By Francis Kagolo
and Patrick Ogwang
INDEPENDENT candidate Erias Lukwago has been elected the mayor of Kampala city. Lukwago won the hotly contested election held on Monday after beating NRMâ€™s contender Peter Ssematimba by 110,310 votes.
Lukwago garnered 229,325 votes (64.41%), while Ssematimba got 119,015 (33.43%) in a race that attracted other four candidates.
The returning officer, Molly Mutazindwa, announced the results at about 5:20am yesterday after a night-long tallying exercise at the UMA Conference Hall in Lugogo.
â€œThe victory is for the people of Kampala and the rest of Uganda. I am going to work for a fundamental change in the city,â€ Lukwago pledged after he was announced winner.
Another candidate, Michael Mabikke of the Social Democratic Party, came third with 4,092 votes (1.15%). He was followed by Francis Babu, an independent who got 2,059 votes (0.58%).
Sandra Katebalirwe Ngabo, an independent and Emmanuel Tumusiime of the Forum for Integrity in Leadership managed 1,035 votes (0.29%) and 539 votes (0.15%) respectively.
Lukwago becomes the 15th mayor of Kampala since the 1950s. He takes over from Nasser Sebaggala, who joined the ruling NRM party from the Democratic Party.
During the campaigns, Lukwago cast himself as an anti-corruption crusader and a supporter of the less privileged in the city.
Lukwago takes the reins of a city beset by garbage, congestion, poor drainage, a poor road network, traffic jams, corruption and other daunting challenges.
Although he appeared on the ballot as an independent candidate, Lukwago is a Democratic Party member.
He was endorsed by the Suubi group, which has strong links to the Mengo establishment, and the Forum for Democratic Change of former presidential candidate Dr. Kizza Besigye.
The first election of the Kampala mayor was cancelled on February 23 when violence broke out after reports that voting had started before the prescribed time and that there had been ballot stuffing and rigging.
On Monday, the EC chairman, Eng. Badru Kiggundu, his deputy Joseph Biribonwa and secretary Sam Rwakoojo, witnessed the entire tallying exercise amid tight security mounted by the Police.
Kiggundu said the exercise was free and fair and commended his team for â€œwork well done.â€
Lukwago and his team, which included his lawyer, Medard Sseggona, FDC vice-president Salaamu Musumba and MP-elect for Kyadondo East Ibrahim Nganda, celebrated inside the hall as supporters cheered outside.
Lukwago beat his opponents in all the five divisions, including polling stations where his opponents voted from. In Kampala Central, Lukwago got 22,312 votes, while Sematimba polled 14,152. In Nakawa, Lukwago got 34,762 compared to Sematimbaâ€™s 21,737.
In Rubaga Division, where Ssematimba is the LC3 chairman, Lukwago got 62,791 votes, while Sematimba had 30,115.
In Kawempe, Lukwago scored 50,694 votes, Ssematimba got 24,094, while Mabikke got 775.
Lukwago also beat his opponents in Makindye Division, where he got 58,766 votes as Ssematimba took 28,906.
Save for Ngabo, no other candidate was at the tally centre as the results were being announced.
Ngabo described the exercise as free and fair and said: â€œLukwagoâ€™s win was inevitable.â€
Sseggona asked Ssematimba to join Lukwago to improve the city. He also advised Lukwago to unite the people of Kampala so as to spur development.