The February 18 election in Uganda is President Yoweri Museveni’s to lose as he seeks to extend his 30-year stay in office, but with recent opinion polls showing his main rival Dr Kizza Besigye gaining ground, we explore some of the key issues that will determine the outcome.
- Voter turnout: This will determine not just who wins election, but also the legitimacy of the government.
- Demographics: Whoever can get the young people on their side will gain a serious advantage.
- Voter blocs: None of the three leading contenders is able to win a solid geographic bloc.
- Money: If poverty is the question then to many voters money is the answer.
- Two horses and a pony: A late surge by Candidate Mbabazi could lead to a run-off.
- Fear factor: Fear factor brought on by possibility of violence undermines voter turn-out.
- Election mechanics: The credibility of the outcome will be determined by the process.
- Campaign mechanics: Candidate Museveni has covered more ground than rivals, but it is what happens afterwards that matters.
- Incumbency: Whatever the opposition promises, the NRM candidate can counter promise.
- Viability of change: It is the proverbial choice between the devil you know and the angel you don’t.