Kizza Besigye’s Political Return: A Soft Landing for NRM in 2026 Elections

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The recent consultative meetings led by Kizza Besigye’s FDC Katonga faction indicate a new political development in Uganda as the country approaches the 2026 elections. However, despite his rhetoric against President Museveni, it is becoming increasingly clear that Besigye poses more of a threat to Bobi Wine than he does to the incumbent leader politically. This article will discuss the likely implications of Besigye’s return and the challenges the opposition faces in its pursuit of change.

Internal Divisions in the Opposition

The consultations revealed that the various opposition political parties in Uganda are grappling with internal divisions and challenges. This internal strife, combined with the failure to create a unified front under the umbrella of the United Forces of Change, has weakened the opposition’s ability to present a formidable challenge to President Museveni’s ruling party.

Besigye’s Strategic Advantage

Although Bobi Wine has gained popularity for his charisma and focus on tribal and sectarian politics, it is important to recognize Besigye’s strategic advantage. With a strong military background and a long history of opposition activism, Besigye possesses greater ideological depth and strategic acumen. Moreover, unlike Bobi Wine, Besigye has proven to have widespread support across various districts in the country.

Changing Dynamics and Support

During the 2021 elections, some of Besigye’s supporters turned to Bobi Wine in his absence from the political arena. However, Besigye’s return is likely to lead to a shift in support, as he aims to reclaim his previous voters and rejuvenate his support base in Rukungiri and the central region. While this may slightly diminish Bobi Wine’s support, it is important to note that it will not significantly affect President Museveni’s NRM party, which has a solid base across the country.

Loss of Hope in the Opposition

In recent times, Ugandans have grown disillusioned with the opposition, perceiving many of its leaders as dictators, corrupt, and self-centered. Their focus on personal enrichment rather than implementing change has eroded public trust in the opposition’s ability to deliver on its promises. Consequently, many Ugandans now view the ruling NRM as a lesser evil compared to the fragmented and ineffectual opposition.

Besigye’s Return: A Soft Landing for NRM

Besigye’s political comeback, motivated by the internal strife within NUP and his refusal to reconcile with the Najjanankumbi group, is unlikely to offer anything new to those seeking change in Uganda. With his prolonged tenure as the opposition leader and the limited options he presents, Besigye’s return may inadvertently provide a soft landing for the NRM in the 2026 elections. Both Bobi Wine and Besigye are likely to split the opposition votes between themselves, leaving the ruling party with a significant advantage.

As Uganda moves closer to the 2026 elections, the return of Kizza Besigye to the political arena poses more challenges for Bobi Wine and the opposition than it does for President Museveni and the ruling NRM party. Besigye’s strategic advantage, coupled with the internal divisions within the opposition, may lead to a fragmentation of the opposition vote. Ultimately, this could result in a comfortable win for the incumbent, further entrenching the NRM’s hold on power.

Steve Mungereza
Steve Mungereza
Sociopolitical Analyst. Coverage of National and Regional news stories.

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