Kamuli district lies between the banks of River Nile and the shores of Lake Kyoga.
While there, especially in the evening; you cannot miss the aerating breeze.
But, will this breeze cool the
While there, especially in the evening; you cannot miss the aerating breeze.
But, will this breeze cool the politics of the district.
In the past, every time there was an election, candidates and votersâ€™ support was split along the lines of two top politicians from the region; the deputy Speaker Rebecca Kadaga and the minister for the presidency, Alhaji Ali Kirunda Kivejinja (KK).
Although the two are Movementists, they are at parallels when it comes to local politics. This was evident in the local government polls in 2001.
Kadaga threw her weight behind Baligeya Kaloori while KK was behind Ahmed Kawugu. Kawugu won but later lost the seat when Baligeya petitioned court over his academic qualifications. Kawugu is now Mpigi RDC.
Kawugu served between 2001 - 2002 and Baligeya took over the seat.
Baligeyaâ€™s died in a motor accident on March 30.
And when the Electoral Commission blows the whistle for a bye-election, will the battle again be drawn along those lines?
Before the EC interprets the laws, gazettes dates and calls for nominations, 11 aspirants are already eyeing the seat.
Baligeya was a young man who drummed support so fast and tamed the district politics of rivalry by appointing an executive of unity. He is particularly commended for appointing Rehema Watongole (secretary for gender and community development) who was in Kawuguâ€™s camp and former district chairman, Samwiri Mutono (secretary for security, information and marketing) to his executive. This indeed is a credit and an advantage for the candidate his camp is fronting.
The camp seeks to ride on a sympathy vote but is also out to strengthen its grip on the districtâ€™s politics. Using the common catch phrase, â€œthe people have askedâ€, the camp hopes to attract support for the deceasedâ€™s executive to complete its term of office.
The emissaries and kakuyege agents add that the district council has no objection to that arrangement, and actually passed a resolution approving it.
Consequently, this camp is marketing the acting district chairman, Eng. Aggrey Bangu as Baligeyaâ€™s replacement. Banguâ€™s candidature has the blessing of most district executives and civil servants perhaps for strategic reasons.
â€œIf he won, the status quo would hold but a new man might decide to stage a reshuffle,â€ a top district said.
Pande Patrick, the district secretary for works confirmed that the executive and council are solidly behind Bangu.
â€œThe people are still asking that if possible the vice chairman should continue. He (Bangu) is willing and capable. He has been working on many projects with the deceased,â€ Pande said.
Bangu said in an interview that although councilâ€™s recommendation is not binding, a new person would not have hindsight of what has transpired in the last 2Â½ years.
He said with the budget process on, referendum due in January and thereafter presidential, parliamentary and local elections, itâ€™s befitting he completes the kisanja of the man he deputised.
He, however, said heâ€™s an independent candidate and had no faction.
But the LC III chairmen in the 24 sub-counties want Balawoli sub-county chairman, John Peter Batala, to be their flag. bearer Batala has declared his intentions in numerous fora.
He said in an interview that he wants to end the Kadaga/Kivejinja factions
Rebecca Kadaga is the woman MP Kamuli district while Kirunda Kivejinja, has a home in in Iganga district where he stood as MP and lost, and another one in Kamuli where he wants his sphere of influence extended and felt.
Kadaga and Kivejinja could not be got for comment.
Batala said he does not see why supporters of KK would block a project brought by Kadaga or her camp and vice-versa.
â€œThose divisions denied us development. I will ensure that both camps mend fences.â€
â€œIâ€™m after development and I know when people are united they can move forward. Kadaga and Kivejinja are in high positions in the government and when we work with them as a team, there will be no roadblock to development,â€ Batala said.
Kawugu lost the chairmanship after Baligeya petitioned court against his academic qualifications.
He left a legacy of a network of marrum roads knitting the district.
He was popular because he was an achiever, who made friends for the district and attracted a number of projects. ACDI VOCA, which funded the road network is one such project, which residents reminisce about.
Kawugu is said to be beefing up his papers but standing again seems not to be his immediate target. Talk in the district is that he is happy as an RDC, a post his critics say he got, courtesy of KK.
Apparently the camp is not yet decided on a candidate but it seemss they have a long list of aspirants:
Chuka Muzahamu, former LC V general secretary is already soliciting support.
On May 14th he was seen driving slowly in his Indigo Subaru through Kamuli town greeting the people. He is said to be a confidant of Kawugu, having been his secretary for finance and planning..
Balwa Isabirye Dan, 56, is back. The elderly Bugulumbya sub-county councillor has been a regular in the Kamuli politics at various levels. He represented Buzaaya county in the National Resistance Council.
He was the secretery for works in the Kawugu executive and boasts of having presided over gigantic projects such as the construction of roads, district headquarters and the hospital.
He also speaks of how, as NRC member, he built health centres and presided over other projects in Buzaaya. That, however, did not bring him victory in the 1996 and 2001 parliamentary election, where he lost to finance state minister, Isaac Musumba.
â€œThe district has gone down.the drain Kamuli is not what it used to be. I want to bring it back to its past glory.â€
Although he admits having worked with Kawugu, he says he is coming on his own ticket, as an independent candidate, an achiever..
Elijah Kagoda, Namwiwa sub-county councillor is also warming up for the seat. Kagoda says he cannot ignore the peopleâ€™s call to lead them. Like Isabirye, he believes he is a suitable candidate basing on his experience as councillor and the district vice chairman.
â€œI think the people saw how I served and have asked me to stand. and indeed I am willing.. I will restore confidence in the masses. There were no elections and the people felt they are not democratically governed. They say the law (under which Kawugu was disqualified) is unfair,â€ Kagoda who was vice chairman in the short-lived government said.
He pledges to work on the roads, revive youth programmes, attract micro- finance schemes, interest peasants in the vice presidentâ€™s rice scheme, empower women, make tender awards transparent and improve the relationship between civil servants and politicians.
Karooli Dhizala says he is the only one capable of giving qualitaty and responsible leadership He accuses the current leaders improper utilisation of resources.
Former Bugabula North MP, Sebastian Magimbi and prominent Jinja lawyer, George Mutyabule are also in the race. Sources say Bugabula South MP, Salaamu Musumba will throw her weight behind Mutyabule.
Kamuli Town Council councillor, Difaasi Katongole, Michael Amukunyu and John Kadowe are also said to be doing serious ground work enlisting support.
Issues at hand:
Analysts say that the ordinary Kamuli peasant will vote the candidate who either has a background of being practical or packages best what he or she has to offer. The district information officer, Joseph Ngobi agrees:
â€œThe people of Kamuli will vote someone who will deliver services and improve their welfare or someone who has in the past shown practicability,â€ Ngobi said.
May the best candidate sail through!
All eyes on Kamuli:Whoâ€™ll take the seat?