Ssewanyana addressing a gathering in Makindye
Ssewanyana might need extra energy to retain the seat, after four strong popular opposition politicians declared bids to unseat him.
BY BRIAN MAYANJA
In 2013, when 34 city councillors sat to impeach Erias Lukwago from the position of Lord Mayor over misconduct, Allan Ssewanyana was among the few who fought hard to halt the process.
Ssewanyana resisted the then city minister, Frank Tumwebaze's motion to censure Lukwago, by smuggling into the KCCA council a court order, blocking the impeachment.
When he was blocked, he stepped on the minister's table, waving the order. To bring sanity to the council meeting, the security threw out Ssewanyana, before the rest of the councillors went on to censure Lukwago.
Though Ssewanyana lost the battle, he won the political war.
This made him a darling to the locals in Makindye, especially Lukwago's supporters. In 2016, he contested for the Makindye West parliamentary seat, to replace Hussein Kyanjo and, with Lukwago's backing, Ssewanyana defeated his 12 opponents, including Kyanjo's son, Farouq Kyanjo Hussein.
Extra energy needed
However, this time, Ssewanyana might need extra energy to retain the seat, after four strong popular opposition politicians declared bids to unseat him.
Among them are Bosco Lusagala, the Makindye division deputy mayor, Farooq Ntege, a businessman and a brother of Nasser Sebaggala, a former city mayor. Also among those
who have expressed interest is Kasim Kyazze of Alliance for National Transformation (ANT).
Within the NRM, so far only Achilles Lubega, who lost to Ssewanyana in 2016, has shown
Since last year, the politicians have been secretly meeting different groups in the constituency.
High demand for social services
Ssewanyana says he is satisfied with his performance in Parliament, which he believes has been better than for his predecessors.
"I have done my best to ensure that Makindye West gets better social services. For instance, for the first time, we have new five tarmacked roads and more are soon coming.
I will not stop lobbying KCCA, to tarmac our roads. When the roads are worked on, it changes the face of the constituency and, in the long run, it attracts businesses,"
Ssewanyana told Saturday Vision.
Makindye West has posh suburbs — Nsambya, Lukuli, Buziga and Munyonyo — and slums — Katwe and Kibuye. The general challenges include lack of clean water, floods and inadequate household incomes.
Ssewanyana says since he joined Parliament, he has tried to improve the livelihoods of people residing in the slums, through injecting finances in their SACCOS.
"But I have put more effort on uniting the youth, encouraging them to work hard, as well as eradicating poverty in their families," he added.
But his opponents, such as Lusagala, a fellow DP member, says Ssewanyana has failed to fit in the shoes of former area MPs, such as Kyanjo and the late Yusuf Nsambu.
"These people would talk in Parliament and shake the nation. But Ssewanyana has never engaged in any serious debate. The only time he appeared on the floor was when he was fighting his personal wars against Moses Magogo, the FUFA president. I have to uproot him so that Makindye West shines again," Lusagala argued.
Kyazze agrees with Lusagala
"Our voice in Parliament is down. Makindye West was known to be represented by vocal politicians. I want to resurrect this," he explained.
Lusagala also attacked Ssewanyana over what he called failing to address the challenge of floods, saying that to solve it, Parliament must intervene.
"KCCA alone cannot solve the challenge. When I join Parliament, I want the Central Government to allocate more funds to KCCA, so that it's able to contain floods not only
in the city, but also in the suburbs particularly in Makindye. This issue is of national concern because whenever it rains heavily, we lose lives and properties," Lusagala explained.
People Power vs People's Government
Currently, the opposition is divided between those associating with People Power, a pressure group led Kyadondo East MP Robert Kyagulanyi and that Besigye's People's Government.
Makindye West is among the constituencies that is sharply divided by two groups. Many aspirants, such as Ntege, are claiming to be backed by People Power.
"I will stand as an independent though I subscribe to the People Power movement. I am not shaken by the number of aspirants because all of them are still amateurs in politics," Ntege said.
The challenge Ntege is likely to face is that Lukwago seems to be
supporting Ssewanyana. Lukwago still politically commands respect in Kampala city.
Towards the end of last year, Ntege and Lukwago were embroiled in a fight over land board membership seat, with the latter accusing the former of occupying it illegally. The matter ended up in court.
A close friend of Ntege, however, told Saturday Vision that with or without Lukwago, they will win Makindye West.
But Ssewanyana scoffed at Ntege's remarks with the MP saying he does not expect much from Ntege.
Within People Power group, there is also Lusagala and Muwonge, who claim to have the full backing of the pressure group.
For Lusagala, however, he is ready to participate in the DP primaries.
However, he said if the primaries are rigged, he will contest as an independent.
Ssewanyana, however, associates with People's government, serving as minister in charge of the youth.
This somehow puts him on a collision course with some DP members, who accuse him of
promoting Besigye and FDC in the constituency, instead of his party.
On the accusations, Ssewanyana said there is no problem working with other opposition forces.
"We need to unite forces, if we are to remove the NRM government from power. I know majority who are against a united opposition are paid, to disorganise us. In all the
street battles, we have been involved in with the Police, I have never seen them. This means, they work for the state," he said.
NRM fights hard
Some of the NRM party members in the constituency think Ssewanyana jumped the queue. Lubega told Saturday Vision that the legislator had not yet matured to serve as a law
"We are not sitting. His popularity has drastically gone down. Some residents lost trust in him because he does not fulfill his promises," Lubega said.
Though Makindye West is seen to be one with more support from the opposition, in the previous elections, NRM's Lubega was the second in the Parliamentary election race, with 12,746 votes.
Responding to his opponents, Ssewanyana explained that if they think he is weak, they should wait for next year's elections.
"This is not going to be a battle. It will be a walkover. I have contested with serious rivals before, when I didn't have enough capacity and defeated them. But now I have enough capacity and I am more popular than even before," Ssewanyana said.