The emergence of Kyadondo East MP Ssentamu Kyagulanyi as a so-called main challenger against President Museveni has scaring parallels to that of former ‘Super Minister’ John Patrick Amama Mbabazi in 2015.
When Mbabazi emerged to challenge President Museveni in 2015, his supporters argued that Dr Kizza Besigye, a man who has led the most serious challenge for the presidency, gives way and leaves the stage to the new entrant on the block.
Under intense pressure from Mbabazi acolytes and the ever gullible and deceptive donors, Besigye dithered with the idea of backing the former Prime Minister and only definitively abandoned it after a foresighted section of his party insisted that there was no chance of him making way for another candidate.
Mbabazi insisted on contesting and the results bore out those who backed Besigye to stand after the Go-Forward candidate polled a measly 136,519 votes. To put Mbabazi’s abysmal performance in context, it is important to note that there were 477,319 invalid votes.
Suffice to note that Erias Lukwago, a key Besigye ally, polled 176,637 votes to win the mayoral race, 40,118 votes more than Mbabazi managed to marshal countrywide.
Fast forward to 2020 and we are back to the situation we had in 2015.
Bobi Wine, a singer-turned-politician after winning a by- election in Kyadondo East parliamentary race, now wants to challenge President Museveni for the presidency, which is well within his rights.
However, Bobi Wine, like Mbabazi in 2015, has solely focused his artillery on Dr Besigye, insisting the veteran opposition politician should give way to another candidate to challenge Mr Museveni.
Like a football player focusing on a teammate who does not possess the ball while the opponent freely dribbles, Bobi Wine and his excitable acolytes have turned their arsenal on Besigye, accusing him of monopolising the struggle to remove Museveni.
And Bobi Wine has surrounded himself with the same opposition MPs that coalesced around Mbabazi in 2015, parroting the claims they did in 2015.
Masaka Municipality MP Mathias Mpuuga and Busiro East MP Medard Sseggona were the lynchpins behind Mbabazi’s botched bid in 2015. The duo are now the master planners of Bobi Wine’s candidature and have been leading a covert campaign against Dr Besigye.
In announcing that he will not be running in the 2021 elections, Dr Besigye has literally given this group the proverbial rope to hang itself.
They have been arguing that he is not giving them space, now they have the space but they are still grumbling. With them, Dr Besigye is damned if he does and damned if he does not.
The spiky nature of NUP’s supporters reared its ugly ahead on Sunday during the burial of Former Kampala Mayor Nasser Ntege Ssebagala in the Kisaasi suburb of Kampala.
At the burial, Dr Besigye was notably absent and he later tweeted that he is in self-isolation as he may have potentially been exposed to #Covid-19.
Bobi Wine’s supporters were, however, running bonkers on social media, accusing Dr Besigye of deliberately skipping Ssebaggala’s burial for political reasons.
Ssebaggala famously supported Dr Besigye’s 2001 presidential bid, after his own attempt at contesting was upended on grounds that he lacked the minimum academic qualifications.
So when Dr Besigye was absent from Ssebaggala’s burial, Bobi Wine’s supporters went apoplectic.
Bobi Wine and his supporters now have the stage to themselves and should be wary of not crumbling Mbabazi style.