THE election year, 2011, is around the corner. Incumbents will struggle to retain their seats while many others will vie to replace them. The contests will cut across; from president, parliamentary constituencies to local government. As the temperatures begin to rise, Saturday Vision puts a b
Igara West, Bushenyi District
The minister for disaster preparedness, Prof. Tarsis Kabwegyere, has to ward off five people vying for his seat. Kabwegyere represented the area in the Constituent Assembly in 1994 but in the 1996 parliamentary elections he was defeated by Nyiine Bitahwa, a former ambassador to Germany.
He returned in 2001 to beat Nyiine. In 2006, Nasser Bassajjabalaba, brother of Kampala tycoon Hassan Bassajjabalaba, stood against Kabwegyere. To the surprise of many, the tycoon openly campaigned for Kabwegyere, who won the seat.
This time round, he has a number of strong contenders in Bwesigye Maliserino Kyamutetera, Raphael Magyezi, Martin Rutangye and Hope Kabirisi Luberenga, all of the NRM party. The other aspirant is Paul Kahiigi (FDC). Kyamutetera, Magezi and Rutangyi are new on the political scene compared to Kabwegyere, Kahiigi and Kabirisi.
In 2006 Kahiigi, who had been the LC3 chairperson for Kyamuhunga sub-county, stood against Kabwegyere and lost.
But Kabwegyereâ€™s biggest threat might be the newcomers. Moreover, the opposition has sizeable pockets of support in the constituency, like in Kakanju sub-county, which is represented at the district by an FDC councillor.
Kabwegyere will rely on the structures he has built over the years, although the other aspirants have also set up their own.
Igara West is composed of four sub-counties of Kakanju, Nyabubare, Kyamuhunga, Bitooma and part of Ishaka/Bushenyi town council.
Magyezi and Kahiigi hail from Kyamuhunga sub-county, while Maliserino, Kabwegyere, Kabirisi and Rutangyi are from Nyabubare.
Each candidate has strong support within their sub-counties. A win will depend on who can get the most votes outside their home areas.
Kabwegyere has benefited from different regimes, under various capacities. He has been heard saying he was one of the few people who attended the Moshi conference that plotted the overthrow of Idi Amin.
But his critics have accused him of failing to extend electricity to villages neighboring Bushenyi town. They also accuse him of not doing enough to address unemployment or to set up development projects in the area. However, his supporters say he has distributed piglets to women groups and they are confident he still has Bassajjabalabaâ€™s support.
Bassajjabalabaâ€™s KIU Western campus in Bushenyi has earned him a big following because it has created jobs for many. Like Kabwegyere, Kabirisi is a seasoned politician. She went to the Constituent Assembly in 1994 as the womenâ€™s representative for Bushenyi district. Later she was beaten by Bernadette Bigirwa for the district Woman MP seat. After Bigirwaâ€™s death Kabirisi bounced back to contest against Mary Karooro Okurut, but pulled out to avoid splitting the NRM vote. She was later appointed a presidential advisor. Being the only female aspirant, Kabirisi might easily mobilise womenâ€™s votes.
However, the fact that she is married to someone outside the constituency might work against her. There are those who feel she should contest in her husbandâ€™s constituency. But to ward off such talk, Kabirisi has built herself a house in her fatherâ€™s home area.
FDCâ€™s Kahiigi, is quite popular as an individual but his party is hard to sell in Bushenyi district. Apart from a few pockets of FDC support, Bushenyi is an NRM zone. But voters say unlike politicians who come from Kampala to villages to seek votes, Kahiigi has been with them all along. Kyamutetera and Magezi have both established projects in education and supported schools through fundraising, funded sports teams and mobilised womenâ€™s groups. Rutangyi is involved in programmes like providing energy saving stoves especially in households in Nyabubare sub-county.
The incumbent, Ssozi Kaddumukasa, is an Independent. The majority of his supporters in 2006 were from the Forum for democratic change (FDC) and the Democratic Party (DP), which will be fielding their own candidates this time.
Without the backing of the major political parties, Kaddumukasa has to come up with a new strategy if he is to retain his seat.
