INDEPENDENT Presidential Candidate Nasser Ntege Sebaggala has withdrawn from the 2006 presidential race,
â€œFollowing deliberations between the Democratic Party National Executive Committee (NEC) and my campaign team, I take this opportunity to announce I have taken the sacrifice to withdrawal (sic) my candidature as presidential candidate. I now urge my supporters to rally behind the candidature of Mr. Ssebaana Kizito,â€ Sebaggala said in a statement issued yesterday.
DP boss Ssebaana Kizito is on a campaign trail in the north.
Addressing the press at Speke Hotel in Kampala, Sebaggala said, â€œThe NEC has held several meetings with me to express concern that my candidature had caused a deep rift among the party rank and the need to unite in a common party platform to achieve the objects and aspirations of the entire party membership.â€
Sebaggala announced this amid applause from DP top leadership, including vice-president Rainer Kafire, secretary general Prof Richard Ebil Ottoo, chairman Prof Joseph Mukiibi and vice-president (central) Joseph Balikudembe.
Sebaggala, flanked by his campaign members, Latif Ssebaggala, Michael Mabikke and Abdul Lukoda, also declared his intention to contest for Kampala mayorship.
Ottoo said, â€œWe welcome with the utmost gratitude the decision taken by our brother Sebaggala. We all know that Ntege sebaggala brings with him many years of experience in the party politics and we are ready to deploy him.â€
â€œWe endorse him for the Kampala mayoral race because we know that Kampala voters will join us to vote for him so that we move as a united party. We also call upon other opposition parties to join us,â€ he added.
Ottoo said Sebaggalaâ€™s decision was a step toward dislodging the National Resistance Movement government (NRM) from power.
He said the negotiations to woo Sebaggala back in the main stream had been going on since the delegatesâ€™ conference.
Ottoo said Sebaggalaâ€™s campaign programme would be integrated into Ssebaanaâ€™s manifesto.
Sebaggala said he had tendered in his withdrawal letter to the Electoral Commission (EC) and had been accepted.
Sebaggala was nominated on December 15 as an independent presidential candidate. He was given sh20m, a vehicle and escorts for security.
According to the presidential act 2005, Sebaggala now has 48 hours to return the vehicle, escorts and account for the sh20m.
Sebaggala quits for Ssebaana