By Ahmed Kateregga and Eddie Sejjoba
With Butambala county byelections a month away, President Yoweri Museveni has moved fast to reconcile Butambala Woman MP Mariam Nalubega and former Butambala County MP Faisal Kikulukunyu.
The meeting took place at State House, Entebbe on Friday.
It was also attended by NRM vice-chairperson Moses Kigongo, Buganda NRM chairman, Abdu Naduuli and leader of the NRM women’s league in Buganda Aisha Kabanda.
According to sources, Kikulukunyu and Nalubega developed differences during the 2011 parliamentary elections.
Nalubega stood as an independent against former minister Namirembe Bitamazire, who was the NRM flag-bearer and an ally of Kikulukunyu.
Nalubega belonged to the camp of former MP Lubega Kaddunabi, who lost to Kikulukunyu during the NRM primaries.
Kikulukunyu had accused Nalubega of undermining his bid to recapture the seat he lost last month.
Kikulukunyu lost his seat following a court petition by his archrival, Muwanga Kivumbi, of the Democratic Party.
The Court of Appeal upheld an earlier decision by the High Court to nullify his victory over voter bribery.
According to sources, the President intervened after efforts by head of the NRM electoral commission, Dorothy Hyuha, to reconcile Kikulukunyu and local leaders hit a snag. The President is the NRM party chairman.
Following the reconciliation meeting, the warring politicians shook hands and accepted to work together.
“They agreed to bury their grudges and front the party’s interests. We hope they were genuine and will put into action what we concluded with,” said a source privy to the meeting.
Museveni instructed Naduuli to meet the NRM supporters in the constituency at parish levels to communicate the outcome of their meeting.
Kikulukunyu said he apologised to members after he learnt that as the district Movement chairman, he had angered Nalubega’s camp during the 2011 elections.
“I learnt that there were some issues during the NRM party primaries and during the constituency election for which I played a role, so, I apologise,” he said.
He added: “I made a humble appeal that those I wronged should forgive me and come to my side during this crucial election.”
Museveni was also asked to clarify on the issue of Graduated Tax, which according to Kikulukunyu, had become an issue, with DP using it against him.
“The President assured us that the Government cannot reinstate Graduated Tax because it was abolished after realising that the poor could not manage to pay it,” Kikulukunyu said.
Butambala leaders reconcile,endorse Kikulukunyu for MP