Uganda will hold general elections in 2021, and the Electoral Commission has already rolled a road map which includes nominations in September for the top office currently held by six-time winner Yoweri Kaguta Museveni of the National Resistance Movement (NRM).
Over the times, the top office has attracted several men and women of valor, including among others; Kibirige Mayanja, Francis Bwenje, Paul Kawanga Ssemwogerere, Abed Bwanika, Miria Obote Nanfuka, Beti Turyomwe Kamya, Norbert Mao, Maj Gen Benon Buta Biraro, and most consistently- Dr. Kizza Besigye, a former NRA fighter and physician of the incumbent.
And now another chance for the race is upon us, will the two men who have dominated the track field return to upset the novices in the race? Or will we witness a change of events and maybe a new family behind the white walls of Entebbe Plot 1?
So far, 33 people have expressed interest in the top seat, excluding Dr. Kizza Besigye and Yoweri Museveni. It is not wise to exclude both from the final list because the NRM has shown all signs they will not pick any other name from the basket of flag bearers but Museveni.
The FDC on the other hand according to the Daily Monitor are courting Dr. Besigye to stand again in 2021.
Putting all factors into consideration and looking at those who have offered themselves for the race, Nile Post has compiled (in no particular order) a list of the men and women who are already in the track field.
Gregory Mugisha Muntuyera, aged 61 was born in Ntungamo and was with president Museveni in the NRA bush war from 1982 despite his father and family being close friends and confidants to then sitting president Milton Obote II.
When the NRA took power, Muntu was appointed army commander, a position he held until 1997 when he was sacked and replaced with Gen Abubaker Jjeje Odongo (current Minister of Internal Affairs).
Following his sacking, Muntu started towing a political line, he joined the Forum for Democratic Change where a former bush war member, Dr. Kizza Besigye was the leader.
In 2008, Muntu have a shot for the top seat of the FDC party but failed to unseat the indefatigable Besigye.
In 2012, Muntu was elected FDC party president after trouncing Budadiri legislator Nathan Nandala Mafabi.
In 2017, Muntu was upset in a party presidential poll when he lost to Besigye backed candidate, Patrick Oboi Amuriat.
Consequently, Muntu quit the party in September 2018 citing ideological differences, he then formed the Alliance for National Transformation in a televised address.
Muntu resigned the leadership of the ANT party in June this year seeking for its flag bearer card for the presidency which he got, uncontested.
The former army commander describes himself as a long-distance runner, principled, and believes in grassroots mobilization.
Will he take his party to the race or he will seek a coalition? Nonetheless, he is one of the men to watch as 2021 electioneering commences.
Joseph Kabuleta was little known, maybe probably known for his glorious journalism career and sports punditry.
The political critic, full-time preacher, and sports pundit started making headlines after he raffled feather with catholic faithful when he during a radio interview castigated Catholics for treating the pope like ‘God’.
Kabuleta then claimed the Pope was inconsequential and “even if he were in the room just next to me, I would not bother to say hello. He is totally useless.”
Kabuleta himself was defending a controversial moment in which he was pictured kissing the feet of self-styled prophet Elvis Mbonye.
In his defence, the defiant Kabuleta claimed: “I will kiss Mbonye’s feet a million times. It is a sign of honor, respect, love, and gratefulness that I have for him. God’s divine powers and spirits on earth are represented in special people and Mbonye is one of them.”
With the matter forgotten, Kabuleta launched an attack on those in power, a trade that landed him into jail in July last year, the case- Offensive communication.
On July 1, 2020, at Serena Hotel, Kabuleta put his shiny foot forward and announced he was joining the race to grab State House. He said his presidential campaign is about money, everyone will have money and be wealthy.
Does Kabuleta come with a party blessing? No, but he is surely in the race, and another man to watch in the race.
Robert Kyagulanyi Sentamu
Fondly known as Bobi Wine, Kyagulanyi’s story is that of an outsider who brought his own chair to a table where no one expected him to be.
The politician cum musician grew up in the suburbs of Kamwokya in Kampala where he launched his music career in the early 2000s just after his graduation from Makerere University with a degree in Music, Dance, and Drama (MDD) and the rest, as they say, is history.
Kyagulanyi grew himself a continuously growing cult-like following through his music and lyrics that directly revealed government failures while representing the struggles of the common Ugandan.
He seized the opportunity of court nullifying an earlier election in Kyadondo East to contest in the by-election which he won in a remarkable landslide victory, beating veteran opposition and NRM candidates to “bring the ghetto to Parliament.”
Even then, despite the change in his hairstyle from a dreaded musician to now, a legislator, Kyagulanyi never stopped being Bobi Wine.
He now seeks to bring President Museveni’s 35-year-old rule to an end through what he calls” People Power.”
4. Lt. Gen. Henry Tumukunde
A long-term politician who involved himself in anti-government politics during his time at Makerere University where he pursued a degree in Law.
Tumukunde, then a student in his last year, was hounded by government forces and on completion, he joined the rebels of the National Resistance Army, led by current President Yoweri Museveni alongside his friend, Mugisha Muntu.
Tumukunde who was recruited as a machine gunner in the army later became one of the senior officers in the rebel army and capturing power, he was appointed the first secretary and a military attache at the Ugandan Embassy in the United Kingdom before being sent to a command and staff course in Nigeria where he excelled and returned home to serve as the Army’s director of planning.
In 1994, he was elected to represent Rubabo in the Constituent Assembly which drafted the 1995 Constitution of Uganda.
His fall-out with President Museveni started at a political retreat in 2003 where he argued against the then-impending removal of term limits that would give President Museveni an opportunity to stand for re-election on an infinite basis.
