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Battle lines drawn in Mukono by-elections

By Vision Reporter

Added 24th May 2010 03:00 AM

THE battle lines have been drawn in the Mukono North parliamentary race. The battle is mainly between the Democratic Party’s Betty Nambooze and the ruling National Resistance Movement’s (NRM) Rev. Peter Bakaluba Mukasa.

THE battle lines have been drawn in the Mukono North parliamentary race. The battle is mainly between the Democratic Party’s Betty Nambooze and the ruling National Resistance Movement’s (NRM) Rev. Peter Bakaluba Mukasa.

By Moses Mulondo

THE battle lines have been drawn in the Mukono North parliamentary race. The battle is mainly between the Democratic Party’s Betty Nambooze and the ruling National Resistance Movement’s (NRM) Rev. Peter Bakaluba Mukasa.

It is not easy to tell who will win today’s by-election. Bakaluba was first elected as MP for Mukono North in 2001. He was re-elected in 2006 but the Supreme Court recently nullified his election over malpractices including bribing of voters.

Bakaluba and Nambooze had competed for the seat in 2006. Bakaluba won by a margin of about 300 votes and Nambooze took the matter to court to challenge his victory. By 2006 when Bakaluba defeated her narrowly, Nambooze’s popularity had not soared to the current magnitude.

There are four sub-counties which make up Mukono North constituency; Kyampisi, Nama, Goma, and Mukono. In the 2006 elections, Bakaluba won the remote constituencies of Kyampisi and Nama while Nambooze won Mukono town council. In Goma which is semi-urban, the two candidates almost had equal support.

Between 2006 and now, many things have happened to Nambooze which have made her a household name, especially in the Buganda region.

In 2007, Nambooze was appointed by the Kabaka of Buganda Ronald Mutebi, to serve as the chairperson of the kingdom’s civic education committee. Her task was to move around Buganda educating people about the dangers of the Land Amendment Bill which the central Government had introduced to protect bibanja plot owners against unlawful evictions.

In 2008, Nambooze was arrested together with Mengo ministers Medard Lubega Ssegona and Charles Peter Mayiga over accusations of promoting sectarianism and inciting violence in their utterances on CBS radio. The incident made the three Mengo officials to be seen as Buganda heroes.

Unlike in 2006, all opposition parties have this time thrown their political weight behind Nambooze. With all the above factors, many are convinced that Nambooze has the potential to overstep the margin of 300 votes by which Bakaluba defeated her in 2006.

Her rival, Bakaluba has been riding on his development initiatives in the area to garner for support. Bakaluba and the NRM top leaders who have been campaigning for him have urged voters to elect a development oriented person.

“Don’t be deceived. There is no development Nambooze will bring. It is the NRM that is in charge of the country’s treasury. At the district, it is me who is in charge of the NRM district resources. If you vote Nambooze I will not work with her,” said Mukono district boss Lukooya.

He said this to the residents of Kyampisi on Friday shortly before President Museveni addressed them. Speaker after speaker, including the President, assured the Kyampisi residents and those of other sub-counties that roads, electricity, prosperity funds, and many other services from the Government would easily reach them if they vote the NRM candidate.

“If people surely want someone who will bring development, they have no option, but to vote Bakaluba Mukasa. He has initiated many development activities which have transformed the lives of people. He has improved health services, built schools and improved the feeder roads. It will be unfair to deny him a chance to develop our constituency,” said Steven Musoke, one of the NRM key mobilisers in Mukono.

But it is not only Nambooze and Bakaluba who are in the race. Other candidates are Zirimala Kiggundu, Zimula Mukwaya, Charles Jjingo, Micheal Mubiru (SDP), and Pastor Mathew Talemwa.

Though it is hard to predict the winner, the Mukono by-election results will have a bearing on the 2011 elections in the area. If Nambooze wins, the Inter-Party Cooperation, a loose grouping of four opposition parties, may use the results to prove their point that a joint candidate against the NRM works.

Similarly, Bakaluba’s fate will be a litmus test for the ruling party’s popularity in the area.
The writer is a journalist but this is entirely his opinion

Battle lines drawn in Mukono by-elections

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