By Najib Mulema
In the just concluded week, Winnie Byanyima the wife to former four time presidential candidate, Dr Kizza Besigye, was reported saying that she will run for president in the near future because she has what it takes.
“I have no question in my mind that I have the ability or even the passion to change our country,” Byanyima quoted by Daily Monitor.
The Oxfam Executive Director asserted that if she is supported by any political party most likely the Forum for Democratic Change [FDC] and other women movements, she will contest.
The undisputed Byanyima is not new in the field of politics; she has been around for quite a long time so when she makes such an assertive declaration, it can’t surprise many.
Byanyima served as a member of the Constituent Assembly that drafted the 1995 Ugandan Constitution. She then served two consecutive terms as a member of parliament, representing Mbarara Municipality . She was then appointed director of the Directorate of Women, Gender and Development at the headquarters of the African Union.
From African Union she was appointed as director of the Gender Team in the Bureau for Development Policy at UNDP in November 2006 and in January, he was announced Executive director of Oxfam in 2013.
It is through her excellent service delivery and hard work that Byanyima is always appointed on merit and this accredits her to a national appeal especially when it comes to sensitive positions like that of being a nations’ president.
From that political and work experience, many opposition supporters may see Byanyima as a natural replacement for Besigye to run against President Yoweri Museveni who they suspect will return in 2021, or maybe his wife Janet Kataha Museveni, like word is making rounds.
In August this year, there were rumours that FDC strategists wanted Byanyima re-introduced to the party structures slowly because she has a national and international appeal to run for president.
On the other hand, it seems that Janet Museveni who is currently the minister of Education, may be President Museveni’s new project.
The president has groomed the first lady to his expectations (I think), and it’s more likely that without him coming back in 2021, Janet will be NRM’s suitable candidate.
Remember without Mbabazi in the incumbent’s party (NRM), no one can overtake the first lady when it comes to a national appeal in case looking for a candidate to stand for presidency.
Well, even has been into politics for a very long time so she understands how the system runs, from being a member of parliament for Ruhama county (2011-2016), she was once a minister for Karamoja which is one of the hardest ministries in the country and she delivered well.
Currently Janet is the minister of Education and she has experienced all the hardships any typical politician could in that ministry. It is through these challenges any politician can prove that he/she is worth in the political sphere.
And recently in the concluded presidential elections 2016, during campaigns, Museveni used to move with his first lady in almost all his campaign destinations, introducing her to the people as well as her (Janet) campaigning for him which move he never carried out in all his previous campaigns (1996, 2001, 2006 and 2011).
What does that show?
President Museveni could have carried out such a move in order to introduce Janet officially to the people that she will be NRM’s flag bearer in the coming presidential elections in 2021. However, it is like Winnie is declaring her stand, kind of saying, ‘Janet cannot become president without my putting up a fight’.
Will the 2021 presidential elections be a wives affair race?