Why did President Museveni (NRM) loose so badly in Buganda in the 2021 elections?

What can the President (NRM) do to restore the lost glory and respect in

I am writing this article in response to President Museveni’s speech made hours after him being declared winner of the 2021 Presidential elections by Justice Byabakama Chairman of the Electoral Commission.


President Museveni came to power after a five year guerilla war against Milton Obote and later overthrew Tito Okello Lutwa who had assumed the presidential office after Obote abandoned office.

The people of Buganda played a very big role in fighting Obotes government.

There were a good number of rebel groups operating in the Buganda region among them were the Federal Movement of Uganda (FEDEMU) led by the late Nkwanga, Uganda Freedom Movement (UFM) led by Lutakoome Kayira and the National Resistance Movement (NRA) led by Yower Kaguta Museveni who seized power in 1986.

In his speech, Mr. Museveni furiously attributes his poor performance in the 2021 Presidential elections in the Buganda region largely as sectarian and tribalistic.

He went on to blame the religious leaders for being sectarian as if to say that the people of Buganda did not vote him simply because he is not a Muganda, put another way, the people of Buganda over-whelmingly voted Mr Robert Kyagulanyi Sentamu a.k.a. Bobi Wine because he is a Muganda.

It should be noted that the NRM as a party lost badly in this region, majority of the National Resistance Movement (NRM) big wigs lost their seats in the next Parliament (2021-2026). Among the losers were the Vice President Edward Ssekandi, the NRM Chief Whip Ruth Nankabirwa, and Ministers included Honourables; Ronald Kibuule, Judith Nabakooba, John Chrysostom Muyingo, Rose Mary Sseninde, Haruna Kasolo, Bamulanzeki Ssempijja, Amellia Kyambadde, and Florence Nkiwala kiyinji needless to mention the MPs.

Given that background I wish to disagree with Mr Museveni based on the following:

In the 2021 Presidential race, among others, were three Baganda contestants namely Willy Mayambala, John Katumba and Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, the later amassed a huge number of votes yet the other two scored very badly.

How do you explain this yet all of them were Baganda?
Why wouldn’t they share their votes equally since all of them belong to the same tribe?

Honorables; Bamulanzeki Ssempijja, Kiwanda Suubi and Ruth Nankabirwa echoed the same words in Mr. Museveni’s speech.

In western Uganda, Mr. Museveni “won” all the polling stations with a magnitude of above 90%. How can someone explain this? Can we attribute this scenario as sectarian or tribal?

In the previous elections, Mr. Museveni has won the Buganda vote with the exception of a few polling stations yet in these elections were more powerful political cadres such as Paul Ssemwogerere in 1996, the Late Sebana Kizito in 2011 plus other elections that preceded thereafter where people like Abed Bwanika, the late Nasser Ntege sebaggala a.k.a. Seya, Betty Kamya all of whom were Baganda by tribe.

Question is, why did Mr. Museveni win the vote in the Buganda region then or should we say that the people in Buganda then weren’t Baganda?

The assertion that the voting was tribal and sectarian defeats logic.

Mr. Museveni further attacked religious leaders blaming them for being sectarian that it’s them that fueled sectarianism in their sermons hence contributing to his poor performance and his NRM cadres in the Buganda region.

The Vice President, Edward Ssekandi and J.C. Muyingo are staunch Catholics. The Catholic Church in Uganda wouldn’t wish to lose such a well-positioned fellows in government.

Hon. Ruth Nankabirwa was very instrumental in organising the consecration and installation of the Archbishop Kazimba Mugalu. The Church of Uganda wouldn’t wish her loss for that matter.

It isn’t in order to blame the Church for someone’s failure, all these are strong pillars in church whom the church can never play about.

All the church blamed was the violence and police and military brutality during the campaign period.

The voters in the Buganda region simply made a statement fulfilling their constitutional mandate as enshrined in Article (1) “All power belongs to the people who shall exercise their sovereignty in accordance to this constitution”, therefore to place blame on the people of Buganda for their decision is utterly wrong.

The probable reasons why Mr. Museveni lost so badly in the Buganda region
are as follows;

1. Failure to deliver Buganda’s demands such as Federo.

2. Failure to compensate the Luwero gorilla war victims.

3. The poor handling of demonstrations and riots in Kampala and her neighbors which resulted into loosing over 56 lives of whom half of the were presumed innocent and over 500 people hospitalized with serious injuries.

4. In addition to that, the last five years have been characterized with military and police brutality, torture, arbitrary arrests and incarceration of citizens in Safe houses (Torture chambers) without trial. Even those on duty would not be spared such as the journalists.

5. The Togikwatoko article 103b which saw the Presidential age limit removed from the Constitution to favour Mr. Museveni was a betrayal and deprivation of people’s integrity, freedoms and rights.

6. The lack of tolerance towards the members of opposition; we saw Hon Kyagulanyi, Hon. Zaake and Hon. Nambooze battered to near death.

The regime must know that “EVEN YOUR ENEMY DESERVES RESPECT”. Holding divergent views must not tantamount to enmity, we must learn to agree to disagree and move on to enhance Democracy and the Rule of Law in Uganda.

7. The incomprehensible Corruption and embezzlement of government resources by those in power and nothing serious done to them so the corrupt weeds continue to disperse and disperse without control.

8. Tribalism when offering government jobs. In one of my Human Resource lectures, I discovered that in Uganda Jobs are offered based on technical know who rather than technical know how.

Jobs are no longer offered on merit, it’s a business of relatives, and village mates, that’s why you the service is lukewarm in many if not all government offices. A vivid example is the Lands office, you cannot get an official search report in time if you have not paid a bribe to the officials responsible, sometimes you pay in the bank but never get the search report if you don’t pay a bribe.

To underpin the fact of tribalism in job offering in government, simply take a look at the list of District Retuning Officers, URA, UNRA, recruitment and promotions in Uganda Police and the Army.

This practice has rendered many young men and women jobless and frustrated because they’re idle, and because of that how can you expect to be loved?

9. Important to note is the clique that surrounds Mr. Museveni, these fellows deceive and continue to lie to the President, they never tell him the truth, and they’re too egocentric and are self-seeking.

Instead of telling Mr. Museveni that the NRM ship is capsizing in the Buganda region they instead deceive that the loss is attributed to sectarian and tribal tendencies, this defeats logic, why the people in Buganda chose to throw away all the big shots including the Vice President is not because these people haven’t worked for them but are tired of the monopoly.

The NRM must find the right gargets to detect the right direction in which the wind is blowing otherwise the political storm might surprise them further.
The list is endless.
What can the regime do to restore its lost glory and respect?

In my opinion, the regime must find honest and correct answers to the
problems highlighted above.
The writer is a former University Lecturer
Buyondo Paddy
Email: buyondopaddy@gmail.com

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