Majority of Ugandans, most importantly poor rural peasants who have historically voted for President Yoweri Museveni in elections, want him to retire at the end of his current mandate in 2016, even though most of them still believe he'll try to cling onto power, findings of a new poll reveal.
The survey conducted by Research World International (RWI) Ltd, a Ugandan research firm, shows that 55.6 percent of Ugandans want president Museveni to leave power by the end of his current mandate but also that majority still favour an NRM candidate to succeed him.
"One interesting social economic demographic is that of those who do not think Museveni should contest in 2016, 44s% live in rural areas and the majority (31%) are male between 35 and 44 years old,"
The researchers argue in a synthesis report thus: "This is very telling because Museveni has always enjoyed massive support among the rural folks. This is enhanced by the fact that many of the people who do not want Museveni to stand again are low income earners (41%) earning less than Ushs 2,500 (1 dollar) a day."
The report further shows that majority of Ugandans (56.8%) do not think Museveni will retire voluntarily, 30% of whom are males and live in rural areas.
The researchers say they conducted the poll between March 16 and April 6, 2012 among 1300 randomly selected registered voters from 65 districts of Uganda, to assess their views about politics, the economy.
If the sentiments of the people interviewed are anything to go by, Uganda faces an uncertain political and economic future as political and social forces are likely to conspire against Museveni who is increasingly being depicted as unready to leave power.
The latest figures perhaps explain the recent source of agitation for political change especially the need to restore presidential term limits that has caused consensus for the first time between religious leaders, NRM legislators, independents and the opposition.
"Museveni has consistently maintained that NRM will decide his political fate. Yet given his tight grip on the party, few believe he can be replaced prior to the 2016 elections," the analysis of the report adds: "This has given voice to the MPs, religious leaders and members of the civil society to advocate for the restoration of term limits."
The report could also vindicate those religious and other civil society groups and individuals who have adopted non-violent means to try to pressurise Museveni to leave power.
A group of civil society players argued recently that the lack of political uncertainty is dangerous for Uganda and threatens to return the country into the past struggles for power.
Although president Museveni may be falling out of favour with many Ugandans, largely due to his long stay in power, most voters still prefer the ruling party to continue in power and notes that the Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga is the most popular person Ugandans would vote for.
Kadaga's appeal is almost equally spread across all regions of the country and even shared across the gender spectrum. The report shows however that beaten by Kadaga in the general population, the president's wife Janet Museveni beats her among NRM party members at 13.8%, and is followed by ex-vice president Gilbert Bukenya with 13%.
The survey however indicates that FDC president Kiiza Besigye still has chances despite losing to Museveni for three consecutive times.
According to the poll, 22.5% said they would vote for Besigye if Museveni did not contest for elections. The poll goes ahead to confirm as most observers found out, that the 2011 elections were riddled with rigging.
The opinion poll has attributed the 41% of Ugandans of registered voters who stayed away during the 2011 general elections as a worrying trend and one that shows that Ugandans are not exercising their will to achieve the change they desire.
Researchers and politicians who attended the launch of the report at Hotel Africana, concurred that majority of the politically passive Ugandans are the educated and relatively well off.
Dr. Patrick Wakida, the Chief Executive of RWI, the firm that carried out the survey, the growing apathy is dangerous for Uganda's political, economic and social transformation because not only do they leave the peasants to decide their future, the peasants are likely to vote even more incompetent leaders at other lower levels.
Wakida said: "Majority of the voters are in the rural areas. The elites have mortgaged this country by boycotting elections that determine their lives."
Wakida is supported by FDC's deputy president (Eastern Uganda) Salaam Musumba, who argues that Uganda's politics has taken on the character of the people who participate in it.
Musumba who seemed taken aback by the inability of her party to capitalise on the weaknesses of president Museveni and NRM, asked researchers for clues on how the current political situation could be overcome, was advised to address the growing number of Ugandans who are getting apathetic about politics.
Museveni's failures in last year
The survey has revealed that an overwhelming majority of Ugandans (81%) felt economically worse off during the survey period (March-April) than they were before president Museveni won his current mandate in February 2011.
The report also shows that poor roads, poor standards of education and rising cost of living were the most pressing problems.
"The common thread running through all the listed problems is that they are oriented towards service delivery and infrastructure development.
Some people however have criticised this report for its limited sample size of 1300 people. Wakida also had to defend himself against allegations that he has political affiliation s with FDC.blog comments powered by Disqus
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