Kaddumukasa gained fame on CBS radio, where he moderated a weekend talk show, Mambo Bado. But his supporters in Mityana town council complain that he rarely visits them, yet he holds a football and netball tournaments for the other sub-counties every year.
The NRM is fielding Henry Makumbi Kamya, the LC3 chairperson of Mityana Town Council, who holds a masters degree in economics and is a teacher by profession. Kamya is also the proprietor of a secondary school in Mityana town.
DPâ€™s candidate is Edward Ssebombo, who has used the past three years to interact with the people at the grassroots. Dr Fred Mukasa, of Universal clinic in Kigwogwa, will stand on the FDC ticket.
The incumbent is the state minister for tourism, Serapio Rukundo. In 2006, Rukundo beat FDCâ€™s Isaiah Kanyamahane by small margin. He will face him again if he wins the primaries. Within his own party, the NRM, Rukundo will contest against Joseph Mutebile, the brother of Bank of Uganda governor Emmanuel Mutebile. He contested in the last elections.
Mutebile, 40, works with Barclays Bank in Kampala and is also a businessman. He has supported church and school projects and given football teams in Kabale uniforms and balls. He was the main fundraiser at the recently-established Northern division social centre.Â
Meanwhile, some NRM members want former internal affairs minister Ruhakana Rugunda to stand, arguing that he has a better chance of beating the FDC.
FDCâ€™s Kanyamahane, 39, is an influential figure in the Roman Catholic Church and lives in Kabale. He lost to Rukundo in 2006 largely because he did not have a sound financial base. But his chances have improved because Kabale municipality has a good number of FDC supporters.
The party took the mayoral seat, central division chairmanship and many councillor positions at the division and in the municipality. Apart from party loyalty, religious affiliation plays a big role in Kabale politics. In the last elections Rukundo was supported by both the Catholics and Protestants. It is not clear whether the Protestants will do the same again.
One person has come up so far to challenge William Nsubuga.
Robert Migadde, the Mukono town planner, declared his intention to run for the seat recently. Migadde, born on Buvuma Islands, will battle Nsubuga in the NRM primaries. A holder of a Masterâ€™s degree in Business Administration from Makerere University Business School, Migadde is one of the few educated people on the islands he seeks to represent.
Â Nsubuga did not have a challenger in 2006 but having been in Parliament for two terms, he is not afraid of competition. He has started making his rounds in the constituency ahead of the primaries. Â
His opponents criticise him for not spending enough time on the Island. He neither has an office nor a home on the island and his official home is in Seeta, in Mukono North.
Â But his supporters say he advocated a district status, which brought much relief to the islanders, who have always complained of poor services due to marginalisation by mainland Mukono. Buvuma was recently granted district status but the new district is yet to start functioning. Another factor that might work in his favour is that he has been giving out Friesian cows to his people as an alternative to fishing.
Â Migadde has gotten involved in social activities on the islands like fundraising for churches and promoting youth groups at different landing sites. Â He also contributed funds for the construction of public toilets at Kyanamo and Ndootwe landing sites.
Three people have declared their intention to contest for Justine Kasule Lumumbaâ€™s seat.
Goretti Nandege, Peninah Nabirye and Ancilla Batenganya have taken advantage of public functions held in the district to canvass for support. All four women are members of the NRM. Nabirye is a district youthÂ councillor, who enjoys support from the youth.
Nandege, a district councillor for Bugiri town council with great mobilisation skills, also has a huge following of men because of her beauty. Bateganya is the widow of the late deputy ambassador to Libya, Dick Bateganya. Having lost twice before, Batengaya she says she has new strategies to trounce her rivals.
She came second to the incumbent in the last elections after contesting on an independent ticket after losing to Lumumba in the NRM primaries. She has taken advantage of the incumbentâ€™s rare public appearances to canvass for support during public functions.
Lumumbaâ€™s advantage is her ability to speak over 10 languages fluently. This works in her favour because Bugiri is home to people from several tribes. Having been in the field for long, Lumumba says she knows all the corners and is not afraid of competition. â€œI am used to winning with big numbers,â€ she said.
Compiled by: Darious Magara, Chris Ahimbisibwe, John Semakula, Luke Kagiri and moses bikala
Ministers Kabwegyere and Rukundo face uphill task