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Mukono North by-election hots up

By Vision Reporter

Added 21st May 2010 03:00 AM

THIS is the last weekend of campaigns for the Mukono North by-elections. The polls will be held on Tuesday. Eight candidates are standing but it is clear that the race is between NRM’s Rev. Peter Bakaluba Mukasa and DP’s Betty Nambooze Bakireke.

THIS is the last weekend of campaigns for the Mukono North by-elections. The polls will be held on Tuesday. Eight candidates are standing but it is clear that the race is between NRM’s Rev. Peter Bakaluba Mukasa and DP’s Betty Nambooze Bakireke.

By John Semakula

THIS is the last weekend of campaigns for the Mukono North by-elections. The polls will be held on Tuesday. Eight candidates are standing but it is clear that the race is between NRM’s Rev. Peter Bakaluba Mukasa and DP’s Betty Nambooze Bakireke.

A win for either party will make an important statement about its popularity ahead of the 2011 elections. If DP loses, it will be a blow to the party because it has traditionally enjoyed support in Buganda, and Nambooze is considered to be one of the party’s sharpest politicians. A loss for DP would also demoralise supporters of a party that has been torn apart by leadership wrangles.

However, confidence in DP has been boosted by the fact that it has won lower-level elections in the constituency. In Goma sub-county for instance, DP’s Elisa Mukasa Nkoyoyo beat NRM’s Godfrey Nsubuga to become the LC3 chairman.

The NRM, on the other hand, is fighting to retain the seat after losing it through a Supreme Court ruling. The NRM cannot afford to lose Mukono North because that could imply that it is losing its grip on Buganda. A loss for the NRM could also discourage party members from standing in the district during the 2011 elections.

To show how serious the by-election is, the race has forced top party leaders to campaign for their candidates. Former DP president and veteran politician Paul Kawanga Ssemwogerere, who has been out of active politics for a long time, returned to the podium to campaign for Nambooze.

NRM’s top brass, like the secretary general, Amama Mbabazi, have campaigned for Bakaluba, while, President Yoweri Museveni is expected hold a rally this weekend.

The Mukono North MP seat fell vacant recently after the Supreme Court convicted Bakaluba over election malpractices.

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.

THE CANDIDATES

Rev. Peter Bakaluba Mukasa, NRM

Rev. Peter Bakaluba Mukasa is the NRM flag bearer. Bakaluba, 40, has a degree in divinity and theology from Makerere University. He was first elected MP for Mukono North in 2001 and bounced back in 2006. During his second term, Bakaluba, lost the seat after the Supreme Court ruled that he was involved in election malpractices.

Bakaluba is a good mobiliser and in 2001, he won with a landslide victory. He is a man of great determination and can take risks if he is interested in something. He gained fame as a political tslk show host on Radio Simba.

Betty Nambooze Bakireke, DP
Betty Nambooze Bakireke is the former DP spokesperson and holds a diploma in law from the Law Development Centre. She is pursuing a degree in democracy and development at Nkozi University.

She and is a good orator who can easily sway an audience. Nambooze contested for the Mukono North MP seat in 2006 and lost to Bakaluba, but challenged the results in court and won.

She is a popular figure in Buganda and is likely to win the hearts of Mengo diehards. Her only challenge is that she has differences with some DP supporters and this may cost her votes.

Zimula Mukwaya, Independent

The 28-year-old is a graduate of urban planning from Makerere University.
Not much is known about Mukwaya, but he enjoys politics and usually attends political rallies in the district. He is the director of Tree Uganda, an NGO that promotes environmental conservation.
Mukwaya’s chances of wining the race may be limited, but at least he has marketed himself, which is a boost to his political career.

Zirimala Kiggundu, Independent
Zirimala Kiggundu, 40, is contesting as an independent candidate although he is a staunch supporter of the Democratic Party. Zirimala decided to contest as an independent because DP declined to hold primaries for the race.

He is renowned for taking any opportunity where people have gathered, to campaign.

He was the Goma sub-county councillor before becoming a district councillor, during which time he was vocal and never left a meeting unnoticed.
He is a man of determination and sticks to his word.

John Ssebunnya, Independent

John Ssebunya is the publicity secretary of the NRM in Mukono. He accused the NRM of violating democratic procedures by allowing Bakaluba Mukasa to be its flag bearer, and decided to stand as an Independent.

Ssebunya was born in 1976 at Kawuga, Mukono and has a degree in business administration. He says if elected, he will ensure that the Government reopens CBS radio.

He also promises to promote vocational education for disadvantaged children.
Ssebunya is not a stranger to politics. He has contested before for lower local government posts in Mukono town council, although he has not been successful.

Pastor Mathew Talemwa Mutyaba, Independent

Pastor Matthew Talemwa Mutyaba is an Independent candidate who claims to have been sent by God.

Mutyaba was born in 1975 at Kisogo village, Nakisunga sub-county. He claims that he was born blind and miraculously gained sight at the age of 12 when renowned evangelist, Osborn, prayed for him during a crusade at Lugogo Indoor Stadium, Kampala.
He dropped out of LDC where he was pursuing a diploma in law to serve the Lord.

Mutyaba claims he built his Living Apostles Ministry Church at Seeta following a vision from God. He says God chose him to join parliament, to fight for the under-privileged.

Charles Jjingo, Independent

The 31-year-old is the spokesperson of the Conservative Party (CP) in Mukono but is standing as an Independent because CP refused to endorse him.
He is a reporter with a local radio station, a farmer and businessman. Jingo says he wants to advocate for federalism.

Michael Mubiru, SDP

The 30-year-old is the flag bearer of the Social Democratic Party (SDP).
Mubiru is a resident of Nantabulirwa in Goma sub-county, holds an A level certificate and another in counseling. Before his nomination, little was known about him.

He is a teacher at Makula Primary School and says he wants to represent the common man effectively.
SDP is not so popular in Mukono district, although recently the party won the seat of the LC3 chairperson of Lugazi town council.

Compiled by John Semakula and Paddy Nsibya

Mukono North by-election hots up

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