Until late 2008, Patrick Wakida was a full time personal assistant to Col Kizza Besigye. Shortly thereafter, he took leave and went into private business and academic/research work where he got a PhD. This explains why he is currently a PhD holder. In 2011, he resurfaced and accompanied Winnie Byanyima on several campaign trails as she campaigned for Besigye mostly in eastern Uganda towns. After elections, he re-emerged again but this time in a different way: as a pollster working under Kiwatule-based Research World International (RWI).
His first big one was the report which revealed that Rebecca Kadaga’s political influence was rising while President Yoweri Museveni’s was waning. This opinion poll caused a lot of debate with some supporters of first Lady Janet Museveni complaining that it had been doctored to favor Premier Amama Mbabazi. Since then he never looked back. He has continued outing opinion polls after another.
The ongoing FDC race has apparently brought him fodder: he is these days into monthly opinion poll updates showing who between Gen Mugisha Muntu, Nandala Mafabi and Geoffrey Ekanya is in the lead. The first poll in September revealed Muntu was leading with 47% against Nandala’s 26%. Ekanya had 1%. The latest poll for October came out last week and placed Muntu at 49% and Nandala at 26% and Ekanya at 3%. The October poll reveals that the number of undecided delegates has reduced from September’s 27% to now 23%.
It is not hard to understand why Nandala’s camp has always dismissed Wakida’s polls going as far as disputing his FDC credentials. FDC big girl, Sarah Eperu, currently Nandala’s PR manager, went as far as claiming Wakida is a mole planted by NRM in FDC. Wakida, who Eperu claims is Muntu’s supporter, has naturally dismissed these claims asserting that, despite being FDC, opinion polls reflect his professional findings without any biases. The polls have revealed several bitter truths to the Nandala camp which has invested in this campaign more than anybody else.
Anybody who spends a minimum of Shs10m per day on facilitation would naturally be angry with such results. Muntu’s camp has cautiously been accepting Wakida’s polls saying it’s an opportunity to know where they are weak. In contrast, Nandala’s camp has always reacted very belligerently and Rtd Maj. Rubaramira Ruranga has always been the hatchet-man uttering terrible things against Muntu. It has always been evident that Nandala’s camp, mostly comprising fresh University graduates, isn’t sufficiently in touch with delegates. Muntu has easily touched base with delegates because most MPs and elected FDC leaders are on his side. These have leverage and unfettered contact with delegates in their respective districts.
Indeed Wakida’s survey shows Muntu is beating Nandala in all tribal sub regions except in Teso and his native Bugisu sub region. In Acholi Muntu has 50% against Nandala’s 25%: 61% in Ankole against Nandala’s 14%: 35% in Bukedi against Nandala’s 31% (Bukedi touches Bugisu and Nandala would be expected to have advantage): 79% in Bunyoro against Nandala’s 5%: 53% in Busoga against Nandala’s 21%: 42% in Buganda against Nandala’s 27%: 33% in Rubaramira’s home turf of Kigezi against Nandala’s 10%: 74% in Lango against Nandala’s 17%: 64% in Karamoja against Nandala’s 18% and 58% in Toro against Nandala’s 18%. In Bugisu and Teso, Nandala’s respective scores are 51 and 44% against Muntu’s 14 and 31%. In West Nile, Muntu has 65% against Nandala’s 32%. Poor Ekanya is seriously trailing in all ways-whether delegates are sampled in terms of regions, gender or even age!
Except for Teso, the results shouldn’t surprise. Teso surprises because FDC diehards like Alice Alaso, Elijah Okupa and others hail from there and they are for Muntu. Nandala’s great performance there could be explained by a number of factors. One there are so many Bagisus doing business in Teso amongst whom the Budadiri west MP has enormous influence. He also personally funded many delegates who unsuccessfully sought to become MPs or local council leaders in 2011.
He has mainly Sarah Eperu and former Bukedea MP Albert Oduman in his camp from there. Besides, the personality ego clashes between Alaso and Okupa over who is the king maker there, could also be working for Nandala. Buganda is expected to be a no go area for Nandala because chief FDC kingmaker Joyce Sebugwawo has almost all the delegates in her bag for Muntu. Buganda is home to 174 delegates out of 724 delegates comprising the voting conference at Namboole. 62% of them were sampled and majority pledged support for Muntu. Nandala comes from Eastern region which has 200 delegates but Muntu still has upper hand there. This is simply because majority influential leaders there are for Muntu.
