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Nadduli bows out of elective politics

By Frederick Kiwanuka

Added 10th May 2016 09:24 AM

Nadduli,74, who has been Luwero Chairman for three terms, lost the seat to long term archrival Ronald Ndawula during last year’s NRM party primaries.

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Hajj Abdul Nadduli

Nadduli,74, who has been Luwero Chairman for three terms, lost the seat to long term archrival Ronald Ndawula during last year’s NRM party primaries.

LUWEERO District Chairman, Hajj Abdul Nadduli is quitting elective politics when he hands over office to his successor Ronald Ndawula in the next few days.

Nadduli, 74, who has been Luweero Chairman for three terms, lost the seat to long term political rival Ronald Ndawula during last year’s NRM party primaries.

Nadduli who is also the NRM’s national vice Chairman for Buganda, first occupied the LC5 seat in 1998, when he took the district politics by storm, trouncing three opponents who were more exposed and more educated than him.

The then little known Abdul Nadduli, among other things promised to dig man-made lakes throughout the district to enable residents get cheap fish.

Nadduli’s 1998 ridiculous manifesto promise of digging man-made lakes earned him criticism from his political opponents who accused him of being "utopian." Some thought he was a mere joker and not a serious contender .

But, despite the criticisms and his humble academic background, the then 56-year-old Abdul Nadduli stunned his detractors when he polled a staggering 24,030 votes, trouncing his three rivals who were all University graduates.

The three opponents whom Nadduli defeated that time included his closest challenger of the day, Ignatius Koomu, a secondary school headmaster, whom he beat by a big margin of over 2,000 votes. Other contestants were: Bwanika Bbaale and the then incumbent Deo Nsereko.

Nadduli’s first LC V victory in 1998 was a big surprise to his detractors. 

But to the triumphant Al Hajj Nadduli, hitherto an LC5 Councilor, the election achievement was not a surprise to him.

“I knew I would win. Not because 1 was rich or very educated, but because of my district wide reputation for discipline and honesty," the then little known Abdul Nadduli said while talking to this journalist immediately after assuming the district’s biggest office for the first time in 1998..

Nadduli, who since 1998, has served for three terms as Luwero LC5 chairman, boasts of having roots in all parts  of Luweero; an attribute which he says has contributed to his election victory in 1998 and re-election in 2002 and in 2011.

By then Luwero used to comprise the present: Luweero, Nakaseke and Nakasongola districts.

"I was born in Kapeeka (present day Nakaseke), worked in Makulubita, while my mother was born in Kalagala. And as a guerrilla fighter I spent most of the time in Kikyusa," he says.

Disarmed by the unexpected turn of events, Nadduli's opponents including some Luwero MPs of the day who were openly opposed to his candidature, unanimously accepted his 1998 landslide victory as 'the people's will."

"It is the destiny of the people. That is what the people decided. The rules of the game were followed," said the then Bamunanika MP and former Agriculture Minister, Dr.Kisamba Mugerwa who had supported the then incumbent Deo Nsereko.

Nadduli's rule
Of course Nadduli did not dig man-made lakes as he promised in his 1998 manifesto, but he nevertheless managed to bounce back in 2002, after defeating his arch-rival of the day, Ignatius Koomu for the second time.

He couldn’t make it in 2006 after the Electoral Commission disqualified him from the race for lack of the necessary academic papers, but later bounced back in 2011 after overcoming the academic handicap.

Give birth to more children

Perhaps, the now 74-year-old Nadduli, whose tenure of office is soon coming to an end, will mostly be remembered for his controversial call to the people to give birth to more children.

But, the former guerrilla fighter and veteran politician, has also been one of the most courageous, charismatic, an inspiring NRM advocate and an uncompromising Buganda traditionalist Uganda has had.

The desire to maintain his allegiance to the Mengo establishment and at the same time remain royal to the NRM, has not only caused suspicion, but has also created him as many enemies as friends in either camp.

Humble beginning

From a humble beginning, Nadduli gradually rose through ranks to attain the highest political office in Luweero district, a position he has used to make his mark as one of the most eloquent and influential politicians in Buganda and Uganda as a whole.

To his fans, both within and outside Luweero, the grey-haired politician has been a welcoming and inspiring leader, a reliable ally and a well-informed 'comedian,' whose rumbling speeches on air and at public gatherings have been causing endless laughters- the reason he is a household name..

But, to his political opponents, Nadduli has been a rigid, short tempered, controversial and an unreliable domestic tyrant who rarely fulfilled his promises and who spent more time talking than working -weakness which his political opponents in Luweero have been capitalizing on during campaign periods.

