Opposition, NRM clash  over Museveni 2026 bid

The National Coordinator for Bazzukulu and also the head of the NRM National Chairperson’s Office, Ms Hadijah Namyalo, signs on a banner calling on President Museveni to contest again in 2026 in Kyambogo, Kampala on October 19, 2022. PHOTO / ABUBAKER LUBOWA. 

What you need to know:

  • Opposition accuses the youth group supporting the candidature of misdirecting the country.
  • Mr Wilfred Nuwagaba, the Shadow Attorney General, said this is a common script by the NRM, where such movements that start out as individual appeals are adopted by the party.

The  push for President Museveni’s seventh elective term in office has sparked off a rumbling battle of words between ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) party leaders and Opposition politicians who are now accusing the architects of “Jajja Omalako Tova Ku Main” mantra of diverting Ugandans from important issues in the country.
The NRM secretariat, however, said the endorsement of President Museveni as the ruling party’s 2026 ideal candidate, was not their official position.

The debate over Mr Museveni’s tacit 2026 bid started on Wednesday after a section of party leaders led by Ms Hadijah Namyalo Uzeiye, the architect and coordinator of Bazukkulu (grandchildren), declared Mr Museveni as their ideal 2026 presidential candidate and advised other party members harbouring similar ambitions to “lie low like an envelope”.
“We, the Bazzukulu, have examined the situation and appreciated President Museveni’s performance. He is our best choice for 2026 and we cannot be blamed for that. This is a vote- of- confidence in a President who has delivered the country from a reign of terror to rule of law, peace, and stability,” Ms Namyalo told this publication on Wednesday.

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At the same event, senior presidential adviser on media, Mr Tamale Mirundi, said: “Museveni is still around for 10 years and he should not hand over power to someone who will drive the country back to where it was [before he captured power].”
Senior Opposition leaders told this publication that they had received the developments with consternation and accused Ms Namyalo and her group of misdirecting the country ahead of the 2026 presidential elections.
Kampala Lord Mayor and Forum for Democratic Change vice president in charge of Buganda, Mr Erias Lukwago, said this is a propaganda move to portray Mr Museveni as the only one capable of leadership.

“Those repugnant antics are a clear manifestation of a deep-seated crisis in our body politic; Total bastardisation of the country. They are obviously in sync with the regime script on entrenching a personal rule through manipulating electoral processes. This time, they have cunningly choreographed it in such a way that projects Gen Museveni and his son Gen Muhoozi as the only potential candidates. The whole motive is to divert public attention on the deepening economic and political crisis as well as the hitherto emerging debate on political transition,” he said.
The Leader of Opposition in Parliament, Mr Mathias Mpuuga, said the youths have been hoodwinked by the handouts of the regime, distracting them from pressing issues.

Photo combo: NRM director for information and publicity, Mr Emmanuel Dombo (L) and the Leader of Opposition in Parliament, Mr Mathias Mpuuga (R).  PHOTOS/NRM/DAVID LUBOWA

“It’s a scheme to hire gullible unemployed youths to try and take the debate away from failed service delivery; enforced disappearance of citizens, corruption and failed economic policies. Other than insanity and sheer gullibility, how do you seek to organise a graduation for a student who’s [failed] all papers!  Those young people are victims, they need redemption,” he said.

Mr Wilfred Nuwagaba, the Shadow Attorney General, said this is a common script by the NRM, where such movements that start out as individual appeals are adopted by the party.
“They do this with his tacit approval and funding but disguised as an innocent move from those who purportedly love him more than they love their country. It is not surprising because Mr Museveni does not see himself alive when he is not a president and because he has vulgarised politics as a means of self-enrichment the praise singers can only keep drumming for him as a means to ‘eat’ ”, he said.

When contacted, Ms Namyalo dismissed what she called “misguided opposition noise” and advised “leaders in shadow government” to stop poking their noses into the affairs of the ruling party. 
She reiterated that Mr Museveni’s 2026 candidate is unstoppable and vowed to mobilise Ugandans to renew his mandate when his current five-five-year term year-term expires in 2026. “The Opposition is just jealous, even a blind person knows the achievements of NRM and President Museveni. They are divided and too weak to mount any meaningful challenge. They are just talking instead of reorganising themselves,” Ms Namyalo said.  
Mr Emmanuel Dombo, the NRM director for information and publicity, said while party members are at liberty to express their likes and aspirations, there are official party processes that must be fulfilled before a flag bearer is chosen.
“If they say we are happy with what the chairman has done, they are free to express their feelings. It is a spontaneous show of love and does not stop others from meeting and saying the same or a different thing,” Mr Dombo said.

He added: “In order for that to become official, it must go through the formal processes of the resolution of the secretary general and then be sent to the CEC for it to become part of the agenda to be discussed. That is the position of those members of NRM but it has not been considered by any official institution of the party.” He dismissed allegations by the Opposition that the youths have been fronted by the party.