Research World International, a research firm with interest in opinion polling, has released its 2019 predictions which put President Museveni at 32 per cent of the votes if Ugandans were to go to elections now.
If the poll was right, keeping others factors constant, this would be Museveni’s lowest ever rating in an opinion poll.
The Ntinda based firm led by Dr Patrick Wakida shows that Kyadondo East MP Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine is atop opposition figure Kizza Besigye but still behind Museveni.
Bobi Wine would secure 22 per cent of the votes while Besigye, a four-time presidential candidate, would go down to a miserable 13 per cent.
While 20 per cent of the eligible voters are still undecided, if Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga, DP President General Norbert Mao, UPC President Jimmy Akena and Maj Gen Mugisha Muntu of Alliance for National Transformation (ANT) party stood for president, they would each get 2 per cent of the votes.
According to the poll, former presidential candidate Amama Mbabazi and First Son Lt Gen Muhoozi Kainerugaba would score 1 per cent while First Lady Janet Museveni would score 0.2 per cent and Jeema president Asuman Basalirwa with 0.10 per cent.
According to Dr Wakida, the question was put to all 2,042 respondents across the country who participated in the survey.
On a regional level, Museveni would not score over 50 per cent in all the regions, 47 per cent in Western region 19 per cent in Central region.
Bobi Wine on the other hand, would dominate Kampala and Central region, scoring 35 per cent and 33 per cent, respectively.
Besigye would score 10 per cent in Kampala and 12 per cent in Central region in the same poll.
Familiar political script?
According to TheEastAfrican, Ugandans are watching the re-enactment of a familiar political script as the country moves towards its next general election in 2021.
“The manner of arrest, maltreatment and presentation in court of musician cum politician Bobi Wine reads like the same script as was applied to Dr Kizza Besigye once he emerged as a serious threat to President Museveni when he first arrived on the scene,” said a senior lecturer at Makerere University, who preferred not to be identified, saying recent developments at the institution mean they have to tread carefully in discussions of political matters.
Mwambutsya Ndebesa, an outspoken political and development historian at Makerere University said, “There has been no change. What we are seeing is a continuation of how we saw the state deal with Dr Kizza Besigye, in fact Ugandans should brace for more. The instrumentalisation of law for power retention is only going to get worse,” he said.
In a Kampala court on Thursday, the prosecution attempted to block a bail application for Robert Kyagulanyi (Bobi Wine), who is the MP for Kyadondo.
State prosecutors also attempted to block fellow MPs, saying they could not guarantee Mr Kyagulanyi’s adherence to bail conditions.
He was finally released on a bail of $265.
The drama in court echoed state efforts to keep a major political challenger in prison as was seen 14 years ago when Dr Besigye—then the biggest political opponent to President Museveni—faced multiple charges including rape.
The state at one stage charged Dr Besigye both in the civil court and the military court.
The reach of the institutional hold has been especially apparent in the control of the media space, where the police, resident district commissioners (RDCs) and the regulator, Uganda Communications Commission (UCC), have mounted sustained pressure.
While the police, at the command of the RDCs, have broken into studios of at least two radio stations to remove Dr Besigye during live-on-air interviews in Jinja and Mubende, the UCC has applied its regulatory powers to ask media houses to suspend staff or risk cancellation of their licences.
According to Mr Ndebesa, the fact that “a candidate outside of the traditional west—home to Museveni, Besigye, Amama Mbabazi and Mugisha Muntu —a youth constituency, the religious factor where a non-Anglican” has emerged as a major contender, is leaving the outcome of 2021 interestingly poised.
Additional reporting by The East African