It came into power by force of arms because that was the only available option since the leaders of the time were not prepared to hand over power to other Ugandans democratically.
Ugandans had been living under the reign of terror. So much so that they were willing to support anybody that would bring about change that would lessen their fear and suffering. And they did when Yoweri Museveni promised to force the then government out of power.
To the people of Uganda, political parties had divided the people since independence along religious and tribal lines mainly, the general consensus was that multi party politics be shelved as a beginning of national healing.
The 1986 government of the NRM decided that we shall have a government of national unity, that people’s representatives shall be elected based on the merit of the individual and not his tribe or religion, that we shall have regular elections, and that there shall be term limits for the president.
After some years, politicians who had joined government from other parties in the hope of taking over leadership from the ‘bushmen’, decided their chance lay in the revival of multi-party politics. They campaigned hard, lobbied some bushmen who also wanted power for themselves and individual merit was dumped.
Overnight the dictates of winning elections through parties and not through individual merit, took over the commonsense of the significance of national unity in the national development effort. To the NRM, it became a matter of self-preservation and they had to do everything in their power to keep power.
From that time on the other hand, it became progressively difficult for multi-party candidates to win elections. And it has been like that ever since resulting in the weakening of opposition parties. Now, the opposition candidates, realising the difficulty of winning an election through their disorganized and weakened opposition parties, they are calling for the restoration of individual merit politics. Many think that opposition parties are now becoming liabilities and therefore an impediment to their political changes.
There is no doubt that if we had remained under the Omnibus or Umbrella politics, may be it would today be easy to collectively mobilize the Movementists who want change and the oppositionists to agitate for change of a President.
As it is, Opposition parties are too weak to unseat the ruling NRM and President Museveni. Besigye and Odongo Otto have publically stated that the Opposition is so disorganized and so disunited to defeat the ruling NRM in an election. What they didn’t say but insinuated was they can’t remove the NRM by force either.
Movementists may not vote for Museveni but they will not vote for other parties either. You don’t get it do you?