Museveni, Mbabazi clinch nomination for president

President Museveni receiving his nomination papers flanked by his wife Janet Museveni and Uganda's Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda

President Museveni receiving his nomination papers flanked by his wife Janet Museveni and Uganda’s Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda

The current President of Uganda, and chairman of the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM), Yoweri Museveni, and Amama Mbabazi of the Opposition coalition, The Democratic Alliance have sealed their respective nominations for president ahead of next year’s general election.

In his address to Ugandans following his nomination in Kololo, near Kampala, Museveni told Ugandans that he is looking forward to helping Uganda “take off” to prosperity, as his rival Mbabazi took the populist tone promising Ugandans of all walks of life real change, unity, jobs, quality healthcare, education, and responsive leadership among other things.

“The NRM government has removed most of the obstacles to prosperity and these days, it’s very hard to find a Ugandan with polio,” Museveni told thousands of supporters adding “the past recent years have been years of building the foundation. We have gone through three stages so far which include liberation, recovery and foundation and what is next is to take off.”

For Mr. Mbabazi, who is plotting to dethrone his colleague of more than 30 years, due to immense challenges facing Uganda, the country needs urgent change and it needs it now.

“With our society increasingly divided and militarised; with a government increasingly hostile to its own citizens; with the erosion of rule of law and the separation of powers; with our soldiers and police being forced to do things that violate their mandate to serve and to protect; with the rich getting richer and the poor simply becoming worse off: the time for change is now.” Mbabazi said.

Mr. Mbabazi being congratulated by officials after nomination

Mr. Mbabazi being congratulated by officials after nomination

Mr. Mbabazi assured Ugandans he is the man to deliver the much needed change.

Until a few months ago Mbabazi was a member of the ruling party (he still says he is) but he fell out with President Museveni after he declared his intentions to contest for president.

He first planned to challenge Museveni within the NRM but his efforts were curtailed by the party leadership not mention the National electoral commission and the country’s police force.

Mbabazi has since joined the opposition coalition The Democratic Alliance (TDA) where majority opposition parties have coalesced around him at the expense of Uganda’s chief opposition leader Col. (rtd)Kizza Besigye.

Following disagreement over fielding the joint opposition candidate as Mbabazi and Besigye each wanted to be the nominee for TDA, Besigye and his Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) party opted to pursue independent candidacy.

Besigye, the three-time presidential candidate is due to be nominated by Uganda’s electoral commission Wednesday 4, at Namboole Stadium near Kampala.

Besigye and Mbabazi recently met in London, at the invitation and mediation of the Koffi Annan Foundation in an effort to agree on a joint candidate deal, and their camps met again last weekend in Kampala but no deal was reached.

Uganda is due to head to the polls early 2016 to elect the next presidents and Museveni who is running for his fifth term is expected to win the election.

Analysts say Mbabazi and Besigye’s failure to strike a deal has increased Museveni chances of beating both his rivals.