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 baromete
Naybushozi is a constituency where the MP will be determined in the primaries and not in the general elections. Being President Yoweri Museveniâ€™s home area and a stronghold of the National Resistance Movement (NRM), any opposition candidate who presents himself may do so only to gain fame.
The incumbent, Mary Mugyenyi, has declared that she will not stand again after serving for two terms.
Nyabushozi, one of the two constituencies in Kiruhura district, is made up of seven sub-counties.
Mugyenyi, was first elected in 2001 when she defeated Katanisa Musiime and David Kamukama. In 2006 she returned to Parliament after beating Col. Fred Mwesigye. Four people have shown interest in the seat including Mwesigye, the director of National Enterprise Corporation (NEC). Katanisa Musiime, an operations officer of the Electoral Commission, also intends to stand alongside Genensio Turinawe, a businessman in Kampala. Asaph Turinawe, a farmer, is the fourth candidate eyeing the seat.
To their disadvantage, Genensio, Musiime and Asaph all hail from Kashongi sub-county. This will split their home vote and work in favour of Mwesigye.
Asaph, a graduate of development studies from Uganda Christian University, Mukono has already started hunting for votes. He walks around the sub-county and sometimes rides on boda-bodas trying to woo the constituents. He promises to tackle unemployment.
The Kampala-based people from Nyabushozi have openly showed their support for Mwesigye. Other friends of his, living in Ibanda district have also flocked Nyabushozi to convince their relatives to support him.
Mwesigye is also doing door-to-door kakuyege (canvassing for votes). The elders said they would support Mwesigye because of his determination and patience. Despite failing to go to Parliament in 2006, Mwesigye established a micro-finance institution in Nyabushozi, donated agriculture implements and supported many coffee farms in the area.
He is among the 27 original NRA fighters who are still alive. His closeness to the President could also work in his favour, as voters could think he is in a better position to lobby for resources.
An elder in Nyabushozi said constituencies that voted for soldiers to represent them in Parliament, like Isingiro North and Rujumbura, had developed at a faster pace. Maj. Bright Rwamirama and Maj. Gen. Jim Muhwezi represent Isingiro North and Rujumbura respectively.
Former security state minister Wilson Mukasa Muruli, has declared his intention to return to politics and will face the incumbent, Peter Nyombi.
However, two others are also eyeing the seat. They are Johnson Butamanya who was the runner up in 2006 and John Ssekate, who came third. Muruli, Nyombi and Butamanya will first face off in the NRM primaries, while Ssekate will run as an Independent.
Muruli is a close aide to the Saabaruuli, Mwogeza Butamanya, the traditional leader of the Baruuli. However, Mengo, the seat of Buganda kingdom claims the Saabaruli is a creation of the Government.
Muruli went underground after he lost the 2006 NRM primaries to Johnson Butamanya, who in turn lost the race to Peter Nyombi, who at the time stood as an Independent.
Muruli, a teacher by profession, represented the area in the National Resistance Council (NRC) and later in Parliament for two consecutive terms. He, however, boycotted the 2006 NRM primaries, citing malpractices by Butamanyaâ€™s supporters.
In an area where the pro and anti-Mengo factor is likely to play a big role, Muruliâ€™s strength lies in the fact that he commands a lot of influence among the Baruuli traditionalists, most of whom live in the rural northern part of Nakasongola. His undoing, however, is that he has been off of the political scene for a while.
The pro-Mengo incumbent, Peter Nyombi, on the other hand, has support in the urban areas and in the southern pro-Mengo sub-counties of Wabinyonyi and Kakooge. Nyombi has further built his political clout during his first term by chairing the parliamentary and legal affairs committee.
The incumbent, Alintuma Nsambu (NRM), is the Minister of state for Information and Communication Technology (ICT). Alintuma is likely to face Kampala deputy Mayor, Florence Namayanja (DP) and former New Vision journalist turned politician, Chris Mubiru.
Alintuma, infamous for flying to his poverty stricken constituency in a chopper last year, has tried to popularise ICT in the area by distributing second-hand computers to schools. However, the excitement sparked by his generosity dwindled when he failed to extend electricity to the area, hence the computers could not be used.
In September last year, he was booed by Buganda supporters during anniversary celebrations at Kitovu Catholic Archdiocese. His uncompromising stand on the closed CBS radio has also put him in Mengoâ€™s bad books.
Namayanja has increased her presence in the constituency by traversing villages and attending social functions. She has dedicated most of her weekends to Bukoto East. But coming from a deeply-divided party could be a black spot although Masaka being a DPâ€™s hunting ground could lift her.
This will also depend on whether the misfortunes of KCC will not haunt her. Corruption, a dirty and dusty capital city and management irregularities is what has come to characterise the administration at City Hall, where she is the deputy mayor.
Mubiru who made his first shot at representing the constituency in 2006, hopes that DP hands him the party flag in 2011.
Mubiru says he wants to unite the people, fight unfair taxation and push for federalism and reinstatement of term limits for a President.
