By Moses Walubiri
The ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) is facing a grim prognosis on account of its latest bye-election reversal in Luwero District, with the opposition citing it as a harbinger of NRM’s defeat in the 2016 general elections.
Contrary to claims by President Yoweri Museveni that the opposition rigged the bye-elections in favor of DP’s candidate, Brenda Nabukenya, the five opposition parties pushing for electoral reforms ahead of 2016 polls aver that the Luwero results are a microcosm of the political pulse countrywide.
“After over 28 years of lies, humiliating poverty, lack of services and blackmail, the people of Uganda cannot take it anymore. Those in Luwero simply expressed the general feeling pertaining throughout the country,” DP President, Norbert Mao, said during a joint press conference at FDC headquarters.
Citing the historical significance of Luwero as being the district where NRM waged its guerilla war that catapulted it to power, Mao and JEMMA President, Asuman Basalirwa, described the Luwero bye-election as having been “a referendum on Museveni.”
Brenda Nabukenya of the Democratic Party won the Luwero by-elections
“NRM is reeling from the defeat because of its significance. Museveni has always described Luwero as his ‘Political Mecca’ and for people there to reject him is hard to stomach,” Basalirwa said.
Mao described Museveni’s allegation that the opposition rigged elections as “laughable and not worthy of a response” on account of the Electoral Commission having been appointed by the president.
Late last month, Nabukenya beat NRM’s Rebecca Nalwanga by 16,346 votes – finally settling a feisty contest over a constituency that was into its second bye-election.
In the Luwero bye-election, the opposition made a spirited campaign for Nabukenya on a united front, with UPC’s Olara Otunnu describing the resultant triumph “a sweet victory.”
Earlier, Mao had intimated that the Interparty Organization for Dialogue (IPO) was all but dysfunctional on account of what he described as “the intransigence and arrogance of NRM.”
IPOD is a platform tailored to creating a bridge between all political parties represented in parliament.
Although it’s meant to be a club of Secretary Generals of the interested political parties, Mao took a swipe at NRM for delegating the Political Assistant of its Secretary General as its representative to IPOD.
“This person cannot commit NRM. In 2010, we agreed upon electoral reforms but NRM rejected them when they were tabled in parliament,” the former Gulu District chairman said.
Close to four months ago, FDC, DP, JEMMA, CP and UPC in sync with civil society organizations launched a campaign to popularize their demand for electoral reforms ahead of 2016 polls.
Otunnu said the group is set to take stock of its campaign thus far before it embarks on the second phase of its ‘crusade.’
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NRM Luwero defeat a referendum on Museveni