The opinion poll released yesterday by the Research World International shows that the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) party and the Opposition are gaining but also losing support in some regions.
The NRM support in Acholi, Lango and Teso sub-regions, which had previously been supporting the Opposition, is increasing.
According to the poll, Mr Museveni has 65 per cent in Lango and 58 per cent in Acholi Sub-region which until 2006 strongly voted for the Opposition.
In the previous elections, Mr Museveni won in Lango with 58 per cent but the polls show the support has increased by 7 per cent.
Buganda, Sebei, Busoga and Bugisu which have always supported President Museveni, are now gravitating towards the Opposition. These regions, however, remain highly contested in the polls.
If the Opposition fronted one candidate and presumably manage to convince all its supporters to rally behind a joint candidate, Buganda, Busoga, Sebei and Bugisu sub-regions could be taken by the Opposition.
In Buganda, Mr Museveni scored 27 per cent against Bobi Wine’s 37 per cent, Dr Kizza Besigye’s 22 and Maj Gen Mugisha Muntu with 2 per cent.
In the 2016 polls, Mr Museveni got 60 per cent in Buganda and all the Opposition candidates combined got 36 per cent. But the opinion poll shows he will get 27 per cent in the 2021 election in the sub-region with the largest number of voters.
The pollsters, however, didn’t explain the significant drop in Buganda.
If the Opposition fails to front a joint candidate, Buganda will be hotly contested between Mr Museveni, Mr Kyagulanyi and Dr Besigye if he agrees to contest again. In the previous elections, of the 4.5 million registered voters in Buganda, President Museveni won the region with 1.4 million votes. Dr Besigye got more than 600,000 votes. The rest didn’t turn up to vote.
But according to the new poll, there is high enthusiasm for the voters to turn up to vote in 2021 polls.
“While there are some disparities across the regions, the enthusiasm is consistent with overall perceptions regarding the presidential elections,” the survey says.
“With the exception of Bugisu (79 per cent), Buganda (83 per cent), Acholi (87per cent) and Ankole (88 per cent), all the other 11 regions recorded participation interest above the overall average (91 per cent),” it adds
In Sebei, Mr Museveni scored 40 per cent against 58 per cent of the combined votes of Kyagulanyi, Dr Besigye and Maj Gen Muntu while in Bugisu, Mr Museveni got 49 per cent against the Opposition’s 50 per cent.
In Acholi during the 2016 elections, all the seven Opposition candidates got 45 per cent of the votes and Mr Museveni had 40 per cent but the opinion poll shows Mr Museveni will get 58 per cent in the 2021 polls.
Mr Museveni’s increased support in the region could be attributed to the government recovery programmes in the area after LRA war.
According to the poll, President Museveni will still dominate the rest of the regions such as Ankole, Kigezi, Karamoja, West Nile, Tooro and Bunyoro
The Rwenzori Sub-region which has Kasese, Ntoroko and Bundibugyo districts, is another hotly contested region because of the issue of Rwenzururu king. The national coordinator of the Operation Wealth Creation programme, Gen Salim Saleh (born Caleb Akandwanahoha), went to Kasese in December 2018 and told Rwenzururu Kingdom leaders that their King Charles Wesley Mumbere would soon be allowed to return to Kasese.
Although the king has not stepped foot in any part of his kingdom since November 2016, the Rwenzururu Queen Agnes Ithungu visited the kingdom in January and criss-crossed the area with a message of unity and hope.
President Museveni dominates Bundibugyo and Ntoroko districts but Kasese is still controlled by the Opposition when it comes to parliamentary and presidential elections.
In the 2016 polls, Opposition swept Kasese District. The ruling party has majority leaders at the local level. But sources say the NRM may take advantage of FDC’s internal fights and gain more support in the district.
According to the poll, 79 per cent of the respondents in all the 15 regions said they belong to the NRM. This is followed by People Power with 9 per cent and the FDC with 6 percent.
This shows that the NRM support is not an automatic support for President Museveni who has been in power for 36 years.
In the previous election, Museveni got 64 per cent in West Nile while the Opposition had 32 per cent. This indicates his support has reduced to 56 per cent, according to the new poll. In the Sebei sub-region, Museveni got 73 per cent while the Oppsotion had 26 per cent. But the poll shows Mr Museveni will get 40 per cent in the next election while the Opposition 59 per cent.