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President Museveni leads in new opinion poll for 2016 elections

KAMPALA Uganda (Xinhua) -- Ugandan new national poll results on Friday gave incumbent President Yoweri Museveni a landslide victory against his opponents if the 2016 presidential elections were held last month.

The 2015 Opinion poll report by Research World International, "Measuring the National Political Temperature ahead of the 2016 General Elections" revealed that overall, if elections were held in July, President Museveni would win by 54 percent, Kizza Besigye, main opposition leader would get 19 percent, 15 percent for former Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi and others candidates at 12

The poll carried out between July 11 and 26 with a total sample size of 2,320 in the 48 districts out of 112 across the East African country targeted respondents aged 17 years and above.

On the aided choice for the president candidate to support during the 2016 polls, 51 per cent gave it to Museveni, 15 per cent would support Besigye, 11 per cent went for Mbabazi, Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga, the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) president, Mugisha Muntu, Democratic party president, Norbert Mao, Uganda People’s Congress party president, Jimmy Akena, Kampala Lord Mayo Erias Lukwago, each got 1 per cent, 8 per cent were undecided, 8 per cent declined to mention, others were 3 per cent and one percent said they don’t know.

On the un-aided choice for the presidency, 55 per cent of the respondents said Museveni is the best choice, 17 per cent gave Besigye, Mbabazi got 13 per cent, while 7 per cent of the respondents said they were undecided, three percent believed none and others one percent.

"The strategic purpose of the survey was to measure public attitudes, opinions and behaviors on politics, governance, and civic issues so as to inform the public debate about national democracy, intra party democracy and competition, choices and drivers of choices," said Patrick Wakida, the chief Executive of Research World International.

"Our poll results give incumbent president Museveni the lead. He is doing better than the other candidates intending to run in the next year’s presidential polls," he said.

At least 94 percent of the registered voters in Uganda intend to vote in the 2016 polls, which are slated between February and March 12.

The Electoral Commission is yet to issue the exact polling date.

Out of those who intend to vote in the 2016 presidential polls, at least 32 percent of them are new voters aged between 17-24 years of age, which is likely to pitch Museveni and his former bush physician Besigye for the fourth straight time.

The poll showed that 82 percent of the respondents supported NRM while 13 percent were affiliated to lead opposition party FDC.

The respondents said that the key drivers to decide whom to vote for in the presidential elections are mainly the pledges to fighting corruption, job creation, health care and economic growth.

Some 25 of the respondents pegged the elections to fighting corruption, unemployment / job creation at 20 per cent, improving the health care at 18 percent and improving economic growth at 7 per cent, providing quality education for citizens at 8 percent and ensuring peace and security in the country at 5 per cent.

At least some 38 per cent of the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) party members think it’s time for a new party leader.

President Museveni has been in power since 1986 after five year guerrilla war in the central part of the country.

Some 34 per cent of the NRM members consider the former sacked party Secretary General, Mbabazi a viable party leader for the post-Museveni and would vote him as an independent. Mbabazi who was sacked as Prime Minister and party Secretary General last year, last month announced he will run as an independent candidate in the next year’s polls.

At least 39 per cent of the respondents feel the opposition should unite and field one candidate in the 2016 presidential elections in 2016, while 38 per cent do not believe so.

The opposition recently formed a joint Democratic Alliance to field a joint presidential candidate, legislators and local council.

According to the poll, only 33 percent of the voters sampled have confidence in 2016 elections, some 32 percent do not believe that the elections will be free and fair while 23 per cent are not sure of the polls outcome.

Some 29 have no fear in the polls, 24 per cent fear for election rigging, 23 per cent fear the chaos might erupt if President Museveni wins, 16 per cent fear voter intimidation, 14 per cent think of vote buying, two percent fear riots and demonstrations, corruption at 0.4 per cent, don’t know at 0.3 per cent and inflation stands at 0.3 per cent.

The poll that opposition has already dismissed as biased shows that 45 percent of the respondents don’t believe that political power can peacefully change hands through elections in Uganda and 61 per cent don’t think the incumbent president can peacefully hand over power if defeated in the 2016 polls.

"We don’t believe in these polls at all.

"We doubt the criteria they used to come up with the polls results," sa

id Asuman Basalirwa, the president of Justice Forum.

"The poll is aimed at serving the interests of the ruling regime to show that it has massive support in the country," he said.

But the ruling party dismissed the opposition fears

"The position should stop crying.

"The poll only confirms one thing that President Museveni is the most popular candidate.

"He will definitely win in round one," said Don Wanyama, the media political assistant in the office of the NRM party chairman.

Some 76 percent of the voters want the presidential term limits that were scrapped in the country’s constitution in 2005 to be restored.

Uganda legislators in 2005 abolished the presidential term limits in the constitution give President Museveni to rule the country for more years.

Museveni last month picked his party nominations papers for the position of chairman and presidential flag bearer in the next year’s polls.

On the 2011 election promises, some 43 per cent feel that President Museveni has "somehow" delivered his campaign promises, 26 per cent believe he has not and 26 percent that he has done it.



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