New Plot to Block Bobi Wine on 2021 Ballot Leaks,Presidential Candidates Set To Undergo Drug Tests Before EC Approval
After a sense of tension and vigorous demonstrations, the Buganda road court yesterday evening remanded MP Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, fondly known by his stage name Bobi Wine to Luzira prison on grounds of inciting violence in the public during last year’s social media tax demonstrations.
Why is Bobi Wine a threat to Museveni’s power?
Bobi Wine’s magnetic pull on the electoral scene, which has helped the opposition in key by-elections, has increased paranoia within the ruling party. The realisation that the ground is slowly shifting under their feet has sent those in power into a panic.
These few electoral victories are a sign of what awaits President Museveni if he tries to run again in a country where around 65 percent of the population was born after he took power. His previous tactics of paying off voters and using the trauma of the past to coax people into voting for him are no longer working. And his attempt to talk to the young generation has ended in complete failure.
Young people have responded with contempt to Museveni calling them his “bazzukulu” (grandchildren); their aspirations largely do not include him ruling Uganda past his 77th birthday.
Young Ugandans face high unemployment rates and a lack of economic opportunities. What was once touted as Museveni’s greatest achievement – security – has been put to a great test the last two years. Crime has increased, with around 43 women targeted, kidnapped, raped and murdered within Kampala and the surrounding areas in the last 18 months.
Trying desperately to cover up the fact that his popularity is rapidly declining, the president has blamed the recent electoral setbacks on the Electoral Commission, which he has accused of being “full of rotten people”. This is a president grappling with defeat and fearing he could lose the next presidential vote.
Nothing about the arrest, torture and charges against Bobi Wine is new. Museveni has handled his main opponents and their supporters in the same way in the past. What is new is the ability of young people to organise, speak up and mobilise on and offline, galvanised by a young voice who is just like them – Bobi Wine.
His is the story of an outsider who brought his own folding chair to a table no one expected him to be at. Whether he will continue with the same gusto after his release and medical treatment remains to be seen. What Kyagulanyi has given young Ugandans is an idea and a hope for a post-Museveni future that the president cannot just wish away.
However, it will take a lot more effort on part of the opposition – beyond Bobi Wine and a growing cult-like following – to bring down Museveni’s rule
NRM Plans To Block Bobi Wine On 2021 Ballot
Strategists within the NRM party have this Monday evening met in Kampala and mooted new ideas on how to further constrain Bobi Wine Kyagulanyi Sentamu’s political activities and the main emphasis is on the 2021 elections.
The latest maneuver to overcome Bobi Wine is to introduce mandatory substance use test on all Ugandans seeking to run for electoral political office from LC1 to President. At the meeting in Kampala this Monday evening were some NRM MPs and Ministers who resolved to plan another Raphael Magyezi-like private members bill to overcome Kyagulanyi and others in the ballot box.
“Yes we have met this evening and there is no doubt we shall use every avenue to make sure Bayayes don’t lead this country. And directing EC to add that substance abuse test on the list of qualifications, besides the S6 minimum, is perfectly in order and there is nothing strange about it because it was used even in Ukrain in the just concluded elections. It will apply to candidates at all levels because the way some leaders are acting clearly shows they are under the influence of something,” says a Minister who is famous for originating very controversial things towards election time.
“We want that to be a requirement by the EC. Whoever goes for nominations must produce that certificate. You bring your own results which are validated upon fresh testing by the teams hired by the EC. You get nominated basing on your own certificate and once the contrary is established upon verification by the EC, your candidature is revoked.”
The Monday evening meeting was agreed that this will kill many birds with one stone for the Musevenists-including overcoming trouble causers both within NRM and out of it. “There are colleagues even in NRM whose strange courage can only be explained by addictive use of those banned substances. The guts which they debate and even confront police clearly shows we need that mandatory substance abuse test to level the ground as we compete with such colleagues,” another Minister MP said in an interview with one of the media houses in town.
“We are going to lead by example because for us in NRM all of us are going to show willingness to undergo that test and we are saying if it can apply in less important things like athletics, how about politics where people are seeking leadership?” That whoever is found to have smoked any of those drugs three years to nominations date will be declared ineligible to stand. “There will also be kawunyeemu to weed out such people as members arrive for debates in the national assembly,” says an elderly minister who was part of the Monday planning meeting in Kampala.
The MPs and ministers at the meeting agreed to peripherally share their proposals during tomorrow Tuesday NRM caucus meeting in Kampala which will be chaired by the President himself. “Whereas on the agenda chiefly is the discussion on the sugar bill, we shall brief the chairman about our plans and secure his backing to have this [mandatory substance abuse test] legislated into law so that the EC can accordingly adjust the list of nomination requirements ahead of 2021,” said a knowledgeable source.
The other plan is to create a small task force team whose work will be to subsequently meet the President and concretize the strategy on how to ultimately market the new anti-substance use proposals.
The substance abuse-related stigma is something NRM has deployed before to demonize its opponents. At the start of the 9th Parliament, a number of vocal MPs were subjected to tabloid reports linking them to substance abuse. The conclusion was that the courage with which they would shut up Ministers and challenged government positions on the floor could only have been as a result of substance abuse. The late Cerina Nebanda was one of the many victims of this stigma.
Whereas none of the MPs and Ministers close to the plot were willing to speak on record, many expressed readiness to subject themselves to that mandatory test saying it’s the best way to “sanitize our politics and rid it of riff raffs.” In the past Ukrainian elections, some of the would-be strong political contenders were overcome after they tested positive for substance usage.
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