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Tough race for Kampala in 2011 polls

By Vision Reporter

Added 8th May 2010 03:00 AM

INCUMBENT Erias Lukwago and his predecessor, Capt. Francis Babu are still undecided on whether they should contest for the Kampala Central MP seat in 2011. Lukwago is contemplating contesting for the Kampala mayoral seat currently held by Hajji Nasser Sebaggala, whom he blames for messing up the cit

INCUMBENT Erias Lukwago and his predecessor, Capt. Francis Babu are still undecided on whether they should contest for the Kampala Central MP seat in 2011. Lukwago is contemplating contesting for the Kampala mayoral seat currently held by Hajji Nasser Sebaggala, whom he blames for messing up the city.

Lukwago has consistently blamed Sebaggala for the problems in Kampala, which include conflicts over the sale of markets and corruption at City hall. He believes that going back to Kampala Central to contest for the area MP seat would leave the city hall in the hands of Sebagala.

Lukwago says he has received calls from all over the city from people asking him to run for mayor.

On the other hand, Babu who contested against Lukwago in 2006 and lost, says it is too early for him to declare his interest, before the Electoral Commission (EC) states whether Kampala Central is still a constituency. There is a possibility that the administrative structures of Kampala district will change before the 2011 general elections.

A supporter of the National Resistance Movement (NRM) party, Babu also wishes to first go through his party’s primaries before he can state his position. He had occupied the seat for two terms before Lukwago took over.

Babu, who had served as minister the repvious term, returned to private business and today he owns an FM radio station in the city. Lukwago attributes his victory against Babu to a law background and he argues that the constituency still needs a lawyer.

Before he contested for the MP seat, Lukwago had won several constitutional Court cases against the government which had made him popular.

Many voters thought he could use the experience he had in law to push for their interests in Parliament which included drafting favourable laws. One of the biggest challenges which the people of Kampala Central face, is the rampant illegal evictions which leave them homeless. Lukwago believes having a lawyer in Parliament can help in address such challenges.

 Another aspirant is Arvind Patel, 58, a retired businessman. He believes Kampala Central is a business hub with both local and international businesses and that for better representation in Parliament it needs a person with wide knowledge in business in both arena.

The NRM party national treasurer on the entrepreneurship league says politicians who do not understand business have fueled demonstrations in the city, which have disrupted businesses.

Patel has lived in Uganda since 1981 and speaks Luganda. He says he has the necessary requirements to take the seat from Lukwago.

Patel has worked before with the Katikiro of Buganda, Eng. J.B. Walusimbi and other cultural leaders in the country and therefore has no fear of rejection by the voters.

While his colleagues are undecided on whether they would contest in Kampala Central, Patel has already made his decision and is currently doing underground work. So far, he has 60 agents, the majority of whom are local leaders at village and parish levels, campaigning for him. He meets them regularly.

Patel reminds his colleagues who are still undecided, especially in the NRM party, of the old adage: ‘the early bird catches the worm’.

There were also rumours in the corridors of power that Godfrey Nyakana, the Kampala Central chairman and Bobi Wine, a popular musician, are interested in the seat, although the two deny the reports.

Nyakana says he will contest again for his present seat.

Bobie Wine, on the other hand, says he is not a politician and would never be dragged into politics.

Kampala Central Constituency is the business heart of the country. In 2006 the Constituency had about 78,000 voters although the number may slightly increase. It is a huge task for any candidate to campaign in it beacuse it has mixed popuplations, making it hard for a candidate to convince and win over people of different cultures.
It also has the richest and poorest classes of people and because of that, a candidate must be sensitive to the sentiments of the two classes.

Fred Bamwine, the assistant Resident District Commissioner for Nakawa Division, is another contender for the seat. Early this year Bamwine made flyers carrying new year greetings to the people of Kampala in Luganda and English. The pocket-size flyers carry the NRM logo and colours.

Bamwine rose to prominence around 2001 by regularly phoning into popular talkshows such as Spectrum on Radio One. He has since become a regular talkshow guest on various radio and television stations.

A few years later his visibility was rewarded when he was appointed assistant RDC in charge of Rubaga Division. He was later transferred to Nakawa Division. This could give him some advantage and has support from the lower classes of people in Kampala.

Last year he made news when he stopped the Police and the National Environment Management Authority officials from evicting encroaches from Kinawataka wetland.

Tough race for Kampala in 2011 polls

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