Some section of Ugandans has taken matters into its own hands and burned to ashes president Yoweri Museveni’s most cherished yellow T-shirt.
Angry youth in Masaka decided to torch Museveni T-shirts and displayed the action for public consumption.
This came after NRM supporters handed over NRM cards to Kizza Besigye at Kicwamba subcounty rally in Kasese district and Fort Portal rally in Kabarole district.
The real motive of burning Museveni T-shirts is still unknown but the activists claim to “be tired”.
The “Museveni T-shirt” is an old invention going back to the last election.
The T-shirts entered politics in 2013 when a blood battle nearly occurred in Rukungiri as politicians fought over them in a bid to challenge Forum for Democratic Change (FDC)’s blue T-shirts.
Entrance of Mbabazi T-shirts
Early in 2014, NRM caucus met at Kyankwanzi retreat and declared President Museveni as the party’s sole candidate in the 2016 elections.
The caucus accused Amama Mbabazi, then Prime Minister of harbouring presidential ambitions.
His loyalists started encouraging him to stand against Museveni and by April 2014, they printed JPAM T-shirts and started distributing them across the country.
In September 2014, Mbabazi was fired as the country’s Prime Minister and replaced with Ruhakana Rugunda.
Following his exit, Amama’s supporters formed different groups; NRM Poor Youth Forum, JPAM team, Mbabazi Western Brigade, UMOJA-Kabale Mbabazi group, etc to show their support the man who fell from grace.
These groups donned JPAM yellow T-shirts on functions increasing friction with Pro-Museveni camp.
A war of T-shirts then started with the emergence of Mbabazi vs Museveni camps.
In October, the JPAM T-shirts flooded Namboole during Uganda Cranes game with Guinea attended by Amama himself as the guest of honour.
The youth who distributed them were arrested and many more continue to go to jail over these T-shirts and Amama posters.
In December 2014, the Museveni T-shirts were seen in Namboole being donned by NRM delegates during the conference that saw the firing of Mbabazi as the NRM Secretary General.
At some point, Members of the National Executive Committee (NEC) refused to wear T-shirts inscribed with Museveni’s portrait at State House Entebbe.
While being accredited at Kololo airstrip, NRM NEC members were given a bag with two t-shirts, a booklet with a heading “Museveni sole candidate 2016” which they later donned at the Namboole conference.
Row over T-shirts
In May 2015, drama ensued at the Golden Jubilee anniversary celebrations of Kagando hospital in Kasese district when Rev Canon Julius Kithaghenda, the master of ceremonies, presented yellow T-shirts to FDC MPs during a fundraising event.
According to The Observer, Winfred Kiiza (Kasese Woman), Yokasi Bihandi (Bukonzo East) and William Nzoghu (Busongora North) accused the organizers of politicising the event where Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga was chief guest by peddling yellow T-shirts.
Kithaghenda first approached Kiiza with the yellow T-shirt but she declined to take it, saying the yellow colour was political.
Her husband, Yokasi Bihandi, and Busongora North MP William Nzoghu also refused the T-shirts.
This forced Bukonzo West MP and minister for Defence Dr Crispus Kiyonga to buy the yellow T-shirts for the speaker, himself and Kiiza at Shs 10,000 each.
But however much Kiyonga tried to persuade Kiiza to take the T-shirt, pointing out that the yellow colour represents the Vatican and the Catholic Church of which she is a follower, the Kasese Woman MP refused to take it.
Museveni T-shirts to hoodwink police
In July 2015, Mbabazi’s supporters in Mbale wore President Museveni’s T-shirts at a meeting convened to organise for the former prime minister’s visit in the district.
Abdallah Naleka, who claimed to be Elgon Region team leader for Mbabazi’s vote-lobbying team, told Daily Monitor that they wore the T-shirts to avoid police interruption because the police seem to be at peace with it.
Police and plain clothed security operatives led by Wanale Division internal security officer Patrick Kisembo did not block the meeting.
Recently, NRM 24/7 a group allegedly allied to Museveni attacked Mbabazi’s Kololo home accusing him of corruption and empty promises.
They were all donning Museveni T-shirts which sparked a fight with those donning JPAM T-shirts.
Later at a Bugolobi meeting, youth wearing Museveni T-shirts announced breaking away from Mbabazi to join Museveni camp.
Crime preventers being passed in police training schools been seen donning Museveni T-shirts as well as youth training in agriculture practices.
Crime preventers were recently dressed in Museveni T-shirts to bury Amama alive in Gulu and later in Kitgum protests.
Wherever the president visits in his wealth creation campaign, people show up donning his T-shirts.