By Geoffrey Kulubya & Samuel Muwanguzi in Dallas, Texas
Brian Kwesiga, 26, has been elected president of Ugandan North American Association (UNAA), becoming the youngest president in the association’s 25 year history.
The youthful electronic engineer from Kigezi region and working with Lockheed Martin is also chairman of the UNAA 2013 Dallas Organizing Committee (DOC) based here in Dallas, Texas.
He got 160 votes, beating the incumbent Francis Ssennoga who garnered 131. Joseph Musoke, a corporate and securities attorney based in San Francisco, California trailed with 31 votes.
Since 1997, there is no single UNAA president that has ever been re-elected.
He is said to be an NRM leaning candidate and party officials including Ofwono Opondo, the government spokesman, Moses Byaruhanga and Elijah Mushemeza have been involved in the behind the scenes schemes to ensure his victory.
Government contributes USD 20,000 to the annual UNAA convention and did not take chances in this year’s elective assembly where it was represented by ten ministers led by the Vice President Edward Ssekandi.
Others elected at the UNAA general assembly held here in Dallas are Monday Atigo the vice president, Aisha Musoke Ogwang the secretary, Jude Senkungu the treasurer and a governing council of 21 members.
The results were announced at a UNAA closing dinner attended by VP Ssekandi where OXFAM Executive Director General, Winnie Byanyima was the keynote speaker.
She said Ugandans in the diaspora remitted USD 800m to their country in addition to investing in buying land, tractors and houses and supporting education and health sectors among others.
Given their unequalled contribution, Byanyima called on government to motivate the diaspora by appointing a minister in charge of the diaspora, make it cheaper for what she called Nkubakyeyos to send money home and facilitate them to exercise their political rights through participation in elections back home.
“Fifteen countries have taken advantage of technology to allow out of country registration and voting in all major elections. Uganda should do the same. Don’t you think so Mr. Vice President,” she said in a speech punctuated with jokes and repeatedly referred to herself as a Nkubakyeyo.