By close of business on Tuesday, the writing was clear on the wall that 10 people had been cleared by the Electoral Commission to challenge the incumbent, President Yoweri Museveni in the forthcoming 2021 general elections.
The ruling NRM presidential flag bearer led the line in getting nominated on Monday.
At around 10:00 am, flanked by his wife and ten supporters allowed at Kyambogo cricket grounds, Museveni arrived with his full presidential motorcade and escorts.
Meanwhile, on several streets and roads leading to Kyambogo, songs of praise for the NRM presidential flag bearer blared through speakers and being danced to by groups of supports donning yellow NRM t-shirts.
However, unlike previous nominations, where Museveni would be thronged by huge crowds and thereafter proceed to address a mass rally, this time round, the NRM candidate had not more than 10 party members who later joined him at Speke Resort Munyonyo to launch the manifesto.
However, it was not all rosy for National Unity Platform’s Robert Kyagulanyi and Forum for Democratic Change’s Patrick Amuriat, who are Museveni’s biggest challengers.
Both presidential candidates were arrested either prior or immediately after their nomination as police fired tear gas to disperse their supporters.
In one incident, Amuriat had to be forcefully grabbed and delivered to the nomination centre barefooted whereas in another almost similar fracas, Police had to break into Kyagulanyi’s vehicle to arrest him and return him home.
For Mugisha Muntu, Henry Tumukunde, Norbert Mao , Fred Mwesigye, Willy Mayambala and Joseph Kabuleta, there was nothing much to write home about their nomination as the process was almost as smooth as possible.
However, the story was quite different for John Katumba and Nancy Kalembe, the only female candidate who had to wait longer before being nominated as their first attempts were futile for failure to pay the shs20 million nomination fees.
At last, the duo was cleared to stand in the forthcoming presidential elections.
The Electoral Commission had earlier banned the aspirants from having processions while going for their nomination to prevent the spread of Coronavirus.
To ensure this, each candidate was allowed only 11 people, himself inclusive as well as only three vehicles cleared by security and consequently, several roads were blocked to ensure there is no traffic disruption of the candidates.
Security also designed specific routes to be used by the presidential aspirants as they headed for their nomination.
Shortly after his nomination, the incumbent, President Museveni warned against candidates against participating in violence or else they would be met with resistance.
“If you want to bring chaos here, you will regret it…No one is better than us when it comes to fighting and fighting weapons. NRM fought to bring peace and so we don’t play,”Museveni said on Monday.
Just like it had been predicted by many, chaos erupted in several parts of the city that saw police fire tear gas and bullets to disperse the irate crowds.
Consequently, over 50 supporters were arrested.
However, later in a tweet, the Presidential advisor on special operations, who also serves as the First Son, Lt Gen Muhoozi Kainerugaba warned that violence would be met with the resistance it deserves.
“…we are much stronger than you can ever imagine being. If you want to fight we will simply defeat you. We want peace! But if you attempt to fight us then bring it on,”Muhoozi tweeted.
Having been in power for more than 30 years, 76-year-old Museveni is the only president most seen and many have since labeled him a dictator who ought to have retired.
However, speaking during his manifesto launch, Museveni insisted that he is still around because Ugandans vote for him.
“Some people have been saying Museveni has refused to retire. It is not that I don’t want to retire or that I don’t have where to retire but one of the reasons is that if Ugandans still want us to participate, I will continue making myself available,”Museveni said.
Running his manifesto under the theme, “securing your future”, Museveni insists that he wants to accomplish the mission he started when the NRA/M captured power in 1986.
“Over the years, you have renewed this mandate and enabled NRM to make steady progress in taking Uganda to modernity through job creation and inclusive development. We are now ready for take-off.”
For 38 year old musician Robert Kyagulanyi, the nomination was a big step towards changing the status quo in Uganda.
“……we are witnessing now is the launch of a critical phase in our struggle to liberate our country from a dictatorship that has crippled us for close to four decades. We have closed the book of Lamentation.
We have now opened the book of Acts. Fellow Ugandans, I present myself as a servant, not a boss. We are going to run a people-centered government,”Kyagulanyi said shortly after nomination.
He insisted that he is here to represent those who have been marginalized by the “system”.
Forum for Democratic Change flag bearer, Patrick Amuriat said he is here to continue with the “liberation struggle”.
“We as FDC will never give up until the yoke of dictatorship is removed from the necks of the people of this country. My candidature represents the 90% of people who continue to suffer. We go into election working for a win and if it doesn’t come, we should rally the population to ensure the country is given back to people,”Amuriat, also christened the villager said.
Former army commander, Maj Gen Mugisha Muntu said he represents a rare breed of politicians who practice what they preach.
“…we ask you to trust us and give us your votes. You will not be disappointed. We are a totally different group of people, we are value-driven and we really hope and pray that Ugandans can trust us,”Muntu , who is running on the Alliance for National Transformation ticket said.
To former spymaster, Lt. Gen. Henry Tumukunde, the forthcoming 2021 election is the most important in his life after the 1980 one that he thinks ought to change affairs of the country.
According to analysts, with opposition strongman and four time presidential aspirant, Dr.Kizza Besigye out of the picture, the 2021 election is expected to be a two-horse race between the incumbent, Yoweri Museveni and popstar, cum National Unity Platform leader Robert Kyagulanyi.
However with mass campaign rallies banned for fear of the spread of Coronavirus, opposition presidential candidates are expected to face off with security agencies on several occasions over the guidelines.
The 2021 presidential election will see three retired 1986 National Resistance Army generals pitted against eight civilians to vie for the highest office in the land.
List of 2021 presidential candidates
2. Henry Tumukunde(Independent)
3. Mugisha Muntu(Alliance for National Transformation)
4.Robert Kyagulanyi (National Unity Platform)
5. Patrick Amuriat (FDC)
7. John Katumba (Independent)
8. Norbert Mao(Democratic Party)
9. Nancy Kalembe(Independent)
10. Fred Mwesigye(Independent)
11. Joseph Kabuleta(Independent)