Former Prime Minister John Patrick Amama Mbabazi has enjoyed overwhelming public attention and hype ever since he announced his intention to contest for the presidency of Uganda in 2016.
But the Amama16 Caravan is facing an almost insurmountable challenge and is likely to end in an unceremonious crash, even before Ugandans go to polls in February.
A critical assessment of the events in the coming two months, show that Mbabazi’s faces serious odds either within his own NRM party or the opposition Democratic Alliance where it has been alleged he has supporters.
The first set of obstacles is presented in the tight election road maps set by the NRM, TDA and the Electoral Commission (EC).
According to the NRM electoral roadmap, the party will hold its National Delegates Conference from Friday October 2, 2015 and perhaps choose its flag bearer the following day on October 3, 2015.
This means that Mbabazi’s decision to contest the NRM flag-bearers ticket, has technically knocked him out of the TDA process because a joint flag-bearer will be chosen in September, before NRM chooses its flag-bearer.
The huddle for Mbabazi is that the following Monday and Tuesday October 5 and 6, 2015, have been set aside by the Electoral Commission (EC) as nomination dates for presidential contenders either from different political parties or from independents.
According to observers, Mbabazi will find it extremely hard to challenge the results of NRM delegates conference, if they do not go in his favour.
If he is defeated in NRM, Mbabazi will face another challenge of choosing to contest as independent. This is because he will not have time left for him to pick nomination forms from EC and go around the country soliciting for signatures to back his candidacy.
In the event, however that he chooses to pick nomination forms before the NRM delegates conference, it will weaken his bid in the NRM as he will be labelled a double crosser who puts two legs in different camps.
In the meantime, President Museveni – read NRM, is at liberty to solicit signatures well in time, to back any NRM flag-bearer.
If Mbabazi realises he faces dismal chances of beating Museveni for the flag-bearers ticket now, he still faces major challenges convincing those in the Opposition to back him.
Sources close to the goings-on in TDA argue that a significant number of people within the opposition accuse Mbabazi is being the mastermind behind the NRM ‘dictatorship’.
A number of people within the opposition hold Mbabazi personally responsible for championing the introduction of draconian legislations, under which the government has arrested and allegedly tortured them.
From the controversial 2005 Constitutional amendments that removed presidential term limits, to the introduction of other oppressive Public Order Management Act, Anti-terrorism act among others several leaders in the opposition believe Mbabazi’s hand is too stained with blood that they cannot support him.
There is also a huge difference in the messages between Mbabazi and other opposition leaders. For example, observers say that Mbabazi’s trademark message is that the NRM bus is not necessary broken. Mbabazi has repeated on several media platforms that NRM has several achievements upon which he can build, without dismantling the government machinery.
Besigye and his colleagues on the other hand, argue that Uganda has undergone gross system failure that nothing still moves.