There are reports that even Bugisu MPs like Wamanga Wamai and the two other MPs from Sironko resent Nandala and are only being polite for fear of being branded traitors by Bagisu co-ethnics. Reports are that the trio has problems with Nandala’s leadership style of bulldozing and imposing his views on them. Those from his Sironko district are said to be struggling to emerge out of Nandala’s shadow. Some key Muntu supporters claim Wamai has sympathies for their man. The results from Northern Uganda which has 154 delegates shouldn’t surprise many.
Nandala has limited support amongst MPs there and these include Betty Aol (Gulu woman MP) and Obongi County’s Kaps Fungaroo. In Lango, he will struggle to get any vote as leading FDC names like Cecilia Ogwal are all openly for Muntu. Indeed Wakida’s results show Muntu soaring with 74% there against Nandala’s paltry 17%. Heavens knows how he even got this 17% given the fact that no easily recognizable FDC leader there has openly fraternized with Nandala. Wakida’s poll also reveals very surprising results about Kigezi. Muntu has 33% against Nandala’s 10%. With Besigye keeping neutral and heavyweights like Rubaramira, Jack Sabiiti and Roland Kaginda going openly for Nandala, Muntu’s camp has always expected doom in Kigezi.
I’m sure they too won’t easily believe they are beating Nandala in Kigezi. Its possible FDC delegates are seeing the damage Nandala’s undisguised attacks are capable of doing to their party. Indeed many delegates believe FDC could die like DP once Nandala takes over. The man is expected to purge the party of all those who didn’t support him. He has always claimed there are moles and thieves in FDC and he will expel such characters the day he takes charge at Najjanankumbi. This is possibly scaring off delegates. Wakida’s poll also says something about general fatigue and apathy Ugandans are increasingly developing towards politics. It, for instance, must worry FDC strategists to learn that 43% of delegates aged between 55 and 64 years remain undecided on who to vote. In fact, these are delegates amongst whom any momentum is yet to be created ahead of the delegates’ conference next month. Fatigue is recorded to be at 26% amongst delegates aged 45-54 years. The poll reveals Muntu beats Nandala amongst all age group: his support being highest amongst those aged between 19-24 years. Nandala, who claims to be younger and therefore representing youth’s interests in the race, has 33% amongst those below 24 years.
When it comes to gender, the poll shows that Muntu has 51% amongst women and 48% amongst men against Nandala’s scores of 20% and 26% respectively. The general dislike women delegates seem to have for Nandala should be understood in the Salaam Musumba context. FDC women, in both NEC and parliament, loath Musumba on petty grounds such as being proud and a frank talker. She is the type who will tell you point blank that “you are a fool or you aren’t good enough.” This has alienated her from many women in FDC who are out to fight Nandala for whom Musumba is chief strategist.
On the whole, delegates, as per Wakida’s poll, preferred Muntu on grounds that Nandala is engaged enough being businessman, LOP and MP. Muntu’s other selling points include being approachable, humble, trustworthy, well versed with FDC history, presentability (though the poll equates him to Nandala on this score whereby respondents felt the two are equally presentable), clean record, military background, being issue-based, disciplined and nationalistic. More respondents felt he is a better resource mobilizer than Nandala. The other strange twist is that respondents believed Nandala is a better public speaker and more charismatic than Muntu. An equal number of delegates believed the two men are equally contemptuous of tribalism. 50% believed Muntu has a better message than Nandala who scored 28% on message-packaging. 53% respondents claimed Muntu would get block vote from their district against Nandala’s 24%.
Then 22% don’t know who of the two has more support in their districts. It’s also revealed Muntu has (either through sms, phone call, rally or meetings) contacted more delegates directly than Nandala. The 65% of the delegates are optimistic FDC will emerge stronger after Namboole against 3% & 2% who respectively fear it will emerge divided and weakened. While 14% believed Nandala is cautious in his utterances not to destroy the party, a bigger group (46%) thinks Muntu is mature and cares about the party emerging stronger after Namboole than Nandala. Wakida says his RWI is an independent global research company and that they “commissioned this opinion poll between 25th September -3rd October 2012 with the aim of assessing the opinions of the FDC delegates about the ongoing party primaries to choose the leader of FDC.” They used mostly “Public Opinion Telephonic Survey” method to arrive at their results. The poll was given with a margin of error of +-2.
Wakida says the objective was “to get the delegates opinion on who they consider to be a most suited person to lead FDC: measuring the drivers of choice among the delegates & to Understand issues that are shaping the campaign.”