In the 2021 general elections, the National Resistance Movement (NRM) suffered a substantial setback, losing the majority of parliamentary seats in the central region to the National Unity Platform (NUP). However, recent developments within the NUP indicate that this defeat might only be temporary.
With the NRM’s profound political prowess and mobilization abilities, the time has come to seize the opportunity and restore the party’s former glory in the central region. The so-called “United forces of change,” where politicians like Dr. Kizza Besigye claim they will join forces with the NUP for enhanced political strength in the 2026 elections, is nothing more than media showbiz.
It is widely recognized that this alliance cannot thrive in our political environment. Supporters of the NUP and followers of Kizza Besigye are deeply divided, making it unlikely for NUP supporters to vote for Besigye even if he emerged as the united candidate. Likewise, NUP leaders are focused on holding positions and are unlikely to support any candidate from another party apart from their own, most notably Bobi Wine.
Kizza Besigye has been a strategic politician with support spread across all regions and districts of Uganda. However, the ongoing internal conflicts within the NUP have created fertile ground for the NRM to regain control over the Buganda Region.
The recent reshuffling of key positions within the NUP, which saw the former Leader of Opposition Mathias Mpuuga replaced by Joel Senyonyi, has resulted in mixed reactions and factionalism within the party. Mpuuga, an experienced and respected diplomat, was labeled a mole by Kyagulanyi loyalists, making his removal from the Leader of Opposition seat unsurprising.
Mpuuga, being a loyalist of the Buganda Kingdom and a trusted politician who has previously served in various capacities, enjoys significant support within the NUP party. Consequently, his demotion has left members like Medard Seggona, Abed Bwanika, Betty Nambooze, and others discontented, while Kyagulanyi loyalists celebrate. This internal divide within the NUP has led to sharp divisions within the party.
It is worth noting that in the 2021 elections, out of the 3,078,716 total ballots cast in the central region, Robert Kyagulanyi managed to secure 1,920,485 votes (approximately 62.45%). This presents a significant challenge for the NUP’s leadership when determining their best candidate for the united forces of change. While Kizza Besigye would be a logical choice, the selfishness of NUP leaders prevents them from considering any candidate other than Bobi Wine.
The NRM has grappled with party members who prioritize personal financial benefits during campaign periods rather than mobilizing support for the party. This is a crucial moment for the NRM mobilizers to focus on reclaiming the central region instead of engaging in financial misconduct and internal conflicts.
Several factors suggest that Buganda Region might be the perfect political campaign ground for the NRM to take over in the upcoming 2026 elections. The discontent within the Buganda Kingdom regarding Bobi Wine’s decisions, coupled with the sharp divisions within the NUP, is a recipe for the NRM’s resurgence. Furthermore, the recent dissatisfaction shown by the people in the Busoga region towards Bobi Wine’s sectarian politics indicates a potential shift in favor of the NRM.
While the NUP may have achieved a significant victory in the region in the 2021 elections, their ongoing internal fights and growing divisions within the party could provide the NRM with an advantageous situation to reclaim the Buganda Region and make substantial gains in the 2026 elections. The NRM should focus on mobilizing support and capitalizing on the NUP’s weaknesses rather than being distracted by internal conflicts or personal financial gains.