Uganda’s forthcoming presidential elections heat up as Museveni arrests former confidante

As Uganda gears up for its February 18 presidential elections, it seems incumbent President Yoweri Museveni is tying up loose ends. Museveni, who has been Uganda’s President for over 30 years, recently ordered the arrest of a Ugandan General who helped him in the coup that installed him as President. The said General, David Sejusa, has accused Museveni of being a Dictator and reneging on an agreement made between the two. Museveni shut down a newspaper Daily Mirror in 2013 when it published a story allegedly unearthing Museveni’s plan to groom his son for Presidency and replace him as President. Museveni found out that the Whistleblower was General Sejusa. Many believe Sejusa’s arrest, along with the arrest of several pro-democracy Ugandan leaders would forestall any uprising Museveni could encounter in his bid for a fifth term.

However, that seems to be the least of Museveni’s problems, as analysts say the forthcoming election is billed to be the tightest since he became President. The main opposition candidates have huge followings in Uganda. A low turnout is however predicted for the elections as most eligible voters believe that their votes do not matter, because Museveni always wins. Here are the major contestants in the Ugandan presidential elections:

Yuweri Museveni

The former Soldier has been President of Uganda since 1986 after civil war ended, playing major roles in toppling Dictator Idi Amin and his replacement Milton Obote. He instituted democracy in Uganda and has overseen economic growth and stability in the East African country. Uganda had been under a “one party” system of democracy since he took over, before the Nation adopted a multi-party system in 2005. However he has won all the elections staged under both systems, and is set to run for his fifth term if he wins this month’s elections.

Amama Mbabazi

Perhaps, Mbabazi is the most naïve of the three. He was Prime Minister under Museveni’s Government between 2001 and 2014, before he was sacked for “divisive activities”. He was also a founding member of Museveni’s party National Resistance Movement. However, he left the party after Museveni made Mbabazi’s childhood friend Ruhakana Ruhunga his replacement for Prime Minister , a punishment for declaring his interest in running for President. He is set to run as an independent candidate at the elections, backed by an alliance of pressure groups and eminent Ugandans.

Dr Kizza Besigye

He is Museveni’s major contender for the post of the President, having contested against him three times before and lost. He was Museveni’s physician throughout Uganda’s civil war period, before he left the National Resistance Movement in 2001 claiming that the party was corrupt. Analysts say he might just be elected President this year, a reward from the people for his doggedness.

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