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The rise and fall of Sebaggala

By Vision Reporter

Added 1st January 2006 03:00 AM

IT is now almost official that when former Kampala mayor Nasser Sebaggala faces West, he thinks East. That is why his name can start with as many formers as possible. For example, former Kampala mayor, former city businessman, former prisoner, former Besigye campaigner and now he has added another t

IT is now almost official that when former Kampala mayor Nasser Sebaggala faces West, he thinks East. That is why his name can start with as many formers as possible. For example, former Kampala mayor, former city businessman, former prisoner, former Besigye campaigner and now he has added another t

By Joshua Kato

IT is now almost official that when former Kampala mayor Nasser Sebaggala faces West, he thinks East. That is why his name can start with as many formers as possible. For example, former Kampala mayor, former city businessman, former prisoner, former Besigye campaigner and now he has added another tag, — former presidential candidate!

Sebaggala has announced that he is quitting the presidential race in favour of official DP candidate John Ssebaana Kizito! Sometimes he appears so consistent and determined to achieve something, only to let it fly through the window at the last moment. He swings to and from like a poorly tied pendulum. If there was a presidential candidate who seemed to have looked at the campaigns with all the vigour he could master, then that is Hajji Nasser Ntege Sebaggala. He tried to stand for the top seat but failed in 2001.

He then jumped on Col. Kizza Besigye’s wagon and supported him. Having missed because of lack of academic requirements, he sacrificed all his time and went back for studies in the UK in a bid to acquire the necessary papers for the presidency. He was the first candidate to print his presidential bid cards and posters. He referred to himself as presidential candidate for 2006 as early as 2002. So, with such high level preparations, why has he jumped? He twice got a very huge welcome on return from studies. All this time, he referred to himself as President of Uganda, come 2006. This was long before other candidates made up their minds.

Ssebaggala’s problems started right from his opposition to the DP leadership of Dr. Paul Ssemogerere.

Having received such a huge welcome from “studies” Sebaggala over judged his support base. He perhaps thought that he was more popular than the party. He thought that if he decided to move away from the actions of Ssemogerere and his party, the supporters would move with him. This was a huge miscalculation. Because of this misrepresented support, he tried to influence the organising of a DP national conference in October last year but, again, he failed to defeat Ssemogerere.

As usual, Ssemogerere went to the courts of law and overturned whatever the Sebaggala group was claiming to have done. The Ssemogerere team even went on the offensive, claiming that Sebaggala was a Movement spy who had been planted in DP to divide and destroy it. Apparently, many of the DP supporters bought this.

All of a sudden, the seya who used to pull crowds along Kampala streets started attracting less and less attention. Bells should have rang in his ears that he was being deserted. Up until the delegates’ conference in November, Sebaggala thought that he was the better candidate for the DP presidency.

On the other hand, he underestimated the mobilisation abilities of John Ssebaana Kizito. Ssebaana went on a national tour of DP members while Sebaggala appeared here and there, bragging about his abilities. Finally, during the campaigning, he goofed when he pulled out a bundle of sh30m in crisp sh50,000 notes.

“If you vote wisely, you will be assured of transport back home,” he told the delegates. He lost miserably in the DP delegates conference because he was seen as incapable, a schemer and to an extent a spy, having claimed for years that he was a bull dozer whose only equal was perhaps President Museveni. He found himself bull dozed out of the DP leadership by people he thought were smaller.

When he lost the DP delegates conference, he decided to go it alone. He came out of the conference a much weaker person than he went there.

Mukasa Mbidde, Isa Kikungwe and Ssebuliba Mutumba who had sided with him through the previous battles all went back to the DP mainstream led by Ssebaana. Even his brother Latif Sebaggala, who had been by his side through out the struggle, was conspicuously missing in action. This is not to mention the likes of Zachary Olum and Marion Drametu who had been part of the Sebaggala team for months.

Nonetheless, he vowed to stand. He organised the signatures and got the funds for his campaign. Come nomination day, he was shocked again. His team did not have any recognisable personality. Even Michael Mabikke who had stayed on a little longer did not come for the nominations.
As a result, he has failed to put up any kind of campaign team to write home about. The campaign turf has become so hot that he has rightly decided to jump after realising the hopeless situation he was faced with.

By joining the Ssebaana/Ssemogerere side that he fought so much Sebaggala has inflicted a big loss on himself and has delivered victory to Ssemogerere. It makes the Ssebaana campaign trail more cohesive. It brings more unity in DP. Sebaggala might have lost a lot of his spark, but he still had some faithful supporters behind him. If they decide to jump with him, Ssebaana’s votes will increase.

Further, the withdrawal of Sebaggala makes the course for a coalition much more easier. The opposition now has to deal with only two other candidates in order to have one against President Museveni. For now, Sebaggala has his eyes on the mayorship of this city. However, he has to contend with acting mayor Dr. Hasib Kabuye Takuba who had already announced his candidature for the seat.

The rise and fall of Sebaggala

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