Brian Keitira: NUP’s intriguing dynamics, A boon for Museveni and NRM in 2026 Elections

The National Unity Platform (NUP), Uganda’s prominent opposition party, has been making headlines recently not only for its stance against the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) but also due to the internal discord between party President Hon Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine and Deputy President for Buganda region Hon Mathias Mpuga.

While internal conflicts within a party are typically perceived as detrimental, in this case, the friction between the two prominent figures might inadvertently benefit President Yoweri Museveni and his NRM party as they gear up for the crucial 2026 general elections.

All this fracas has been brought about by corruption-related allegations where the former leader of the opposition is believed to have pocketed 500M and the former thinks that Mr Mpuga is in bed with NRM and to be specific the speaker of Parliament which has made him undermine the party leadership led by Bobi wine. This explains why Kyagulanyi has cracked the whip on the embattled legislator.

The rift between Bobi Wine and Mathias Mpuga has been escalating, with public disagreements on various party-related matters becoming increasingly apparent. The exchanges between the two has been all over social media and it’s not about to stop. As much as Hon Mpuga has the backing of Buganda and the Catholic Church, Bobi Wine thinks he has the backing of the NUP supporters at the grassroots.

The differing ideologies and leadership styles of the two leaders have polarized members and supporters of NUP, potentially sowing seeds of confusion and disunity within the party’s ranks. It is also believed that Kyagulanyi faults Mpuga for being too wise and experienced in leadership unlike him which makes the ghetto president insecure. This internal bickering has diverted attention from the party’s core objectives and weakened its ability to present a unified front against the incumbent NRM.

For President Museveni and the NRM, the discord within NUP presents a strategic advantage. This has been seen by the camps that have been created within NUP. Legislators like Medard Segona, Abed Bwanika, Muwanga Kivumbi and many others back Mpuga at the expense of Kyagulanyi and his henchmen. The division within the opposition camp could serve to distract NUP from formulating a coherent electoral strategy, mobilizing its base effectively, and presenting a formidable challenge to the ruling party.

Mr Museveni, a seasoned politician with a firm grip on power, can exploit the vulnerabilities exposed by the internal conflicts within NUP to strengthen the NRM’s position and secure another term in office.

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Moreover, the public spectacle of infighting in NUP might tarnish the party’s image and erode the confidence of voters who seek a united and stable alternative to the ruling regime. The perception of disarray within NUP could drive disillusioned supporters towards the NRM or other opposition groups if at all they still exist because the Democratic Party and Uganda People’s Congress are already working with President Museveni .

Therefore all these internal wars have made MPs like Hon Dr Twaha Kagabo of Bukoto South join PLU, and Councillors from Masaka like Ali Kateregga of Kakunyu Ward in Kabonera among many others who have defected due to the leadership crisis that is at the Kavule outfit NUP.

All this mess is bolstering Museveni’s electoral prospects in 2026.

In conclusion, while internal bickering within a political party is seldom advantageous, the ongoing discord within NUP between Bobi Wine and Mathias Mpuga could inadvertently play into the hands of President Museveni and his NRM party.

As the 2026 general elections approach, the NRM stands to benefit from the fractured state of its main opposition rival, exploiting the division to its advantage and potentially strengthening its hold on power from 2026 and beyond.

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The Writer Is a Senior Cadre and works with the Office Of The National Chairman NRM (ONC).

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