At least 36 presidential aspirants have picked forms from the Electoral Commission (EC) and embarked on collecting signatures in preparation for nomination ahead of the 2021 General Election.
The early movers include Maj Gen Mugisha Muntu of the Alliance for National Transformation (ANT) party, National Unity Platform (NUP) leader Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, aka Bobi Wine, and Mr Charles Rwomushana, a renowned social critic.
Ms Maureen Kyalya, who contested for president in 2016 and managed to get 0.43 per cent of the votes counted, has also picked nomination forms.
By Friday, President Museveni, who has already been nominated to run on behalf of his party, had not picked nomination forms from the EC, just like Lt Gen Henry Tumukunde, who has declared his intention to challenge his former boss.
The Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) party, has also said it will front a candidate although it has not yet selected one nor picked the forms.
Mr Simon Byabakama, the EC chairperson, told Sunday Monitor in an interview that the process will go on until nomination day, which is November 2 and November 3.
“We, however, encourage aspiring candidates to submit the lists of supporters to the EC for verification at least two weeks before nomination day,” he said.
Presidential aspirants are required to collect 100 signatures per district from two thirds of Uganda’s 144 districts, with each voter only allowed to nominate one presidential aspirant.
This means each aspirant is required to submit 100 signatures from each of at least 108 districts.
With roughly 80 days left before close of nominations, a candidate is expected to cover more than a district per day in order to raise the required signatures.
The EC is supposed to verify the signatures and has in the past rejected some signatures from some aspirants. To cover for this, aspiring candidates often collect more than the required 100 signatures per district.
Mr Paul Bukenya, the EC spokesperson, said their offices are open from 7am to 5pm on working days for those who would like to pick forms and start the process of nomination.
“We have set up a tent where people who come in to pick nomination forms can get to rest and find out any details they need to know about the process. We are always here for people,” Mr Bukenya said.
On Friday afternoon, Gen Muntu said his teams from the party had picked the forms on his behalf and they were ready to begin the process of collecting the signatures across the country as they prepare to run in the coming elections.
“We had initially asked the Commission to extend the campaign period for the presidents because it is not realistic for them to have 90 days yet Members of Parliament have about 120 days. They have not yet responded but we are ready because for us one month is enough to return those forms,” Gen Muntu said.
Ms Kyalya said: “I come in this race expecting the best, I have moved across the country and this time round I want to get ready as early as possible. I have picked these forms and within one month or so I will have returned them.”
She is born to Irene Florence Wekiya of Luuka District and Lt Stephen Kyalya Kanobe who was a royal prince and hereditary heir to the Busambira Kingdom of Busoga.
Ms Kyalya who has spent most of her life working within Uganda and the United Kingdom is a mother and has 42 adopted children.
She went to Buckley High School in Iganga and Iganga Secondary School before joining Nabisunsa Girls School for her A-level.
Later Kyalya joined Makerere University to study law before leaving for the United Kingdom. She later completed her Bachelor of Laws Degree in 2003 at London Guildhall University.
She holds a Master Degree in Public Service Management with specialty in Health and Social Care in 2006.
Mr Rwomushana has cut out a niche as a controversial commentator on topical issues. He is a former guild president of Makerere University.
He also served as the Resident District Commissioner of Pader and the head of economics and research at the Internal Security Organisation (ISO).
Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu
The musician turned politician was in 1982. His entry into politics has excited different constituencies, including the youth and artistes. He made his foray into politics three years ago and quickly cultivated a following under a movement he called People Power, which he has since transformed into a party named National Unity Platform (NUP).
Maj Gen Mugisha Muntu
He left the Forum for Democratic Change, a political party he helped found in 2005 and led for five years between 2012 and 2017, to form the Alliance for National Transformation (ANT) in March 2019.
Born in October 1958 in Ntungamo District, Maj Gen Mugisha Muntu is described by those close to him as a principled and unwavering military officer and politician.
The self-effacing Gen Muntu is a former army commander whose decision to join the war that brought President Museveni to power confounded many because his father was deeply entrenched in the government of Milton Obote which Mr Museveni was fighting.
Mr Matsiko competed for the presidency of the Forum for Democratic Change in 2017 and lost to current party president Patrick Oboi Amuriat. Matsiko, 42, hails from Igara in Bushenyi District. He joined Makerere University to pursue a degree in Social Sciences but dropped out in second year and went to South Africa, from where he returned a few years ago.
Mr Bbaale claims to be a former child soldier who joined the army at 10 years in 1988. He later served in the Presidential Protection Unit (PPU), now Special Forces Command, up to 2002. He also studied signals telecommunication and had marine training in the army. The businessman is the president of the Ecological Party of Uganda.
Rugaba was born and raised in Kabale District.The father of 12 went to St Paul’s Seminary in Kabale District before joining St Bernard’s College in Masaka District. He is a farmer who stays in Kabale.
Mwesigye, 39, is a father and a pastor at House of God Church in Entebbe. He attended St Agnes Primary School in Entebbe, Kajjansi Progressive for O-level and St Lawrence Creamland Campus for A-level. He dropped out of Makerere University.
Joseph Kazura Mwambazi was born in 1970. He has served in the armed forces. He says he studied command, control, administration, military intelligence and counterterrorism at Kabamba Military Academy.
Nuwasiima who hails from Mbarara District Studied Economics at Makerere University, Kampala.