If Presidential elections were held in Uganda today, incumbent President Yoweri Museveni would win with a 55 per cent margin, a new poll has revealed.
Acording to the poll conducted by Research World International and Uganda Governance Monitoring Platform, former Forum for Democratic Change president, Dr Kizza Besigye would garner 17 per cent while former NRM Secretary General, Amama Mbabazi would score 13 per cent.
It says if the same election were held today among Museveni, Besigye and Amama only, Museveni would lead with 55 percent, followed by Besigye with 18 percent and Mbabazi with 14 percent.
Dr Patrick Wakida, the lead researcher says the opinion poll indicates a decline in support for President Museveni who won the 2011 elections by 68.3 per cent. Besigye got 28% in 2011 elections. He says there could a possibility of a re-run if Museveni's popularity continues to decline ahead of next elections.
According to the opinion poll, 49 percent of the respondents disagreed that President Museveni was the right candidate for presidency while 18 percent of respondent said he was the right candidate for the presidency.
Dr. Wakida further says the emergence of Mbabazi as a front runner in the elections could dent Museveni's chances of a straight win. The poll comes months after Mbabazi and Besigye separately announced their return to contest for the Presidency.
While Besigye is vying for the position within the FDC party, Mbabazi announced recently that he will not vie for the top position within the NRM party, which he subscribes to.
Wakida says the changes in the political landscape, backed by emergence of other political players like Mbabazi, are likely to make the presidential elections the most watched race in 2016.
“We did this poll when there were many activities. Remember John Patrick Amama Mbabazi had just declared his candidature, Dr Kizza Besigye had just come back in the fray of politics of FDC and they were therefore outside campaigning. Those are very serious factors that you would consider. So for now the race is shaped.”
The poll was conducted between between from July 13-26 and a total of 2,320 respondents above 17 years interviewed in 48 districts.
If the election was between Museveni and Mbabazi, the incumbent would get 54% while Mbabazi would get 22%. Museveni would get 57% if he stood with only Besigye, who would score 28%.
Besigye still remains the preferred candidate within the Opposition, according to 88% of the respondents followed by Gen. Mugisha Muntu at 8%.
“You have majority saying they still want Besigye to be the flag-bearer and Mr Muntu with a certain percentage. They think Mr Besigye has more courage, is more resilient, he has been there for a long time, he is a fighter and when you look at Mr Muntu it is an issue of: ‘he is very honest, a good guy, I like him.’ Generally he is humble”, Wakida said.
In the poll, 61% of the respondents belonged to different political parties. Out of this number, 82% belonged to the ruling NRM party.
With the opposition pushing towards a coalition through The Democratic Alliance (TDA) platform, 39% want the opposition to field a joint presidential candidate while 38% disagree.