He was charged with offenses of abuse of office and spreading harmful propaganda and although this case was later dropped, Tumukunde was forced to resign from Parliament in May 2005 and later arrested.
In 2015, he was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant General and he retired from the army a year later.
In June 2016, Tumukunde was appointed to the Cabinet as the Minister of Security, a position he held up to March 2018, when he was fired.
Tumukunde kept a low profile after his firing only to reappear in March 2020, announcing that will take on President Museveni in the forthcoming elections.
Rwomushana is a common face on NBS TV’s political shows, but that is not what makes him popular, his social media commentary and critique makes him outstanding.
Born in Rukungiri, Mpororo, Rwomushana was named after a then-popular guitarist, Charles Sonko who played his welcome song following Rwomushana’s birth.
Rwomushana has been a leader in all is life, he claims to have gathered children aged six years old and trained them in military skills, himself being aged six years.
Rwomushana claims he should be an Anglican but due to a cholera outbreak in their village, he was baptized hurriedly in the catholic church thinking he would die of Cholera before he was formally introduced to God.
While at Makerere University, Rwomushana became popular for fighting for the rights of the needy students after State House gave him Shs10m to cater to them. His act gave him an edge in a guild race later, which he won overwhelmingly, becoming Makerere guild president in 1992.
Ass a guild president, Rwomushana was entitled to a trip to a conference in Canada but he embezzled the money for the trip and instead chose to buy himself a car. This brought him serious trouble with the administration of the University, marking another of his conflicts with power.
After University, Rwomushana aspired for Member of Parliament for Rujumbura County In Rukungiri District beating his competitors Sam Baigana and Dr. Alex Kamugisha to join parliament.
In 1996, Rwomushana went to seek reelection but was beaten to the polls by Jim Muhwezi in a very violent election. He again stood against Muhwezi twice but could not go past the bush war hero.
Rwomushana joined Nelson Ochegre’s Action for Restoration Democracy political pressure group in 1997 but would be expelled from the group three years later after he was seen to be hobnobbing with President Museveni.
Indeed, Museveni later in 2001 appointed his Resident District Commissioner for Pader District where he served for 8 months before being deployed to head the Political Intelligence Desk in the Presidents Officer under the Internal Security Organisation.
Rwomushana was sacked from spying duties in 2008, but he still claims he resigned willingly.
In 2016, Rwomushana was back in the news for claiming the government had murdered Presidential Candidate, Amama Mbabazi’s aide Christopher Aine. He was consequently arrested.
On June 22, 2020, Rwomushana declared he was running for Presidency. The former spy brings a lot to the race, but mostly controversy.
He once said: “I don’t support or oppose anybody but I relate with state power and its dynamics. Therefore this notion of supporting this and that is for part-time thinkers.”
He is a man to watch.
Elton Joseph Mabirizi
Arguably one of the most memorable aspirants in the previous presidential elections, thanks to his comedy antics, Mabirizi is back for a second stint in the race.
Mabirizi says he has been strategizing for 2021 and getting people out of poverty. Mabirizi was known for his jocular strategy of campaigning, where he would get to his rallies in a commuter taxi to address a handful of his supporters.
During the presidential debate at Serena Hotel, Mabirizi turned up forty minutes late and claimed he had been abducted hence the delay.
He claimed he would have beaten Museveni to the elections had he started campaigning early. Well, Mabirizi announced his bid early enough and since he won’t need to travel by commuter taxis in this scientific election error, he could upset Museveni.
He is a man to watch both for the lessons he learnt in the previous campaign and the laughter he brings to the tight race.
Maureen Kyalya Walube
Maureen Kyalya, just like Mabirizi will be making her second attempt at the presidency, having engineered a futile attempt in 2016.
Kyalya was born female by parents from two extremely contrasting families of the Busoga region of Uganda, and she calls her self a typical Musoga.
Kyalya’s mother Irene Florence Wekiya hails from an extremely educated, christened, and Westernised family of Luuka district in Busoga.
On the contrary, her father Lt Stephen Kyalya Kanobe was a Royal Prince and hereditary heir to the Busambira Kingdom of Busoga that was destroyed during colonial rule. He was therefore a traditional culturalist from an ordinary, semi-literate, social background.
Kyalya enjoys calling herself princess, she went to Buckley Primary School in Iganga, Iganga Secondary School, and Nabisunsa Girls School.
She emerged 11th in the country’s UNEB 1996 and went to Makerere University to study law from where she left Uganda for the United Kingdom.
Kyalya did not bring much to the previous elections except the bravery mustered to sing for Museveni a song calling him to quit power. This happened with Museveni just centimeters away, during a presidential debate at Serena.
Do you want to know how it ended? Museveni listened through and would later take a picture with Kyalya. Long story short, she is a woman to watch in the upcoming elections
Other aspirants include:
5. Nobert Mao
6. Nancy Kalembe
7. Dr. Kalim Moses Amin
8. Apostle Ben Israel Sseninde
9. Bob Paul Akileng
10. Isaac Sendagire Salongo
11. Mathias Semusu
12. Joseph Mwambazi
13. Stephen Kaweesa
14. Christopher Rugaba
15. Ambrose Kyomukama
16. Charles Mutaasa Kafeero
17. Dr. Joel Sekimpi (PhD)
18. Yosam Makooma Tunawooza
19. Fred Mwesigye
20. John Herbert Nkangabwa
21. Moses Byamugisha
22. Fred Chemuko
23. Ruhunda Maguru
24. Francis Elton Lakalle Nyero
25. Edward Niyonzima
26. Dr. Daniel Okello (PhD)
28. Darlen Kamusiime
29. Pastor Godwin Sempebwa
30. Dr. Amir Kabunga
31. Dan Matsiko
32. Christopher Aine