Much attention has been paid to the announcement by Ugandan entertainer Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, known by his stage name Bobi Wine, to run against President Yoweri Museveni in the 2021 presidential elections. Museveni, who has ruled Uganda since 1986, has suppressed political opposition, amended the constitution to eliminate term limits, and removed the presidential age limit as part of efforts to extend his time in office. Wine’s candidacy presents one of the biggest challenges Museveni has seen in his 30-plus years of ruling, but he is not the only one to throw his hat into the ring.
Timothy Mugerwa, an activist and president of the environmental NGO Green Campaign Africa, announced he will be running as Uganda’s first Green Party candidate. Mugerwa has no prior political experience, but has nonetheless garnered attention due to his advocacy for conservation and addressing climate change. During his announcement, Mugerwa highlighted Uganda’s ongoing struggles with drought and landslides, exacerbated by climate change, and said the current government has done little to address these issues. He accused party officials of allowing deforestation to clear land for new factories in which they have a vested interest.
Mugerwa launched his campaign under the name “Green Revolution”, and is financing it by using his own money and donations from close friends. Prior to announcing his candidacy, he led a campaign to plant 2 million trees throughout Uganda to combat deforestation. Nearly half of Uganda’s forests have been lost in a span of 40 years.
In addition to Mugerwa and Bobi Wine, about 10 other candidates plan to run against Museveni in 2021.