With just eight days left to elections, government has declared February 18 a public holiday, to allow all registered voters participate in the forthcoming presidential polls.
A joint communication issued Wednesday by permanent secretary public service ministry Catherine Bitarakwate said “First Deputy Prime Minister and minister of Public Service informs the general public that Thursday 18th February, 2016 will be a public holiday to allow Ugandans participate in the National voting activities being organized by the Independent Electoral Commission.”
Eight candidates are vying for the presidency in the elections slated for this month with only one female contestant. The candidates are; National Resistance Movement (NRM)’s Yoweri Museveni, who has led the country since 1986 and is now eying a fifth term in office, Forum for Democratic Change (FDC)’s Kizza Besigye, a three time loser for the presidential seat; Amama Mbabazi, a former prime minister and ruling party stalwart now running as an independent; Benon Biraaro, former state house employee Maureen Kyalya and Prof Venansius Baryamureeba.
Other candidates include pastor Abed Bwanika, who has vowed to "rehabilitate homosexuals" and repatriate dictator Idi Amin’s remains from Saudi Arabia if elected –- and fellow evangelist Joseph Mabirizi, who aged 40 is the youngest of the challengers.
For Mabirizi, the key thing Uganda needs to fix is rampant corruption.
"The current regime has done nothing about it," he said.
Others say the country simply needs change.
Museveni is one of Africa's longest ruling presidents, beaten by Equatorial Guinea's President Theodore Obiang Nguema, Angola's Jose Eduardo Dos Santos, Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe and Cameroon's Paul Biya.
"Thirty years is exhausting," added Bwanika, 49. "I don't believe that there is a lot now President Museveni can offer in terms of energy, in terms of a vision for this country."
Museveni won elections in 2011 with 68 percent of the vote, but Bwanika believes this time he could face a second round.