How Uganda’s presidential aspirants are more colourful than those vying to replace Obama

President Museveni picks up nomination papers for 2016 presidential race.
President Museveni picks up nomination papers for 2016 presidential race.

On 31st July 2015, as President Museveni picked nomination forms to stand as NRM’s party flag bearer, Mbabazi did the same at his home in Kololo by announcing that he will stand as an independent on the NRM ticket. While announcing his presidential bid, Mbabazi said: “The NRM has distracted my intentions and therefore I will stand as an independent in the 2016 general elections.” Responding to Lumumba’s utterances on him breaking the law, Mbabazi, a lawyer by profession responded: “The Constitution of the Republic of Uganda says that any person can stand as an independent of which I fall under that category of ‘any person’. At the same time as Mbabazi was picking up his nomination papers, the former Vice chancellor of Uganda’s leading public tertiary institute, Makerere University, Prof Venansious Baryamureeba, whose announcement took everybody by surprise, also picked nominations forms as an independent candidate.

Baryamureeba, whose reign at Makerere brought the university’s rankings back to top in Africa from about the 20th position to about 9th in his first year as vice chancellor, joins politics from a no political background. Most Ugandans view him as an excellent educationist and many believe joining politics could prove to be the greatest mistake he has ever made in his life. “That man Baryamureeba should be vying for a ministerial post as an education minister. He did us well when he took over Makerere University which had lost its glory. What is he doing with this useless politics?” asked a former information technology student at Makerere University who preferred to stay anonymous. He added that Prof Barya, as he’s popularly known amongst students, built the only state of the world IT suite in the East African region. “Going into active politics is a waste of his time after all he can’t win an election,” the former IT student added.

Last Tuesday, Uganda’s Electoral Commission (EC) witnessed one of the most annoying exercises that seemed full of mediocre presidential aspirants. A one little known Elton Joseph Mabiriizi claiming to be a business man, also picked nomination forms and vowed to reduce Uganda’s bloated parliament of over 380 members of parliament by half. At the same time, another man, also unheard of and claiming to be a lawyer, turned up at the EC’s offices saying that he wants to unseat President Yoweri Museveni to end dictatorship.

As if that was not enough, a man, who arrived to pick nomination forms on foot walked into the EC’s courtyard claiming to be a teacher from some unknown school in Wakiso District. He said he wanted to fight for the plight of teachers when he unseats Museveni. Before all this ended, another aspirant, one William Mwesigye claiming to be an auditor by profession, stunned the EC staff when he bitterly attacked an EC policeman that was taking his pictures. “I want to know when you, a policeman, took up a job as a journalist. Why are you taking my picture? You’re the type of people that I want to get rid of when I take over power from Museveni,” the angry man shouted.

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