By Keitira Brian
The political landscape in Uganda has been marked by fierce opposition to the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) and President Yoweri Museveni, especially in recent years. While the opposition parties have made significant strides in championing democracy and challenging the ruling party’s hegemony, their continued internal bickering and fragmentation have inadvertently created an advantageous environment for National Resistance Movement’s continued dominance. This analysis delves into the detrimental effects of opposition party division, analyzing how it plays directly into NRM and President Museveni’s hands, ultimately paving the way for their triumph in the forthcoming 2026 General Elections.
Fragmented Opposition: Weakening the Fight against NRM
The opposition political landscape in Uganda is entrenched with internal disputes, ideological differences, and personal ambitions, resulting in a fragmented front. Opposition parties lack cohesion, a shared vision, and effective leadership, making it challenging to build a strong and united movement capable of challenging the ruling party effectively. For example the current fights between Rtd.Col Dr. Kiiza Besigye with his Katonga faction and the Najjanankubi group led by Hon Patrick Amuriat and Mafabi has weakened Forum For Democratic Change. (FDC) This is the same problem with Democratic Party (DP) and National Unity Platform.(NUP) This fragmentation dilutes support, compromises effectiveness, and ultimately weakens the opposition’s prospects in the forthcoming elections.
Lack of a Clear Alternative
One of the primary reasons for the continued dominance of NRM is the failure of opposition parties to present a clear and compelling alternative to President Museveni’s leadership. Instead of focusing on developing comprehensive policies and articulating a coherent vision for Uganda’s future, opposition parties have often engaged in unnecessary infighting and personal attacks. This lack of a strong alternative allows incumbents to present themselves as the only viable choice, effectively capitalizing on the opposition’s shortcomings. For instance the NUP candidate Robert kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine always talks about removing a dictator but doesn’t show Ugandans a clear path for the future.
Voter Fatigue and Apathy
The squabbles among opposition politicians, often resulting in public mudslinging and negative campaigns, dishearten the electorate. Voters become disillusioned and fatigued by the endless bickering and perceive the opposition as lacking credibility and a genuine desire to bring about meaningful change. Consequently, this fosters apathy, voter disengagement, and ultimately favors the ruling party’s continuity, as many citizens may opt to abstain from voting altogether.
President Museveni’s Advantageous Position
The prolonged rule of President Museveni and the entrenchment of the NRM in Uganda’s political infrastructure have provided him with significant leverage and resources. Museveni’s incumbency advantage, established networks, and control over state resources and machinery empower him to suppress dissent, manipulate the narrative, and exploit the opposition’s weaknesses to his benefit.As a matter of fact his government even funds the political activities of some parties like the recent cash bonanza between Dr. Besigye and Hon Mandala Mafabi.Therefore, this Continued opposition bickering offers President Museveni ample opportunities to leverage this advantage, further solidifying his grip on power.
Divided Resources and Attention
The rivalries and divisions within opposition parties often overshadow the key issues affecting the Ugandan population. Instead of dedicating their energies to mobilizing grassroots support, fostering civic engagement, and addressing the socio-economic challenges faced by citizens, opposition leaders find themselves consumed by internal disputes and power struggles. Consequently, this leaves the NRM with a monopoly on resources and the ability to target critical sectors, further strengthening their position and limiting the opposition’s influence.
Unpopular Actions Ignored
In the absence of a strong and united opposition, President Museveni and the NRM can effectively push through unpopular policies or take controversial actions without significant resistance. The lack of a consolidated opposition voice allows the ruling party to skirt accountability, disregarding the concerns and discontent of the population, a trend that may further alienate citizens from the political process and increase support for NRM.
In Conclusion; The continued bickering and fragmentation within Uganda’s opposition parties present a remarkably advantageous scenario for the ruling NRM and President Museveni. The lack of cohesion, absence of a clear alternative, voter fatigue, Museveni’s advantageous position, divided resources, and the disregard for pressing issues have all contributed to the opposition’s weakened state. Consequently, if these trends persist, they may inadvertently pave the way for President Museveni’s triumph in the forthcoming 2026 General Elections. However,to counter this eventuality, opposition parties must prioritize unity, strategic collaboration, and a coherent vision, avoiding petty disputes that only serve to undermine their collective efforts to bring about meaningful change in Uganda.