By Faruk Kirunda
Kampala: As we dive into the high political season with campaigns getting under way leading to elections at Presidential and Parliament level, I can bet my hand that the winners have already done what it takes to claim their deserved victory.
Campaigns are only for polishing the loose ends and sealing the result of smart, hard work and preparation. While many contestants are uncertain about their chances.
President Yoweri Museveni, joining the contest buoyed by exclusive seniority, experience and the most extensive pro-people network supported by the NRM mass party’s firm broadbase, it would take a bad miracle to undo his advantage. If possible, Museveni should be left unopposed. Also, Museveni does not go into a race unless he knows he will win. He is not a time waster or someone who does things for formality or like others who act in a bid to coat their inferiority complex.
Why do I believe that my prediction is spot-on? Museveni’s trusted campaign team has worked out a plan to win, and with a bigger margin than before. The team’s forward operations were blessed with good luck starting from within NRM when Museveni, who is seeking his fifth reelection since 1996, was named the flagbearer for the National Resistance Movement (NRM), unopposed. As on previous occasions in 2006, 2011 and 2016 when he ran unopposed in NRM and it brought him good luck, I predict that it will be the same case this time.
But Museveni, being a man of perfection, is not taking anything for granted or leaving anything to chance and will work to ensure that he scores his deserved victory as well as that of NRM. You can take it from me! Museveni believes that he has done his best in the service of Ugandans but does not expect them to vote solely on the basis of past achievements; they must be able to connect his track record with assurance for the future, and that is what he is working on.
Museveni’s team has crafted the best campaign messages which will be beamed to every Ugandan using the most advanced and user friendly digital and traditional platforms. I am sure most Ugandans have already had a feel of what this team is doing.
Moreover, the NRM fraternity has agreed to advance together as one large front better than before; there are no offshoot or breakaway camps pulling in the opposite direction from the collective objective. Even after the messy primaries, the spirit of reconciliation and looking at the bigger picture is prevailing. And that “reconciliation and looking at the bigger picture” is working in Museveni’s favour since everybody within NRM agrees that he is the candidate to beat and the one that Ugandan cannot do without, if ever before.
Museveni adheres to the multiparty dispensation by working within his NRM shade but at the same time does not expect everyone to belong to NRM yet everybody deserves the best leadership. He is therefore also courting non-NRM members to join the winning team and vote accordingly.
It was a turning point when the Museveni team was gathering signatures to back his nomination and Ugandans eagerly signed to the tune of 5 million signatures. That was record breaking and no other candidate could come close.
With factors remaining constant, the 5 million signees remain a vote bloc which Museveni will enter the race with. I am sure that not all of them are NRM members, yet NRM has the biggest membership which I expect and urge to come out strongly and get the prize in the bag.
Nobody knows the membership of the entire opposition as the constituent parties never report on their numerical strength and previous elections have proven them as very lacking in ground strength.
All that NRM has to do is convince its members to turn up in notable numbers on polling day and the rest will be history.
NRM already has a network of actors working to ensure that its presidential candidate takes the lion’s share of the vote but Museveni is taking matters in his own hands. NRM has already overwhelmingly indicated that it still wants Museveni at State House and Museveni wants to ensure that the wishes and prayers of the yellow party membership are fulfilled since he is aware that substitutes in the party are not yet ready to keep it in power.
Museveni is NRM’s lifeline to ensure that the party returns the majority at Parliamentary and Local Council level and the party is in turn ready to reciprocate.
To achieve the objective, Museveni is employing his seniority and experience in leadership as a yardstick to set rules of the game in defying political odds and shooting his popularity curve up despite belief among his opponents that he has overstayed in power and is therefore on the wane in terms of popularity.
The minimum anticipated score is 70% while some predictors, like myself, want it at 80%. Part of the vote combing plan is to connect directly to the grassroots and situate among voters and campaign among them, without compromising SOPs against Covid-19.
Museveni is set to go into the campaigns as one of the greatest political strategists of all times in Africa. He has a team of five people per village comprising of influential, well known and respected individuals whose word is taken as gospel truth and who will comb every inch for votes and later protect them.
Moreover, previously, NRM’s flagbearers campaigned only for themselves believing that Museveni has already won or that his open rallies were sufficient to get his message across yet he only stopped at holding rallies at constituency level leaving many Ugandans yearning to have a personal connection with candidate Museveni in vain. This time, Museveni’s special teams will remind voters to vote Museveni and not to waste votes on losing candidates.
Those who are slated to lose should accept their fate and prepare for next time or join the winning team early.
The author is a Presidential Assistant in Charge of Media Management
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