hard Body along the Northern bypass, Kawempe Division, Team Jalia in Nakawa; Jua Kali in Najja Sub-County and Kiyindi Town Council in Buikwe District; and other Youth Brigade in Teso Sub-region, Rukungiri, Mbarara, Arua, Gulu and Jinja Cities.

    We also have credible intelligence that the NUP Presidential Candidate, Hon. Kyagulanyi Ssentamu Robert wants to go into hiding possibly in one of the Embassies, immediately after casting his vote.  And thereafter, allege through his NUP networks and bloggers, that he has been kidnapped by state operatives.  The intention is to incite the public and cause another wave of protests.  We want to inform the public that this is a tactic that we strongly condemn and issue a strong warning to the perpetrators.

    All Ugandans should rest assured and fell safe as we head into the elections.  The elections will be largely peaceful, since we are more than prepared to address any acts of impunity, lawlessness and political violence that may occur on polling date and thereafter.

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