Uganda: 8 Million New Voters Up for Grabs

The East African country is set for Presidential and Parliamentary elections on January 14, 2021

Polls will open on January 14 in Uganda where 18 million voters will elect the President and lawmakers.

“As at 17/09/20, for for purposes of nominations for 2021 polls, Electoral Commission (EC) issued a Register with 17,658,527 registered voters. Following the completion of finalization processes, EC has issued final Voters’ Register with 18,103,603 voters and issued the same to political parties, verifiable,” said Acting EC spokesperson Paul Bukenya this Monday, January 11.

This has since turned out as one of the most heated elections in the last two decades, pitting President Museveni, 76, and the youthful Robert Kyagulanyi alias Bobi Wine 38, and FDC’s Patrick Amuriat, 58, among others.

Official statistics released by the Electoral Commission (EC) show that in 2016, the total vote cast was 10.3 million compared to 18.1 million registered voters today.

This means Uganda has added 8 million new voters which all candidates must woo to have an edge in this election exercise.

In 2016, President Museveni got 5.9 million (60.6%) votes while his main challenger, Dr Kizza Besigye came second with 3.5 million votes (35%) of the total vote cast.

This was a net increase of over 1.2 million votes from the 2011 election compared to Museveni’s increase of 189,134 votes.

Notably, President Museveni has always had western Uganda as his main swing region.


The area has 4.7 million registered voters with 9,735 polling stations.

During his campaigns, Kyagulanyi performed well in the Central Region which has 5.6 million registered voters with 9,157 Polling stations.


In 2016, Kampala had 1 million registered voters. Of these, Museveni got 157,000 votes (30%) while opposition’s Dr Kizza Besigye won the area with 334,919 (65%).

Currently, Kampala has 1,280,409 registered voters, implying an increase of 280,000 voters. However, this pales in comparison with the total increase of 8 million registered voters across the country.

In 2016, Wakiso had 900,000 registered voters but this number has increased to 1,154,857, implying 154,000 new voters.

Number of Ugandan voters in different regions (Graph: ChimpReports)If Kyagulanyi performs well in the central region, he still will need other regions including the heavily populated Eastern Uganda which has 4,465,567 registered Voters with 9,182 Polling stations.

Kyagulanyi also will need to win Northern Region which has 3,280,733 registered voters with 6,610 Polling stations.

Museveni remains a strong force to reckon with in northern Uganda due to retraction of peace and stability, heavy infrastructure developments in the area including roads, bridges, factories among others.

Historical trends show that Museveni’s support comes from rural areas, whereas opposition candidates’ support originates from specific regions and/or urban centres.


Researcher Ryan Gibb notes that NRM possesses three complementary, insurmountable advantages in every election – incumbency, capacity to offer credible promises to Ugandans and popular fear of political upheaval.

The overall trend in the last 10 years of presidential elections indicates a more competitive election, albeit one still dominated by the NRM.

The NRM won 199 of the 289 seats in the general parliamentary election and 84 of the 112 seats reserved for women.

As in previous elections, the NRM defeated all the other parties, and the independent candidates won more seats than any of the other parties’ candidates in the parliamentary elections.

Independent candidates have won more parliamentary seats than registered parties’ candidates, aside from NRM candidates, since 2006.

Out of the 18 new million voters, 9.5 million are female which represents 52% of total registered voters. The number of male voters in the 2021 election is 8.6 million, representing 48%.

The youth proportion of the 2021 registered voters is 7.3 million (41%) with 3.5 million being male and 3.8 million being female.

The voting materials were last week dispatched by the Electoral Commission ahead of this week’s election exercise.

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