Kampala, Uganda |URN | Veteran politician Yonasani Kanyomozi does not believe that the National Unity Platform [NUP] under Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu can wrest power from the ruling National Resistance Movement [NRM] party without bloodshed.
Mr Kanyomozi, a Uganda People’s Congress [UPC] stalwart says anyone challenging the current regime cannot succeed without extensive fatalities.
In an interview with this publication, he notes that the only way regime change can happen under the current political situation is through a popular uprising which will result in many casualties. Mr Kanyomozi says this line of regime change is a steep sacrifice and too high a cost to pay.
He believes that the 1981 to 1986 liberation war that brought the NRM to power also cost thousands of lives but has instead made the political climate in the country much worse than before.
Mr Kanyomozi says Kyagulanyi faces an uphill struggle because no matter what happens, the NRM will not hand over power. He doubts that the Electoral Commission [EC] can be able to announce Robert Kyagulanyi as the winner of the polls should he win the 2021 presidential election.
Mr Kanyomozi believes that the result of the presidential election has already been manipulated and the winner predetermined in order to give the ruling party a victory.
Election campaigns kicked off on 9th, November 2020 and are expected to close on 12th, January 2021 after which Ugandans will go to polls to elect their President and Members of Parliament [MP] on January 14th, 2021.
Ugandans will choose the next president from the eleven candidates nominated by the Electoral Commission [EC] among whom is the incumbent President, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni who has led for 35 years.
Some of the key contenders in the race are NUP’s flag bearer Robert Kyagulanyi alias Bobi Wine, Forum for Democratic Change’s (FDC) Patrick Oboi Amuriat, Alliance for National Transformation [ANT] candidate Gen. Mugisha Muntu and independent candidate Gen. [Rtd] Henry Tumukunde.
For the past one month that these presidential candidates have been campaigning, they have been met with the brute force of the police and other security forces.
In many places where candidates especially Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu of the National Unity Platform [NUP] and Patrick Amuriat Oboi of the Forum for Democratic Change [FDC] have gone, they have been teargassed or even arrested after clashing with the police especially in regards to campaign venues and observance of the COVID-19 Standard Operating Procedures [SOPs].
These events and others at some point have caused loss of lives which has attracted criticism from sections of the public and the international community who have called for a peaceful democratic process and respect for human rights.
However, some high ranking military officers like Brig. Deus Sande, the commandant of the Uganda People’s Defence Forces [UPDF’s] Armoured Warfare Training School, Masaka Armoured Brigade have already vowed that they are not ready to hand over power to people like Kyagulanyi.
Sande was quoted by media saying: “As long as we are still here, we are not ready to give out power to ideologically bankrupt people. We cannot give away Ugandans. We cannot spoil what we struggled for many years ago. We are not ready.
Do you think we are planning a handover? No. We are planning for consolidation of what we struggled for. It is up to the young generation to decide where they want to take Uganda but they should know that the Uganda they live in is not what it was many years ago. Uganda should not go the Somali way.”
Equally, Maj. Gen. Kahinda Otafiire, the Minister for East African Affairs recently said that he did not fight in the bush for a musician like Kyagulanyi to lead him.
Meanwhile, following the widespread riots that marred the electoral campaign on 18th and 19th November after the arrest of Kyagulanyi, President Museveni warned the protesters to stop playing with fire and reminded them that he is a skilled fighter.
At least 50 people were reported to have been killed and others hospitalized with bullet wounds in the brief protests.