Those dreaming of change are squaring off against a man who, for 35 years, the CIA has seen as a crucial pivot against the Islamist menace in the Horn of Africa.
A 38-year-old pop music star-turned-opposition icon, his rallies vandalised by police in the glare of press cameras, his aide allegedly run down by a police van; blocked from boarding an idling airplane, and forcibly returned to a hospital when out to fly abroad for treatment.
On paper this scenario is ripe for implosion. A revolution, perhaps.
This is Uganda, where a blood-stained presidential election took place last week, on the back of youth-led efforts to unseat Yoweri Museveni, an ex-rebel who has wielded power since 1986.
In the build-up, Western monitors were largely excluded, a Canadian Broadcasting Corporation television crew was deported, 16 people were gunned down in an encounter with police in November, and the internet has been paused. It was announced on Saturday that Museveni had won the election with 58.64% of the vote.
Bobi Wine, Museveni’s youthful chief opponent, is seething with anger. After all, Uganda has one of the world’s highest number of people under 25. They rallied on the streets under the hashtag #WeAreRemovingaDictator….