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Uganda: Museveni support dips below 50% – new survey

If Ugandans had gone to the polls last month, President Museveni would score 32 per cent of the votes, which is way below the 50 per cent plus one vote that a presidential candidate requires to win an election outright, an opinion poll by Research World International shows.

The poll results have a +/-5 margin of error, but even if this were to entirely play in President Museveni’s favour, he would still end up with 37 per cent and remain way below the threshold.

This is Mr Museveni’s lowest ever rating in an opinion poll during his tenure as president.

The opinion poll results further show that newcomer Robert Kyagulanyi, aka Bobi Wine, would edge out Opposition doyen Kizza Besigye, although both would come in behind President Museveni. Mr Kyagulanyi, the Kyadondo East Member of Parliament, would poll 22 per cent of the votes while four-time presidential candidate Dr Besigye would harvest 13 per cent.

The poll results also show that 20 per cent of the eligible voters are still undecided, a chunk big enough to thrust Mr Museveni over the finish line if he sways all of them to his side, or claw him out of the seat of power if they vote against him.

Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga, DP president general Norbert Mao, UPC president Jimmy Akena and Maj Gen Mugisha Muntu, a former president of FDC and now coordinator of the newly founded Alliance for National Transformation (ANT) party, would each get 2 per cent of the votes, the poll results show.

Neither Ms Kadaga, nor Mr Akena and Gen Muntu, who both lead national political parties, have declared interest to run in the country’s upcoming presidential election in 2021.

The same poll indicate that former presidential candidate Amama Mbabazi and Lt Gen Muhoozi Kainerugaba would score 1 per cent apiece, while First Lady Janet Museveni would poll 0.2 per cent and Jeema president Asuman Basalirwa would come in at 0.10 per cent.
None of three has declared interest to vie for the presidency.

These responses were generated using the following question to the respondents: “If the presidential election were to be held tomorrow, who would you vote for?”

The question was put to all 2,042 respondents across the country who participated in the survey, research World International says.

Commissioning. The results of the opinion poll were availed to Sunday Monitor by Research World International, which says it will officially release them tomorrow. Monitor Publications Ltd did not commission neither finance the poll. Research World International, a research firm with interest in opinion polling, says it financed the exercise from its own resources.

Regional breakdown
The poll results show that President Museveni would not score over 50 per cent in all the regions, with Western region likely to give him the highest vote tally at 47 per cent while Central would give him the least number of votes at 19 per cent.

Mr Museveni would poll 22 per cent in Kampala, 32 per cent in Eastern, and 39 per cent of the votes in Northern. The poll further shows that the President would get only 28 per cent of the vote in urban areas and 35 per cent in rural areas.

Big force. Eventual Kyadondo East MP seat

Big force. Eventual Kyadondo East MP seat winner Robert Kyagulanyi, alias Bobi Wine, addresses a campaign rally in Kiti, Wakiso District on June 25, 2017 during the Kyadondo East by-election. PHOTO BY MICHAEL KAKUMIRIZI.

Support for Mr Museveni across the sexes is evening out, the poll suggests, with 33 per cent of the females interviewed saying they would vote for him, while 32 per cent of the males said they would vote for him.

The poll results further show that Mr Kyagulanyi would top both Kampala and Central region, scoring 35 per cent and 33 per cent, respectively. Dr Besigye would score 10 per cent in Kampala and 12 per cent in Central region in the same poll.

Dr Besigye took Kampala in the 2016 election, with President Museveni suffering his heaviest defeat in the capital since the 1996 elections.

Dr Besigye polled 66 per cent of the votes while Mr Museveni got 31 per cent of the vote.
Mr Museveni then won in the rest of the regions on the way to securing a 60.6 per cent triumph while Dr Besigye scored 35.6 per cent, official figures show.

But Dr Besigye rejected the results and still insists that he won the 2016 vote with 52 per cent.
In the new poll, Mr Museveni appears to surrender the initiative in the populous Central region, polling only 19 per cent while Mr Kyagulanyi and Dr Besigye combined would account for 35 per cent. President

Museveni has never lost in the Central region, which according to the survey demographics accounts for 29 per cent of all the voters.

