Political analysts and voters say this pattern was informed by voters who want change or those who presented issue based manifestos.
Prof. Venansious Baryamuraba hails from Ibanda district in
western Uganda. Certainly, when he contested in the 2016 presidential
elections, he should have been embraced by many voters in his home district or
But that was never the case. Four out of five districts where
he got the highest number of votes where in northern Uganda. These were Arua,
Gulu, Apac, Kibaale (Western Uganda) and Oyam.
It was the same outcome for
other minor candidates in the 2016 presidential elections except for Maureen
Kyalya, whose four out of top five districts where she scored the highest number
of voters were from her home region—Busoga.
Amama Mbabazi's top three districts were from the north
Political analysts and voters say this pattern was informed
by voters who want change or those who presented issue based manifestos.
From 1996 up to 2016, Lemeriga Fadhil, the Arua district
Democratic Party (DP) chairman says, the people of Arua have been voting for
candidates from Buganda or Western Uganda. He says, they don’t vote along tribal
lines. Arua, for instance, was won by
Dr. Kawanga Ssemogerere in 1996, Dr. Kizza Besigye in 2001 and 2006 and
President Museveni in 2011 and 2016.
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Lemeriga says ordinary voters aspiring for change voted for
minor candidates thinking that “they would also perform well in their home
areas and be able to reduce Museveni’s votes to a great margin.”
Hadad Salim, a resident of Arua Municipality says he voted for Gen Biraro because his manifesto presented what Ugandans needed at the time. Pariyo
Peter, also from Arua Municipality people want change that will bring them
development. (vox pop od Hadad and Pariyo).
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Joseph Mabirizi, a presidential candidate in 2016 says people
in the north can easily be influenced by a candidate’s ideas unlike in other
parts of the country where voter have a predetermined attitude towards
candidates. It’s only in Arua, for instance, where Mabirizi tallied more than a
thousand votes from a district.
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John Katumba, a candidate in the 2021 presidential race who
has already campaigned in the north is confident he will get votes because he
was welcomed and embraced by voters. He triggered mini-excitement when he
campaigned in Gulu City on November, 15th attracting tens of
supporters and hooting motorcycles. In Gulu, he promised reliable electricity,
better education facilities, better roads and protection of peoples’
Katumba said people were generous by contributing towards his
fuel which facilitated movement to districts where he wouldn’t have reached.
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Former ambassador Harold Acemah also says people in the north
judge candidates’ ideas not personality. “You see people in Arua are very
discerning. People in Arua don’t judge a book by its cover. They don’t judge
you because of where you come from.”
Mbabazi got the highest number of votes in Gulu district. He
had the backing of Democratic Party’s President Norbert Mao. Moses Laker, a DP
supporter says he voted for Mbabazi. He says any credible challenger to
Museveni is always treated as a darling in Gulu. Truly, Museveni has never won
Gulu district. It was won by Ssemogerere in 1996, Besigye in 2001, 2006, Mao in
2011 with 42% and Besigye again in 2016.
//Cue in: my name is…
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