Lt Gen Henry Tumukunde recently declared that he intends to challenge President Museveni in the 2021 elections.
His announcement set off mixed reactions from other political players, some welcoming him to the opposition political fold and others casting doubting glances towards him.
Over the last seven days, Tumukunde has been hopping from one media house to another trying to sell his “vision.”
Yet in all his interviews, the former spy chief and minister has struggled to string together convincing explanations as to why he thinks he is best suited to lead Uganda.
Here are the five reasons why Tumukunde’s presidential bid will make little headway and will end in eventual failure.
Lack of political clarity
Late last year Gen Henry Tumukunde embarked on consultations to stand for the lord mayor ship in Kampala. He opened social media pages, formed mobilization committees, held meetings in various suburbs of the city and met various groups of people including women, youth, religious leaders etc. Then he went quiet.
Two weeks ago, he resurfaced but this time he wants the ultimate prize: the presidency.
He is yet to explain why and at what point he abandoned the Kampala lord mayorship bid.
Like one social media commentator put it, tomorrow Tumukunde could declare intentions to stand for an LCV seat somewhere.
This begs the question: What exactly does Tumukunde want? Any politician worth his salt must have a bit of clarity on what he wants and how he will go about it.
At this point, Tumukunde’s political vision is blurred.
Offers nothing new
From the interviews, Tumukunde has said that from his interactions with various people, he has “discovered” that they have so many unresolved problems.
“When you talk about women, there are single mothers, there are widows, there are those battling domestic violence,” Tumukunde said during one of his TV interviews with the glee of someone who has made an earth breaking discovery.
How he will go about solving these problems, he did not elaborate.
Put bluntly, Tumukunde appears to be offering nothing new to what is currently available of the political menu.
Whatever he is saying has been said and he is yet to devise unique ways of tackling Uganda’s current problems.
“I fought mentality”
While appearing on NBS TV’s morning Breeze, Tumukunde said that unlike some people who claim to have fought, for him he actually fought.
Some saw this as a veiled attack on President Museveni, who some claim did more mobilization than fighting during the five-year bush war that ushered NRM into power.
Yet the “I fought mentality” is a big put off particularly to the generation of people who actually do not mind about the bush exploits.
The “I fought Mentality” has bred a sense of entitlement, greed and impunity among some bush war fighters. And the public hates it ask Gen Elly Tumwine who never tires to tell the country how he fought (as the rest of us hid under beds).
The earlier Tumukunde drops this mentality the better for him but if he chooses to make it one of his trump cards, then he has set off on the wrong footing.
Skeletons in closet
There is a saying that never throw stones when you live in a glass house.
We all have skeletons in our closets and this at times shapes the way we behave. Tumukunde has several skeletons in his closet spanning his military career.
The Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence that he headed was known for gross violation of human rights. In the 2001 elections, Tumukunde was at the forefront of military generals who terrorized Dr Kizza Besigye’s supporters.
Tumukunde will be easy to blackmail and arm-twist by Museveni, who is a master at re-awakening past crimes. There will be people poring over his records in all the offices he served, hoping to find evidence of mismanagement.
And they will get plenty. Some people will ask him to shed more light on his “short-lived” opposition career that started in 2004 after he spoke out against the removal of presidential term limits.
He was incarcerated in an air conditioned house in Kololo for nine years and after, the charges were dropped he was hastily retired from the army.
The next thing people see, he is at the forefront of President Museveni’s re-election campaign in 2016.
Now he wants to lead efforts to remove someone he vigorously fought to entrench.
President Museveni, Dr Kizza Besigye and to some extent Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine exhibit some bit of charisma.
Museveni retains a big appeal among a section of people who believe that he sacrificed a lot to restore peace and prosperity to Uganda, the “Twebaka ku tulo” type.
He started the bush war with 27 guns.
Besigye, on the other hand has been consistent in his opposition against Museveni and has endured a lot in terms of physical and psychological torture. He has had to make personal sacrifices.
This makes him appealing to many people.
Bobi Wine too appeals to mainly the youth whose language he understands. The 2018 Arua debacle where he was tortured to a almost a point of disability further engraved him into the hearts and minds of some people.
What is Gen Tumukunde’s appeal? What is that extra quality that he possesses that will force people to pour on the streets and fight for him the same way some people do for Besigye and Bobi Wine?