Museveni Knows How To Play The Opposition Supporters

By Abbey Kibirige Semuwemba

Prognostication means prophecy, the action of predicting or forecasting, or prophesying future events.

A lot of opposition supporters believed Museveni would be gone by June of 2021. They believed that Kyagulanyi was going to do something different from Besigye before and after elections. In the end, he ended up getting 35% - the same percentage as Besigye got in the 2016 elections.

All the talk about how Museveni’s arm being too black and cancerous was just speculative entertainment. He even survived the Covid he had recently despite his old age.

And then there was "comedian " Ssegirinya Muhammad with his claims about a USA ship coming to liberate Ugandans.Well, I hate to be the one to break it to NUP supporters; that ship sailed ages ago. You need to get out from under your bridge and eat some avocado or something.

Museveni finessed his way out of the pathetic 2020-21 elections by doing what he has been doing since 2001. i.e. rigging. Up to now, i have never understood why some people expected something different that time. Actually, NUP supporters insulted whoever told them that Bobi was going to lose.

Bobi was a joke as the main opposition candidate - no policies sold to the public apart from jokes, propaganda, and music. He lied more often than not and was seen as delusional. The only opposition leader to have lied more in public than Bobi and appeared more delusional was Abed Bwanika. He swore an affidavit after the 2006 elections supporting Museveni’s win despite widespread open rigging, and he was among the former DP members accusing Besigye of being Museveni’s stooge at the DP reunion in 2020.

Much as I see Tinyefunza and Tumukunde as clowns in some of their past actions, it’s obvious they were spot on in their analysis of the 2020-21elections. However, Tumukunde went on to stand as a candidate, which confused me a bit. Most dictatorships today hold elections, but then manage them in a way to guarantee that the ruler always wins. Almost everyone knows this, but people still stand for presidency for other reasons.

Bobi, on the other hand, walked his way in the elections simply to increase his fame and make some money via NUP, especially.

He even didn't do anything, like serious protests after the elections. Bobi is the dude who sees a charging brown bear, then trips his friend as they run away. He has a habit of running away the few times he has been on the streets to protest.

Dictatorships conduct elections to help people feel better. People participating in elections are a way to have them express their consent to the system of governance. Voting is a form of buy-in and acceptance. By voting, citizens can demonstrate their patriotism and are encouraged to feel they are a part of something larger and more powerful than themselves.

Voting also serves a purpose in that some citizens embrace the illusion that they have some level of control over their lives and meaningful input into their governance.

If you give people the illusion of having a voice, then they will believe they have a voice. But if they find out they don't, they'll rebel. So, Museveni does it in a clever way. He allows the opposition to win a few by-elections and retain some posts, like Kampala Lord Mayor, in areas where they're popular.

Of course, NUP, FDC, and other parties will front candidates again in 2026; even Bobi will stand. He has already excited Ugandans with crowds, as we saw yesterday in Mbarara. He's basically selling elections to Ugandans again; something that exactly fits in Museveni’s interests.

It doesn't matter what percentages NRM gets. Unlike other dictators, Museveni doesn't give himself 70- 90% in elections. He has always made it believable between 53% and 68%. Those who give themselves a 90% are about ego. It's a lie that says, "everyone loves me!", the left over 1% accounts for the few people that complain but don't get killed.

Being part of a "slim minority" changes the behaviour of the populace to be more accepting and docile, to believe that they have no power. 53% is a near miss for the 47%, and just a little more fight would have possibly swayed the election.

My prognostication is Museveni will be around until illness or old age kills him or incapacitates him, or when he decides to hand over to his son, Muhoozi Kainerugaba. He will probably let the son take over from him in 2026 because everything seems to be in place now. Most importantly, he now has an opposition he can fully control. I’m probably wrong - prognostication is a risky endeavour.