A senior researcher, who has overseen a number of opinion polls in the country, has concluded from his assessment that the population of Uganda is unable and unlikely to vote President Yoweri Museveni out of office.
The chief pollster went on and deduced that President Museveni would only step out of office if he personally chose to.
Dr. Patrick Wakida is the Executive Director of Research World International [RWI] and has overseen all opinion polls carried out by the body over the past years.
“If the expectation is that this current leadership is going to be voted out; if you still believe that there is going to be a transition through the ballot, then you probably should forget about it,” said Wakida.
Wakida was on Thursday evening speaking at the launch of yet another book by the Vice Chancellor Uganda Technology and Management University [UTAMU] Prof Venansius Barymureeba, titled, “The Ideal Uganda.”
He stated at the function that while most Ugandans felt uncomfortable with President Museveni’s management of the country, majority were actually afraid of voting him out.
He explained, “In the Polls I have conducted, I posed a question: Should President Museveni contest again in 2016? Ugandans replied in the affirmative. Then I asked again, “Should we have term limits restored? Again 78% said yes, we need term limits!”
In his assessment, Dr Wakida says, Ugandans are “basically afraid of openly voting President Museveni out of office.”
“They don’t want to openly ask him to go. They rather prefer a system that closes him out. That is why majority want term limit restored.”
The without restoration of term limits, which currently hangs in balance only months to the 2016 elections, Dr Wakida said Museveni would only have to look at the situation and realize “that people cannot divorce me. I must go.”
He added that Ugandans’ indifference could be reflected in the fact that over the last 10 years, the NRM government had been maintained in power by a small majority of less than 40%.
“In 2006, the voters’ turn up was only 68%, and President Museveni polled 57%, which translates to only 39% of Uganda’s eligible voters. In 2011, Museveni got 68% votes, yet only 58% voters showed up. The question we should be asking now is, where are the rest of these voters, and if they came to vote, who would they vote for?”
He warned that while Ugandan’s are unable to use the ballot to cause change of government, President Museveni’s performance is vividly shrinking by the age, as exhibited by the growing number of the old NRM Pillars that keep dropping off, such as Gen David Sejusa, Col Kiiza Besigye, and recently the former Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi.
During their recent caucus meeting in Kyankwanzi this month, the ruling NRM MPs brushed among others on the possibility of lifting presidential age limit of 75 and extending by two years, the five-year tenure of the government beyond its expiry date of 2016.
President Yoweri Museveni has categorically declined commenting about his intentions to stand again in the next general elections, saying that this remains solely the work of his party members to determine.