Museveni is The Brand We Shall Sell

By Ofwono Opondo

July, 28, 15                        

The latest opinion poll by the New Vision Group, conducted in mid June validates a series of earlier ones by other reputable firms, and NRM’s own internal assessment that President Yoweri Museveni and NRM will win next year’s general elections with a landslide, leaving opposition elements struggling for the spoils. The figures and analysis from the polls are not only staggering but consistent, especially because presently there is united opposition leadership, although we expect them to wag tongues in self denials. Aspirants for MPs who have paid and picked NRM forms are a whooping 2017, constituencies and interests groups combined.
The wannabe presidents are vying out-trump each other by digging deep into their sacks firing at Museveni although, but should be aware that thrice the roosters have crowed in the past, and looks likely that if Mbabazi’s ego is sufficiently bruised, he could stand as an independent.
Figures from the market indicate that New Vision copies sold out countrywide as a result of the story, which had been backed up by the crowds that walked miles on end to join Museveni during the three days he was in Teso region that took him through Bukedea, Kumi, Soroti and Kaberamaido travelling mainly by road and ending meetings deep into the nights. As someone who was in these meetings, I should stress that Museveni’s message was drumming up support to the local people to embrace socio-economic transform by taking full advantage of the many government programs available in their respective areas.
The polls also showed that the indefatigable Kizza Besigye is still the preferred leader for the opposition except it is at a paltry 9.2 percent, leaving Mbabazi somersaulting, and FDC president Mugisha Muntu, gnashing teeth in a swamp. In January, a Daily Monitor sponsored poll conducted by IPSOS that sent heads rolling there gave Museveni 57% and Besigye 08% respectively.
On Friday Museveni picked nominations forms from Plot 10 Kyadonddo Road, and so we can say, the battle for votes has began, no more excuses. The reasons for voter preference for Museveni are not very hard to find and revolves around his personality as amiable, flexible, trustworthy and firm, as well as his record of many years as someone who has and continues to pull Ugandans from the political and economic doldrums.
We have decided not to have many personalities in the elections [filed who might distract from the central theme] because they may distract the voters from the central, which is continuity with the progress so far made under nrm and Museveni.
Travelling around the country there are visible signs of economic and social progress at personal, household, community and national levels. At personal level there is evidence that more and more Ugandans are embracing formal business entrepreneurship with gusto although still very modest in many places, but there is great enthusiasm and hope. Individual and community awareness, and creating wealth for prosperity are central to overall national development, Museveni told his audiences.
At the community level, health centres, education institutions and roads are getting more accessible, better and reliable, which further strengthens hope that government is delivering on its many previous election manifestoes. These will be the election battle ground with voters demanding for more and better services.
in fact nearly all MPs are going to defend their seats, but many in NRM will be doing so on the strength, real or perceived closeness to Museveni, hence Museveni becoming the solid brand we must all sell across the country. The past election track record of many candidates may not be much of a criteria, just as political background will not, and this pattern is not new as past elections during many newcomers are voted in attests.
The downsize, is of course, that NRM always finds itself with a very large number of inexperienced candidates with little or no name or voter recognition countrywide as MPs partly contributing to apparent dumbness in parliament. As expected, there will be some dissident activities of independents as in past elections which we hope a robust arbitration mechanism may help ameliorate, but even when this fails, it won’t adversely affect Museveni and NRM overall electoral victory.
The fact that NRM always won with huge margins regardless of these dissident behaviors is a sign of its strength and the ability to get people to fall into party line. This strategy helps NRM run a more presidential campaign with its presidential candidate pivotal addressing public rallies in all the districts and over 240 direct constituencies.
Much of the campaign work will fall on the NRM Secretariat, and Election Task Force that will be in charge of election management and logistics, and the volunteer groups of people not running for elections themselves. Without the option to close the party leader and with so many new candidates in other elections, they will have to ensure that voters know which box to tick, and that is the Man with the Hat and the NRM logo of the Yellow Bus.
Some opposition candidates will have the unenviable choice to print and distribute at their own costs Museveni’s posters and T-shirts to be seen as amiable as they did previously, which helps them get elected too.