Uganda Elections 2006: And the Winner is... Abed Bwanika
Celebrating Museveni's victory on the streets of Kampala.

Uganda Elections 2006: And the Winner is... Abed Bwanika


The real winner of the 2006 elections.

By Gerald Rulekere
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First published: February 27, 2006


Ugandans went to the polls on Thursday February 23rd to elect a president who will lead the country for the next five years, after more than two months of rigorous campaigns.

The Electoral Commission has declared incumbent President Gen. Yoweri Museveni as the winner with 59.28% of the votes cast. His closest challenge was from Col. Dr. Kizza Besigye who amassed 37.36% of the votes cast, leaving the other three candidates to share less than 4% of the votes cast.

Yet some people are saying independent candidate Abed Bwanika who managed only 0.95% of the votes is the real winner of this 2006 election. Why and how, you must be asking.

True the majority of Ugandans voted Yoweri Museveni or Kizza Besigye but many were silently wishing they voted for Bwanika, 38, who has exhibited confidence and consistency in his spirited bid to occupy State House for the next five years.

Bwanika is arguably a darling of the majority of Ugandans in this time because he is undoubtedly the ideal candidate many Ugandans would have liked to vote for and have as a leader of the country but historical factors did not allow many Ugandans that choice.

Many Ugandans voted Museveni because he is a man they have known as President for the last 20 years, a man with considerable achievements after the turbulent 1970s and early 80s; a confident man that they believe is better to trust to be at the helm of determining the affairs of the country under a multi-party system of governance.

On the other hand, many other Ugandans voted for Dr. Kizza Besigye in order to get Museveni out of Office, whom many accuse for economic and political mismanagement of the country, saying political parties are bad and gagging them for 20 years only to amend the constitution and return to seek a new mandate as a party (NRM-O) candidate.

The stringent rivalry if not conflict between these two leading candidates has reminded many Ugandans of the short distance the country may have moved in the direction of appreciating divergent political opinion. The two candidates are so against each other even to what some have called personal levels and have transferred the same conflict and hatred to the majority of their respective supporters.

This is why there has been widespread violence and more violence is expected, as all the two camps seem to believe they must either win or the other party looses. Dr. Besigye's FDC has refused to accept the results declared by the Electoral Commission saying President Museveni scored less that the required 50% according to their own vote tally.

It is this kind of situation that is forcing many more sober Ugandans to assert that Bwanika, a man for whom no one has anger against and a man who has elicited no anger against other candidates, is therefore the best candidate for a country looking for further healing from a violent and divisive past.

"Abed Bwanika is the real winner in this election. He has maintained a middle ground. Unlike other candidates who have been trading insults at each other, he has discussed issues on all his campaign rallies, telling people what he would like to do for Uganda in the next five years. This is the candidate many of us would like to lead Uganda," says Hilda Mukisa of Makerere University.

Many people have described Bwanika as a brilliant and good candidate who was on Thursday not voted into the Presidential office because many Ugandans do not want to see their man, Museveni being defeated in an election, and an almost equal number of Ugandans are prepared to do all they can to see long serving Museveni out of power. It is only Dr. Besigye who has proved a real threat to the domineering Museveni in all of his 20 years at the helm of the country.

"Four presidential candidates combined do not measure up to Dr. Abed Bwanika. If whatever we say is what we do, Dr. Bwanika is the man. It is time Ugandans voted wisely, not voting for someone because he is an incumbent, a soldier, rich or a party leader. I didn't think Bwanika will win, but my vote didnt go with the wind. It went where integrity lies, to Bwanika," says Jonathan Akweteireho of Kampala.

By Gerald Rulekere
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First published: February 27, 2006
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Gerald Rulekere is a Journalist and member of Ultimate Media Consult. He has written and published extensively on business and gender issues and been writing for Ultimate Media Consult (U) Ltd for the last two years. A professional and graduate journalist, Rulekere is always looking for an opportunity to better his writing especially for international media.