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Nabilah to face off with Kigongo's daughter and Stella Nyanzi

By Umaru Kashaka

Added 30th June 2020 09:51 AM

The race for the Kampala Woman MP seat is slowly gaining momentum, with at least three candidates picking interest in the seat.

Nabilah to face off with Kigongo's daughter and Stella Nyanzi

Nambi, Nabilah and Stellah Nyanzi

The race for the Kampala Woman MP seat is slowly gaining momentum, with at least three candidates picking interest in the seat.

ELECTIONS 2021| POLITICS

As the election fever for the 2021 polls gains momentum, politicians are doing all it takes to endear themselves to voters. Today, Umaru Kashaka looks at the battle for the Kampala Woman MP seat.

The race for the Kampala Woman MP seat is slowly gaining momentum, with at least three candidates picking interest in the seat.

They are Forum for Democratic Change's (FDC) Nabilah Naggayi Sempala, the incumbent, former Makerere University research fellow Dr Stella Nyanzi and Faridah Nambi, the daughter of National Resistance Movement (NRM) vice-chairperson Moses Kigongo.

Naggayi, 48, joined Parliament in 2006 and has served three terms. She has projected herself as a pro-people MP. In the 2016 elections, Naggayi, who has of late been dogged by ill-health, fought off stiff competition from five contenders to retain the seat.

She polled 123,470 of the 345,830 votes cast to beat her closest rival, Florence Nakiwala Kiyingi, who was then in Democratic Party and garnered 70,564 votes. Naggayi, a social scientist, told New Vision that she was confident of winning a fourth consecutive term.

"I am still serving my people of Kampala. The people of Kampala need to have leaders who give them hope because they have suffered a lot. And I think 2021 will be a year of renewed hope for them. I will rebrand my manifesto," she said.

Nabilah Naggayi Sempala, Incumbent Kampala Woman MP

Naggayi said she was not worried about the invincibility of her opponents.

"It is the nomination that sets the stage and the ballot box that determines (the winner). I have been elected four times consecutively. First as Wakiso district councillor and thrice as Woman MP. So, I have done it before and I will do it again," she said.

It is not yet clear whether she is going to run on the FDC ticket again.

"The political landscape is not yet sorted out," Naggayi said when asked about it.

However, some observers say she recently jumped onto Kyadondo East MP Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine's People Power bandwagon. Naggayi has faced the wrath of the Police several times. In 2008, she was almost undressed during arrest by Police officers as she attempted to address traders in St Balikuddembe Market (Owino).

Analysts say Naggayi has fallen out of favour with sections of FDC, who accuse her of being a mole of NRM.

"I did not become who I am through the back door. I got into this position through the front door," she remarked.

NYANZI'S STRATEGY

Analysts say if Nyanzi and Nambi win the primaries of their respective parties, Naggayi will have to fight hard in order to retain her seat. Nyanzi said she was mobilising support.

"I am fundraising and forming teams. I am seriously doing my underground work as well," she said. Nyanzi said she was ready to run in the FDC primaries. "I am still a party member who has a card, so if FDC as a party organises primaries, I will compete. My plan is to stand as both a People Power and FDC candidate," Nyanzi said.

Stellah Nyanzi, Makerere Research Fellow with Leader Of Opposition Betty Aol early 2020. File Photo

She said former FDC president Dr. Kizza Besigye and Bobi Wine had given her their blessings.

"On an individual level, they have both encouraged me to stand," Nyanzi said. She was optimistic about her chances of winning the seat. "Historically, Kampala has been an opposition stronghold and so it is easier for an opposition member to build on that history to win," Nyanzi said.

She said she knows that NRM would like to reclaim Kampala because it is the capital city.

"Unless we can get a united front where different opposition parties and factions field one candidate per position, I do not think we are going to make many gains," Nyanzi said.

Asked why she decided to contest, the activist said: "I have a particular vision based on disappointment by the huge percentage of opposition but also other women MPs who go to Parliament on affirmative action ticket and then do nothing in terms of contributing towards the legislative processes of Uganda."

So she argued that she wants to go to Parliament "and build on the premise of that disappointment and be among the women MPs who will legislate for Ugandans".

Nyanzi's outspokenness on NRM shortcomings and pro-women issues has endeared her to many opposition supporters in Kampala. She dismisses her critics who call her immoral and vulgar.

"If decent language has not been used to effect change on behalf of Ugandans, of what use is it? I would rather insult and change things, be among the women MPs who will legislate for Ugandans".

 Nyanzi's outspokenness on NRM shortcomings and pro-women issues has endeared her to many opposition supporters in Kampala. She dismisses her critics who call her immoral and vulgar.

 "If decent language has not been used to effect change on behalf of Ugandans, of what use is it? I would rather insult and change things, revise the balance of power, than keep quiet or be polite in ways that do not change anything," she said.

The 42-year-old mother of twins was on February 20 released from Luzira Prison, where she had been jailed for months after being convicted of cyber harassment in connection to using offensive language against President Yoweri Museveni, including insulting his late mother.

NAMBI ALSO CONFIDENT

 Nambi, the founder and president of the Union of Muslim Women and Organisations in Uganda, said she wants to be NRM's flag-bearer.

"There are still gaps as far as women are concerned. And even when you take a stroll on Kampala streets on a Sunday, you will find that 95% of the people selling items are women. That is why they need a lot of support to be economically empowered. I have been working with them for the last 16 years and I would wish to offer my energies to enable them advance," she said.

Nambi made a name for herself as the host of the Nambi Talkshow that used to air every Sunday at 5:00pm on NTV and on DStv. Many people started calling her the Oprah Winfrey of Uganda.

Nambi Faridah
Nambi Faridah

She said she left a well-paying job in Civil Aviation Authority for charity. She started Nambi Children's Initiatives, a nonprofit organisation that takes care of orphans in 2006.

"On March 15, I went back to the ghetto where my community service began 16 years ago. Many of the women are now elderly and others have some form of work. The orphans who were young have now completed their studies and are working. I was blessed to lift in my hands my own muzzukulu (grandchild) of an orphan who passed through Nambi Children's Initiatives," she said.

Nambi, who said she has been helping people since childhood, sounded confident of winning the seat in an opposition stronghold.

"I believe that people can vote for me even when they are in Opposition. They have been voting NRM candidates such as Rosemary Seninde (Wakiso) and Amelia Kyambadde (Mawokota North). People want an answer to the question ‘do you hear me, do you feel my pain?' And I can answer those questions. Fortunately for me I have served Kampala and answered them," she said. Nambi said the NRM had made inroads in Kampala.

"It has initiated several incomegenerating projects for the ghetto youth and women groups. "So, the NRM is not doing as badly as it was because they have started initiatives that are directly supporting people. They have pulled up their socks," she said.

FARIDAH NAMBI OPTIMISTIC

Asked whether she will not be affected by the fact that she is the daughter of Kigongo, the second most powerful person in the NRM, Nambi said: "My father is not an arrogant man. He has served in his mandate honourably. Secondly, each one of us has a choice. I chose to contest because I am passionate about serving people, especially vulnerable children and women. And I have been consistent since 2006," Nambi said.

She has been organising seminars, especially for Muslim women, sponsoring football tournaments in all the divisions of Kampala and engaged in bulungi bwansi (community) projects.

 Moses Kigongo NRM Vice Chairman - File Photo
Moses Kigongo NRM Vice Chairman - File Photo

She has also been holding consultative meetings in the divisions to discuss service delivery, hygiene and community security.

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