Informed mobiliser 

An eloquent and informed mobilizer, Nadduli seems to have the entire World historical facts at his fingertips, ably quotes both the quran and the bible although he is a Muslim, and applies famous sayings and Luganda proverbs with a lot of ease- the reason his admirers in Luweero nicknamed him 'moving encyclopedia.'

A reliable political ally he is, Nadduli, a former NRM liberation fighter, has remained loyal to the system, although he has sometimes gone out of his way and openly criticized some of its policies, to the dismay of some diehard party members.

No greed for money

Nadduli, who has no greed for material wealth, personally confesses that he has not accumulated any material wealth from the Movement Government, but supports it out of conviction. 

“Leading the people of Luweero is the biggest personal gain I have achieved under the NRM,” Nadduli confesses.

Unlike other long serving politicians, Nadduli neither has a posh car nor a thriving business while he sleeps in a simple house in Wobulenzi town.

Controversial politician

Nadduli has often been accused of being controversial over key issues, often stepping on other people's toes. For example, his reckless call to the people to produce many kids, did not augur well with promoters of family planning methods, while he often clashed with the clergy over his self-confessed belief in witchcraft.

Nadduli, who has led Luweero with an iron arm, has also been accused of being non-tolerant of his critics, especially those whom he suspected of undermining his leadership.

It is for this reason that he fell out with several politicians in Luweero, including former Katikamu North MP and currently Uganda’s ambassador to DRC Major James Kinobe whom he accused of using his MP position to manipulate his council.

Origins

Born on December 22, 1942 at Kaddunda in the present day Nakaseke District to late Ali Nadduli, Chairman Nadduli's educational background is as controversial as his life. He claims to have tried several courses, but each time dropped out for a political or financial reason.

He says he tried several coursers including journalism through correspondence with a South African institution which he does not name, but never completed any due to either political or financial reasons.

In 1973, he says he registered with Makerere Center for Continuing Education to study History and Government but again did not complete.

He later resorted to primary school teaching, starting at Kiribedda Primary School in the current Katikamu South Constituency (1969-73) and later Kalasa Boys' school (73-79) before returning to his old school of Kiribedda in 1980.Meanwhile; he says he taught history as a part time teacher at a private secondary school.

Nadduli says he first joined politics in 1979 with the advent of the UNLF when he served as his village Chairman in Makulubita.

He later joined the ranks of the then guerrilla NRA forces where he says he successively served as a: recruitment officer,’ herbal doctor', and political leader while in the Luweero bushes during the protracted war of the 1980s.

His controversial character however caused him problems towards the end of the war in 1985, when his fellow NRA fighters jailed him over a case of indiscipline. His contemporaries say that, Nadduli as a junior officer annoyed his bosses in the bush when he passed a written chit to Kabaka Ronald Mutebi when the latter went there to visit the guerrilla fighters.

In fact they say that he remained a prisoner of the then NRA up to the time of capturing Kampala in January 1986.

Nadduli says he came out at the rank of Lieutenant, but rarely referred to himself by that rank at least in public.

On the advent of the NRM Government in 1986, Nadduli says he briefly worked as a political commissar in the then NRA 14th battalion which had its base in Bombo. He later worked in the Mpigi RDC's office.

In 1989, he left office work to go and join Luweero District local politics, starting as an Lc1 Chairman and later LCv councilor and Secretary for Mobilization for Luweero District.

Nadduli’s stay on the District executive as secretary for mobilization was however short-lived because of his differences with the Luweero Chairman of the day, Deo Nsereko who sacked him.

After being relieved of his duties as District Secretary for mass mobilization, Nadduli contested for the Katikamu Constituent Assembly seat in 1994, but lost the race to Bwanika Bbaale.

He says he had also wanted to try the Katikamu North parliamentary seat in 1996, but opted to step down in favor of Major James Kinobe who was initially his ally.


Obviously, Nadduli who is handing over the LC5 chair in two week's time would have loved to stay. But he has been forced to leave following his defeat in last year’s NRM primaries.

As he bows out of elective politics, Nadduli's weaknesses notwithstanding, he has made more friends than enemies.

And when he finally bows out of elective politics as he announced last week, Nadduli who retains his NRM post as the party’s vice chairman for Buganda, will remain an indispensable mobiliser both to the Movement Government and the Buganda.

While bidding farewell to the District council last week, Nadduli said he will use his position as NRM Vice chairman for Buganda to mobilize support for the party and monitor government programs.

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