NRM leads with 65%-New poll
By David Lumu
The ruling NRM party remains Uganda's dominant political party according the latest Afro-barometer survey.
Of the 2, 400 respondents interviewed countrywide in May this year 65% favoured NRM compared to 15% for the opposition.
According to the poll, NRM support is more pronounced in the Western region at 84%, Northern region at 80%, Eastern region at 74%, Central region at 51%, while in Kampala the opposition leads with 37% and the NRM scores 35%.
The Afro-barometer is an African-led, non-partisan research network that conducts surveys on governance, democracy, economy in over 30 African states.
The research also shows that 69% of women prefer NRM compared to 10% for opposition. On the other hand, 61% of men also prefer NRM compared to 19% for opposition.
According to Francis Kibirige, the national coordinator of Hatchile Consult Ltd, the firm behind the Afro-Barometer survey, respondents was asked: "If presidential elections were held tomorrow, which party's candidate would you vote for?" The respondents were required to reply either ruling party or opposition political parties.
The survey shows that 71% of Ugandans believe that multiparty is a viable system of governance compared to 41% in 2002 before pluralism was re-introduced in 2005.
The survey also reveals that trust in opposition political parties in the last decade has doubled from 16% in 2002 to 31% today.
Despite increased support for multipartism, citizens are dissatisfied with the practice of multiparty politics especially with regard to competition
Dr. Fredrick Golooba-Mutebi, the lead researcher said that he discovered during the survey process that many Ugandans support the idea of having many political parties and also think that the opposition should work with Government to develop the country.
52% of the 2, 400 respondents sampled in Western, Eastern, Northern, Central and Kampala regions, believe that once elections are over, opposition parties and politicians should accept defeat and cooperate with government to help it develop the country.
Explaining NRM's popularity, Golooba-Mutebi said that although poll results mainly tackle preferences and not why people prefer such choices; the current crop of opposition doesn't provide tangible answers to the electorate.
"When you look at the survey, it seems that people are stuck with NRM, especially in rural areas and among women. The trouble with poll results is that they tell us what and not why. We have not done an in-depth research to find out why people support NRM. However, my view is that the state of the opposition doesn't provide a credible alternative to NRM," he said.
41% of the respondents believe that political opposition has no plan to solve the country's problems, while 32% argue that opposition actors have a viable strategy to the country's problems. 26% didn't agree or disagree with the lead question on whether the political opposition in Uganda presents a viable alternative vision and plan for the country."
The survey also indicates that 60% of respondents believe that competition between political parties could results into conflict, with 48% agreeing that more political parties should come up and participate so that Ugandans can have several choices when it comes to who governs them.
63% of the respondents also fear political intimidation or violence as the country prepares for the 2016 general elections.
On whether leaders elected serve people's interests, 72% of the sampled respondents said that that leaders serve personal political ambitions and not people's interests.
Recently two polls, conducted by the New Vision and Research World International put the National Resistance Movement (NRM) ahead of opposition parties as various actors prepare for the 2016 general elections showdown.