He is also capitalising on Alintumaâ€™s clash with Mengo. â€œWe respect the Kabaka but when you have an MP blasting the king, we appear disrespectful to him. I want to correct that,â€ Mubiru said.
World boxing professional fighter Justin Jjuuko has also promised to return to the constituency on the FDC ticket. That will seemingly complicate the choice for the opposition. While the major parties under the Inter-Party Cooperation (IPC) have agreed to field one candidate, DP is yet to join FDC, UPC, JEEMA, CP and SDP in the coalition. Should DP join, Mubiru said Jjuuko would stand down in his favour.
Since the end of the war in northern Uganda, more NRM supporters have declared their intention to contest in next yearâ€™s elections.
In Omoro county, Jacob Oulanyah, who defected to the NRM from UPC, intends to unseat Simon Toolit Akecha of FDC.
In the 2006 elections Oulanyah polled 7,838 votes against Toolitâ€™s 16,531 votes.
Although Toolit has been criticised for being quiet in Parliament, the constituents praise him for buying an ambulance for the area, which is being used to transport patients and pregnant women to health centres.
He has also provided schools with revision question papers and funded the youth, the disabled and women to set up income-generating projects.
Toolit is going to face stiff competition from Oulanyah, who has spent the last five years planning a return to Parliament. Despite losing the elections in 2006, he has delivered on some of the pledges he made then. He boasts of building four teachersâ€™ houses with kitchens at Lela-Baro Primary School. He also built latrines and a model library which is furnished with text books and he has solar power. â€œWe want the rest of the primary schools to look like that,â€ he says.
Oulanyah also initiated sports clubs in all the six sub-counties in Omoro and also donated trophies. â€œWe want to unite the youth who have been redundant for long,â€ he adds.
Aside from sports, Oulanyah has also initiated Larakaraka traditional courtship dance groups for the youth in each sub-county.
However, Oulanyah must first skip the hurdle of the NRM primaries, where he faces Douglas Peter Okello and George Omona.
Okello is the NRM vice-chairman of the youth league. Other than supervising and monitoring the government projects in the area, Okello says he initiated a poultry keeping project for the youth and 40 savings groups in all the sub-counties. He is also planning to launch a cultural competition in the area.
Meanwhile, Omona says his priority for Omoro will be improvement household income, education and employment for the youth. Omona is a farmer, a consultant and the director of Kitgum Comprehensive College.
His priorities will be rural electrification, vocational training for the youth and boosting household food production.
On the FDC front, the incumbent, Toolit, will be challenged in the primaries by Michael Onencan, who is the secretary for production and marketing in FDC. Onencan boasts of lobbying NGOs to give oxen and ox-ploughs to peasants.
He said: â€œWhen I reach Parliament I will demand that Omoro county be divided into two constituencies because of its big size.â€
The race will further be complicated by the intention of a popular artiste, Charles Okwera, to run as an Independent. â€œI do not want to lose my fans who are in the various parties,â€ the musician explained.
One of his strengths is that the youth, who are the majority, are likely to identify with him.
Another Independent aspirant is Peter Okot, 34. He works with an NGO in the north. He started a football club for the youth and has also started mobilisation campaigns.
Mukose Mutabaali, the incumbent MP for Busiki County, knows how to work his masses, but is facing stiff challenge from equally-shrewd opposition politicians.
In 2006, Mutabaali defeated Asupasa Mpongo in the primaries and won the subsequent election. Mutabaali is a regular at funerals, school and religious functions, where he donates funds and logistics generously.
The MP solicited for the construction of humps on the Mbale-Tirinyi-Iganga highway in Namutumba town following several fatal accidents due to speeding. Mutabaali has also helped rice growers market their produce. According to constituents, the MP is approachable and helps those in need of financial assistance. He enjoys a good working relationship with the district leadership and attends district council meetings.
However, some constituents accuse him of rarely holding consultative meetings. They further say their MP should be concerned about finding employment for the youth.
Mutabaali faces Namutumba LC3 chairman, Jamaali Wante, of FDC, in the race for the parliamentary seat. Wante boasts of considerable support in the urban centres. As a local leader, he has done a lot to improve the welfare of the common man. The town has less garbage, it has functional street lights and there is reasonable accountability for public funds. He argues that the constituents want change.
Wanteâ€™s shortcoming could be his aggressive approach to solving matters. For instance, he and his colleagues literary threw out the Police from the FDC offices during the official opening ceremony of the premises.
Also since his party is under the Inter-Party Coalition, his candidature must first be scrutinised at a higher level as a prerequisite to fielding a joint candidate for the parties. For the time being their verbal exchanges may be kept on hold as they each have hurdles to jump at the primaries before the final race in 2011.
By Henry Mukasa, George Bita, Frederick Kiwanuka, Dismus Buryegeya, Chris Ocowun
Col. Mwesigye to stand in Nyabushozi again as Oulanya seeks to return to Parliament