On Wednesday, the NRM heavyweights, realising that the winds of change were blowing hard, arranged for Gen Museveni to go on the election campaign where they made him appear on the very spot that Mayanja had been officially allocated to. Museveni’s arrival at the scene resulted in his security detail firing live bullets in the air that scattered many who had gathered to listen to their candidate. It is an open secret in Uganda that Museveni has often joked that you show any Ugandan a gun and they will run like mad. You can imagine what the sound from these weapons can do to a frightened person. It now seems that they’ve got so used to the firing of live bullets during campaigns that they no longer seem to be fazed by them. By the time Museveni’s security convoy had silenced their guns, Bobi Wine had been placed under what the Ugandan authorities have now come to often term as being in ‘protective custody’, that is, to protect the candidate from his own supporters.
In an address to his supporters soon after his release from this custody at Kira Police Station, miles from where the election rally was taking place, a cool and calm Bobi Wine told his supporters that Gen Museveni had decided to ‘take over my campaign’ in order to solicit votes for the NRM candidate. Appealing for calm, he urged his supporters to keep law and order, reminding them that he himself was a peaceful and law-abiding candidate who did not want to fight ‘my president’. He then shifted to another location where he wound up his campaign that was attended by a mammoth crowd. Many supporters were touched by a six-year-old boy who stepped on the campaign rostrum to pray for Bobi Wine’s electoral victory.
By the time all votes had been counted late Friday evening, the six-year-old’s prayer had been answered. Bobi Wine had won a landslide victory that surpassed more than five times all the votes garnered by his opponents. The win gave Ugandans a lingering hope that may be, just maybe, they could one day remove Museveni from power through the ballot. But on more than two occasions during his 31 years in power, the Ugandan president has been beaten at the polls by his erstwhile opponent, Dr Kizza Besigye, only for the incumbent to circumvent the number of votes cast for him and his opponents and emerge as the winner. Not even Gen Idi Amin, Uganda’s supposedly worst leader, at least in the eyes of the western media, has ever wielded the kind of power that Museveni presently holds. Despite the fact Museveni has appointed 30 ministers to his cabinet, it is an open secret that not a single cabinet minister can decide on anything in their department without first seeking approval from the general.