As early signs going into the 2026 polls continue to heavily suggest how sitting President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni is rehearsing for yet another rap for the presidency, a new agitation is out in town calling for the ban of the universal adult suffrage as universally applied in determining who to hold the Presidency.
As opposed to the current legal regime where each and every 18-year-old Ugandan is permitted to participate in determining who should be his or her president through a private vote, the masterminds of the new campaign now propose how that position of the law should be cast away.
And that the same should then be replaced with an election college formed from amongst members of parliament who should be the ones entrusted with the huge responsibility of electing the President for the rest of Ugandans!
The freshest political move would immediately trigger memories of similar machinations that were first designed by Uganda’s legendary smooth operator, Dr Apollo Milton Obote Opeto. Obote came up with such political card after sensing that his chances at attaining the presidency through subjecting himself to the voters was slimming. The political animal from Akokoro accordingly chose the short cut of using parliament to rubber stamp his election.
For purposes of juggling our minds back into history, before the agitation for lifting the presidential age limit gained currency, Museveni’s game planners had earlier on thrown up the card of turning MPs into electors of the president which is the same bill which is being sold to the country now.
But for the fact that Museveni’s people were at the time possessed of the luxury of using the largely gullible parliament to do the bidding of erasing the presidential age roadblock from our Constitution on his behalf, the controversial bill now being touted, was at the time conveniently locked away in the fridge to cool off.
Before going further, it is worthily pointing out the fact that Museveni faced his toughest campaign ever during the 2021 elections. This was moreover at the hands of the then political rookie, but charismatic opponent in singer Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu aka Bobi Wine.
Museveni given all the massive funds and state apparatus at his disposal coupled with the fact that Bobi was disadvantaged all through the campaign rallies by arrests and malicious breakup of his rallies, managed to obtain slightly above fifty percent of the vote cast whilst Bobi proudly walked off with close to forty percent of the same.
Just as we all came to understand, Bobi ended up grabbing Buganda region and Busoga which were prior to the feat pulled off by the young man from Magere, Museveni’s legendary strongholds. Such was the pain inflicted by Bobi that Kaguta vowed in its aftermath to crush Bobi on the way to supposedly erase the singer-turned political celebrity from the face of Uganda politics.
“Bobi and his NUP are the biggest problem of Uganda currently,” a dejected Kaguta told a group of his party loyalists as well as lawmakers he had summoned at Kyankwanzi to mull over the election results in the days following the close of the polls.
In a move to probably instil dread in NUP, its lieutenants as well as foot soldiers, the regime launched the toughest crackdown yet against the supporters of Bobi and his party. The swoop carried out by security operatives including those that had been recalled from fighting terrorists in Somalia ended with the death of more than fifty people and imprisonment of hundreds of others.
The same was followed by the much-publicized arrest of the party lawmakers in Mohammed Ssegirinnya and Allan Ssewannyana on the alleged charges of financing thugs to hack to death scores of locals in Masaka. The MPs remain in incarceration to date even after being released on bail by the courts of law.
But much as the president has all the means at his disposal to crush Bobi and NUP out of the picture, Museveni on the other hand knows quite well that doing so can brew unwanted ramifications for him, including sanctions from the nosy democracy minders in Europe. This is why besides shabbily handling Bobi and group, the president has been known to court them using the carrot as well.
And since the president knows that handling Bobi and his people shabbily as they race for power in another election can further dip his reputation among his backers from the international world, is the reason why Museveni would be naturally persuaded to choose the safest route of using the MPs to give him another shot at power.
Yes, some voices within the ruling NRM and those close to the president are denying how he is not interested in usurping the power of the masses by using the MPs to elect him. But it should be recalled how even when it was first suggested he was plotting to erase the presidential age limit clause from the Constitution in order to cling on, Museveni was quick to jump to denial.
“I think at 75 years, there is no more one can offer at the presidency,” Museveni retorted when approached with the question during a televised interview. But backtracked later by supporting the removal of the clause. And as they say, the rest is history.
As we have come to understand, Museveni loves to speak through proxies. He didn’t start the age limit debate himself. Nor did he start the sole candidate debate himself, third parties were the ones who did so on his behalf and fully with his consent.
Just like Museveni has used proxies in the past to bring up projects in his favor, a group of defeated ruling party lawmakers have now come up to kick start the conversation of turning MPs into electors of the president. And I won’t be surprised if such a Bill carries the day since our current parliament can without doubt, vote into law Bills that are injurious to them at the best of the president.
- Mr. Stephen Kasozi Muwambi is a seasoned crime investigative writer, majoring in judicial-based stories. His two decades’ experience as a senior investigative journalist has made him one of the best to reckon on in Uganda. He can also be reached via [email protected]
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