Mr Kyagulanyi would come in second to President Museveni in Eastern, with 19 per cent compared to Mr Museveni’s 32 per cent, while Dr Besigye would poll 12 per cent in the region.

Mr Kyagulanyi would again come in second to Museveni in Northern with 13 per cent against President Museveni’s 39 per cent. Dr Besigye would poll 11 per cent in the region, while DP’s Norbert Mao would get 8 per cent in Northern, his region of origin.

Western is the only region where Dr Besigye would get more votes than Mr Kyagulanyi, scoring 19 per cent against Mr Kyagulanyi’s 13 per cent. But both would not match President Museveni, who would poll 47 per cent of the votes in the region.


The data on which the poll is based was collected between April 12 and 25. From Easter Monday on April 21, Mr Kyagulanyi has been the most prominent figure in the news after his concert was blocked and he was put under house arrest.

Whereas Dr Besigye was active in a number of upcountry areas, where he had a number of radio talk shows blocked by resident district commissioners and the police, his activities were often overshadowed by what was happening with Mr Kyagulanyi, which culminated in him spending three nights in Luzira prison over charges of holding an illegal demonstration last year, protesting imposition of a social media tax on users.

Mr Kyagulanyi captured international attention when he was arrested and brutalised during a parliamentary by-election for Arua Municipality on August 13 last year.

His driver, Yasiin Kawuma, was shot dead outside Pacific Hotel in Arua while he sat in the MP’s car and Kyagulanyi claimed the fatal bullets were meant for him.

Coverage of the incident was global and this publicity has increased his visibility and political rating, the poll shows.

Elections are still almost two years away, and the poll findings are expected to change depending on political developments and formations.

Whereas Mr Kyagulanyi has hinted that he will run for president in 2021 and President Museveni has already been declared the ruling NRM’s ‘sole candidate’ for the 2021 elections by some party organs, Dr Besigye still keeps away from the question of whether he will run, saying he is now focusing on engineering a removal of President Museveni from power before 2021.

Massive. Dr Kizza Besigye (in black suit atop

Massive. Dr Kizza Besigye (in black suit atop car), with Gen Mugisha Muntu (atop second car) during presidential campaigns in western Uganda in 2015. PHOTO BY DOMINIC BUKENYA.


Respondents. 2,042 respondents aged 18 and above were interviewed across 60 of 127 districts in Uganda.
The country was stratified into 4 broad regions – Central, Eastern, Northern, and Western

Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS) data was used to identify the proportions of the samples / population within each region and according to age
Counties, sub-counties and Parishes were randomly selected from each district. 204 Sub-counties were sampled

Within each parish, a village was randomly selected and 10 interviews conducted. 204 Parishes were sampled
Margin of error: +/-5% with 95 per cent level of confidence
Research World International (RWI) says they took GPS (global positioning system) coordinates of all interviewers to ensure that they indeed went wherever they said they
Gender split – Female: 51%; Male:49%

Research World International says:
“RWI [Research World International], in the interest of public information, mobilised resources and conducted a national representative public opinion poll with the aim of gauging the opinions and perceptions of voting-age Ugandans towards the Social, Economic and Political climate in Uganda.”

RWI says after the interviews were done, they checked whether the respondents had actually been interviewed and gave the answers they did.

To do this, Mr Patrick Wakida, the head of RWI, said they called back 800 respondents at random. Out of the 800, he said, 720 picked up and confirmed that they had indeed been interviewed.

Sunday Monitor could not access the telephone numbers to call back some of the respondents because RWI said that would be a breach of confidentiality.

Before the respondents were interviewed, RWI promised them that the data collected would be for research purposes only and that their details would not be disclosed to third parties.


2016. Dr Besigye took Kampala in the 2016 election, with President Museveni suffering his heaviest defeat in the capital since the 1996 elections.

Dr Besigye polled 66 per cent of the votes while Mr Museveni got 31 per cent of the vote.
Mr Museveni then won in the rest of the regions on the way to securing a 60.6 per cent triumph while Dr Besigye scored 35.6 per cent, official figures show.

Results disputes. But Dr Besigye rejected the results and still insists that he won the 2016 vote with 52 per cent.

By Daily Monitor


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