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Newcomers threaten Nambooze, Bakaluba in Mukono North

By Vision Reporter

Added 16th April 2010 03:00 AM

The Electoral Commission has not yet flagged off the campaigns for the Mukono North by-elections, but the constituency is gearing up for the race.

The Electoral Commission has not yet flagged off the campaigns for the Mukono North by-elections, but the constituency is gearing up for the race.

By John Semakula
The Electoral Commission has not yet flagged off the campaigns for the Mukono North by-elections, but the constituency is gearing up for the race.

Six people have so far expressed interest in the constituency that was formerly represented by the Rev. Peter Bakaluba Mukasa before the Supreme Court threw him out of Parliament recently.

The six include Bakaluba 40, of the National Resistance Movement (NRM) party and Betty Nambooze 40, of the Democratic Party (DP), who claim to be their parties’ flag-bearers.

While people outside the constituency are watching only these two, residents of Mukono know it will not be a big surprise if neither Bakaluba nor Nambooze win.

A number of potentially more popular aspirants have emerged and both Bakaluba and Nambooze are going to face stiff competition from their party members who plan to stand as independents.

They are Moses Kasujja Kagodo, 38, the Mukono NRM publicity secretary, retired Capt. Kato Walugembe, 50, an NRM supporter, Moses Bakubi, 29, of the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) and Zirimala Kiggundu, 40, of DP.

 Walugembe and Zirimala are pushing for their parties to organise primaries instead of considering those who were the flag bearers in 2006.

 Mukono North consists of three sub-counties of Goma, Nama, Kyampisi and Mukono Town Council, with about 50,000 voters.

 The sub-counties of Nama and Kyampisi are NRM strongholds, while the town council and Goma have always been swept by the opposition.

 Mukono town council and Goma have bigger populations and because of that, the NRM has always struggled to win in the constituency.

 In the 2006 parliamentary elections, the race was between Nambooze and Bakaluba, who defeated Nambooze by less than 500 votes.

Nambooze, however, contested the results, claiming that Bakaluba had rigged the election. The High Court, Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court all ruled in favour of Nambooze, resulting into the pending by-election.

Although the race is stiff between Bakaluba and his bitter rival Nambooze, each of them has more challenges from their party and outside, than they did in 2006.

 DP’s Zirimala, who has vowed to contest as an independent in case his party does not hold party primaries, is a former Mukono district councillor and a supporter of Norbert Mao, his party’s new president.

He has got a reasonable number of followers from DP who do not support Nambooze, which will divide the party vote.  

To make matters worse for Nambooze, FDC has also fronted its own candidate, Bakubi, a computer engineer from Mpoma in Nama sub-county.

 In 2006, FDC had no candidate in Mukono North and most of the party’s supporters looked at Nambooze as the opposition candidate.

However, Nambooze is still a favourite of many voters, who believe she can ably represent them in Parliament.

NRM’s Walugembe and Kagodo’s presence means a reduction in the number of votes Bakaluba would have had.

Walugembe, who was the Kyampisi sub-county speaker for 10 years, wants the NRM to organise primaries for the by-election where he thinks he has the chance to trounce Bakaluba and Kagodo to become the party’s flag bearer.

 The retired UPDF soldier is a well placed man in the constituency and has been active in the local politics and in the district’s security circles.

The other thorn in Bakaluba’s side is Kagodo, son of the late Paul Kalule Kagodo, a former bush war fighter and one of the founders of Uganda Freedom Movement one of the military groups which fought to overthrow Obote’s government.

 Kagodo is a staunch NRM supporter who has reasonable support in the district because of the role his father played. His involvement in the race cannot be ignored.

Because of the new entrants in the race, it is hard to predict a winner at the moment.

Newcomers threaten Nambooze, Bakaluba in Mukono North

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