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NRM battles for Mbale municipality

By Vision Reporter

Added 14th February 2010 03:00 AM

The Mbale municipality byelections will be held tomorrow.

The seat fell vacant following the resignation of Wilfred Kajeke, citing Parliament’s failure to fight corruption among other issues.

By Daniel Edyegu

The Mbale municipality byelections will be held tomorrow.

The seat fell vacant following the resignation of Wilfred Kajeke, citing Parliament’s failure to fight corruption among other issues.

With just a day to the polls, the contest has narrowed to a two-man race between NRM’s John Wekesa Wambogo and the Forum for Democratic Change’s (FDC) Jack Wamai Wamanga.

Wambogo, an eloquent speaker and former part-time lecturer at Makerere University, has earned the nickname of ‘Obama’ among his supporters.

He is a nephew to the former foreign affairs minister, James Wapakhabulo, who died in 2004 while serving as the area MP.

Wambogo, 41, holds a diploma in computer networking and a degree in computer science from Makerere University.

Throughout his campaign, Wambogo has emphasised the need to construct information technology institutions to curtail unemployment among the youth and to tackle corruption in the municipality.

However, Wambogo is grappling with an internal conflict within the party originating from the disputed January 16 primaries.

Three disgruntled aspirants in the NRM primaries, Waswa Masokoyi (Mbale NRM vice-chairman), Patrick Makweta and Emmanuel Matsyetsye have backed Dr. James Shinyabulo Mutende who is contesting for the seat on an independent ticket.

Mutende is a former senior investment manager with the Uganda Investment Authority.

His camp had demanded that President Yoweri Museveni intervenes in the matter in vain.

On February 12, the President was expected to officially handover the party flag to Wambogo, but he delegated the party secretary general, Amama Mbabazi.

In a similar incident, during the 2004 byelections to replace Wapakhabulo, Museveni held a meeting with two rival party candidates Wanzusi Wasieba and Hassan Galliwango that turned fruitless. Wasieba beat Galliwango in the polls.

Wamanga’s cutting edge is that at 64 years, he is considered wiser and more exposed to manage the affairs of the municipality.

He has served as the country’s envoy to Copenhagen, Sweden and Beijing from 1978 to 2003.

Wamanga is a force to reckon with in tomorrow’s polls, said Alex Nabudo of Nabiso cell in Wanale division.

“Being an FDC member does not mean that the Government will sideline this town if I am elected MP. The finance ministry has budgetary allocations for all districts. They do not only budget for NRM districts,” he said.

Other candidates are David Amos Walyemira (UPC), Sam Wambuya (Independent), Musa Magomu (CP), Wilson Kasole Woniala of the Forum for Integrity in Leadership, and Geoffrey Siranda of the Democratic Party. Connie Nakayenze, the only female candidate in the race, pulled out early this month.

NRM battles for Mbale municipality

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