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Big shots fight to retain Parliament seats

By Vision Reporter

Added 17th February 2011 03:00 AM

AS the country goes to polls today, 1,683 aspirants tussle in various parts of the country to grab one of the estimated 378 seats that will constitute the ninth Parliament.

AS the country goes to polls today, 1,683 aspirants tussle in various parts of the country to grab one of the estimated 378 seats that will constitute the ninth Parliament.

By HENRY MUKASA

AS the country goes to polls today, 1,683 aspirants tussle in various parts of the country to grab one of the estimated 378 seats that will constitute the ninth Parliament.

The next August House will have over 50 more MPs than the expiring eighth Parliament whose members stood at 327 MPs.

While contestants will bate their breath in anticipation of victory, NRM’s Joy Kariisa Arinaitwe (Buhweju), Aleper Margaret Achilla (Kotido) and Flavia Rwabuhoro Kabahenda (Kyegegwa) would be waiting for swearing in as they are unopposed.

They were joined on Tuesday by five workers’ and five (People PWDs MPs who were successfully elected. Other aspirants await Ugandans to decide their fate in the elections today.

Hot spots

No election is devoid of flash points. This, of course is brewed up by; how much is at stake in a given constituency, the powers at play, the involvement of king makers and the personalities.

Sembabule

They might not be standing against each other but the cold war between Mawogola MP, Sam Kahamba Kutesa and Lwemiyaga MP, Theodore Ssekikubo elevates the two constituencies in Ssembabule district to a hot spot.

The camps of both NRM politicians have clashed since the party primaries and the Police has deployed heavily to avert any repeat of bloodshed.

Ssekikubo accuses Kutesa of funding his lone opponent, Patrick Nkalubo, while the Ssekikubo camp is believed to be solidly behind David Mushabe’s push to dislodge Kutesa. The situation remains tense until the victors have been declared and sworn in.

Budadiri West

It might appear that the minister for the Presidency, Beatrice Wabudeya, risked her political career to stand against FDC strongman, Nathan Nandala Mafabi. The minister who has been in Parliament on affirmative action platform as the Sironko Woman MP, decided to take on her political foe, Mafabi, in Budadiri West constituency.

When the results are declared, the nation will understand whether she made her political calculations well. Mafabi is an astute legislator, popular in the Bugisu region, respected in diplomatic circles and a fierce anti-corruption crusader.

Bugweri County

The victor in Bugweri county in the last election was decided by the Supreme Court after it ruled that NRM’s Alhaji Kirunda Kivejinja had rigged FDC’s Abdu Katuntu out of victory.

In this round, each camp is pointing an accusing finger at the other. Katuntu’s camp accuses that of internal affairs minister of arresting their supporters on tramped up charges. In defence, Kivejinja’s camp claims the opponents are staring at defeat and resorted to malicious propaganda.

Mawokota North

The politics of Mawokota North has never remained the same since the former principal private secretary of President Yoweri Museveni, Amelia Kyambadde, plunged into the fray. However, she found a buttressed incumbent, Peter Mutuluza.

Although he looks to have fallen out of favour with his party, NRM, Mutuluza seems to enjoy a sizeable support in the area. He chose to stand firmly behind Buganda and profess support for federalism while Kyambadde hopes the many projects she has started since her campaign commenced would win her votes.

Kibuku County

In Kibuku County, state minister for water, Jennifer Namuyangu, is facing off with incumbent MP Saleh Kamba. It is not clear why Namuyangu abandoned her woman MP seat to dethrone Kamba in the directly elected constituency. For whatever reason, the voters will have their last say and that voice will be loud after votes are counted tomorrow.

Soroti Municipality

The electrifying effect that surrounds former Health state minister, Capt. Mike Mukula makes him adorable. But four men are not interested in his flamboyancy and are taking him on for the Soroti Municipality seat. And Mukula will not bet for FDC’s Attan Okia Moses, Godfrey Egwau, Charles Ekemu and Peter Ojur, because when he did so in 2006, Ekemu defeated him minus moving Opiyai rock as he had told him off.

Bukoto Central

Speaker Edward Ssekandi faces an old foe, youthful Jude Mbabali of DP. Ssekandi won the last contest with a small margin and he did not sit comfortably in Parliament until a court case against him was disposed of. He represents Bukoto Central.

Isingiro North

In Isingiro North, the incumbent Bright Rwamirama is facing off with Dr. Posiano Mugyenyi, who lost the primaries in an acrimonious way. Rwamirama and Mugyenyi are already treading attacks.

Rwamirama for example accuses his opponent of being a liar and traitor. Rwamirama defeated Mugyenyi in NRM primaries but Posiano stood as an independent candidate claming the votes were rigged.

Kamuli

Kamuli has always been a battle ground. Big shot, Rebecca Alitwala Kadaga knows she needs to beat four other candidates if she is to either maintain her post of deputy Speaker or climb higher in the political horizons of the country.

Her task includes beating FDC’s Naikoba Prossy and Rehema Watongola (independent) who the deputy Speaker had dragged to court doubting her papers but she prevailed. Others are Mary Mutesi (independent) and Mariam Namwase (PDP).

Kabale

Agriculture minister, Hope Mwesigye, won the primaries to become the NRM flagbearer by the thread. She hence began her campaign for re-election as Kabale Woman MP when voters in the NRM-leaning district had shown their feelings about her.

Having antagonised the Catholic Church by reportedly urging a celibate priest to marry “so that he becomes occupied”, she touched a red button. Her opponents Maclean Kamusiime, Rohan Nimusiima and Mariam Kiconco will hope to capitalise on that goof.

Chua County

International relations minister, Henry Okello Oryem, knows that his return to Parliament lies in victory in Chua County. While there are nine other contestants, Oryem’s heart will throb with the understanding that his challenge lies in uprooting the incumbent, Livingstone Okello Okello, the UPC strongman.
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Masaka Municipality
John Kawanga’s several years of shrewd legislation face a near end should he fail to overcome the charging, Mathias Mpuuga and NRM’s Francis Mujoobe. While Mpuuga failed to win the DP ticket and is standing as an independent, he is a former Mengo minister and among the founders of Suubi — a Buganda pressure group.

In conservative Masaka, Mpuuga has an edge. The gun shots he suffered during the campaigns could add a consolation vote. And despite being an MP of good judgement, many voters in Masaka Municipality believe Kawanga has been an absent MP.

Jinja Municipality

Harry Kasigwa’s grip on Jinja Municipality West faces a fierce contender in NRM’s Moses Balyeku. The two have had an acrimonious campaign with supporters of each camp clashing more often than not.

Bujenje

In Masindi, information and national guidance minister, Kabakumba Masiko Lwaboni, is facing it tough in a bid to retain her Bujenje seat. The cause of headache is Phinehas Kyotasoboro (independent) whose drive to stand is on the feeling that the minister influenced the blocking of his favoured candidate, Lt. Patrick Kasumba from retiring from the army to vie for the seat. Close in the wings is FDC’s Daniel Kiiza and three others.

Serere

The pilgrimage NRM big shots have made to Serere just shows how much interest they have in having FDC secretary general, Alice Alaso, defeated. Many ministers and NRM ideologues have descended on Serere to campaign for new political entrant Hellen Adoa, the NRM flagbearer.

However, it will be an uphill task for her to defeat eloquent and outspoken Alaso in a region which has consistently voted for the opposition.

Big shots fight to retain Parliament seats

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