2021 POLLS: Battle of friends-turned foes in Mawokota

By Umaru Kashaka

"I feel offended when the voice of a Mawokota voter is not felt on the floor of Parliament. The only times I see my MP say a word is when she is asked about ministry business", Hilderman said.

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MP Amelia Kyambadde to face off with friend-turned-foe Hillary Kiyaga aka Dr. Hilderman for Mawokota North constituency seat.
The battle lines between the ruling NRM and the Opposition are being drawn for the 2021 elections, which are just 14 months away. In many constituencies, incumbent MPs are worried about those who have made their intentions to replace them public. As the political fever heats up, Saturday Vision publishes a weekly series of analyses, examining the aspirants and the issues that are likely to influence voters.
 
Umaru Kashaka and Simon Ssekidde look at Mawokota North constituency in Mpigi district, where the incumbent, also trade minister, Amelia Kyambadde, is fighting hard to ward off her opponents, who include her friend-turned-foe Hillary Kiyaga aka Dr. Hilderman and Kampala-based lawyer David Tebusweke.
 
 meliajpgHilderman performing during one of Amelia Kyambadde's campaign rallies.jpg
 

TEBUSWEKE has contested for the Mawokota seat thrice (2001, 2006 and 2011) and lost on all occasions. However, Tebusweke thinks unlike the previous elections, he will carry the day this time around.

 
“Losing in politics depends on certain factors at a particular time. I am now financially more stable, unless the State does something special for her,” Tebusweke, who is a member of the Democratic Party (DP), says.
 
Although Kyambadde has used her clout as former Presidential Private Secretary (PPS) to ensure government-sponsored development programmes take root in the constituency, analysts say she should brace herself for a stiff race now that Hilderman is in the picture.
 
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Dr. Hilderman, who is a therapist by profession, started singing in 2002 and had his first hit, Mazongoto, in 2006, which pushed him higher on the local music charts. In 2010, Kyambadde, who was then the PPS to President Yoweri Museveni, paid handsomely for his album launch, named after her, and she went on to use the song (Amelia) in her rallies while campaigning in the 2011 elections. Observers believe this song alone could have swayed the 2011 election in her favor.

 yambadde2jpg Hon. Amelia Kyambadde and President Museveni.jpg
 

Hilderman, the hoarse-voiced singer, was in July appointed to spearhead Kyadondo East MP Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine’s mobilization activities in greater Masaka region ahead of the 2021 elections.

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In this regard, Hilderman might be planning to ride on the wave of Bobi Wine’s popularity. Observers say since this year started, Hilderman has been mobilizing grassroots support through attending public functions, funerals, weddings, and fundraising drives. He toured several schools in the constituency and together with professionals from Makerere University offered free guidance and counseling.

HILDERMAN SPEAKS OUT
Dr. Hilderman told Saturday Vision that Kyambadde has not lived up to the voters’ expectations.     
“I have been a strong supporter of the outgoing MP to the extent of endorsing her with a song, however, I regret to say that being the neighbor of Uganda’s capital, people of Mawokota are still poor and the approach most current leaders are employing cannot get them out of poverty,” he said.
 
The singer said the incumbent came up with Twezimbe Development Foundation (TDF), a non-profit organization set up in 2009 to support various development activities in Mawokota North, with emphasis on health, education, water, youth, and gender.
 
“It only serves her political ambitions, but not all residents. In the late 1990s, Mawokota depended largely on coffee. We need to rejuvenate coffee-growing not by only giving out seeds, but monitoring farmers with the aid of extension workers. Giving out coffee seedlings should also not be political, but development-oriented,” Hilderman said.

 

Hilderman also accused the minister of failing to take Mawokota issues to the floor of Parliament.
“I feel offended when the voice of a Mawokota voter is not felt on the floor of Parliament. The only times I see my MP say a word is when she is asked about ministry business, which does not benefit us,” he said.
Hilderman’s views were also echoed by Tebusweke, who said Amelia had let the voters down.
 
“There is no running project in the constituency. All other districts have got markets that were constructed by the Government but look at the state of Mpigi Central Market. You cannot imagine the minister responsible for markets is our MP,” Tebusweke said.

  

He said when he tried to work on the market through Bulungi Bwansi (community service), Kyambadde stopped him.
“She came and said the Government was going to construct the market, but up to now, nothing has happened. She is the trade and industry minister, but how many children from Mawokota have been employed on her account?” he asked.
 
KYAMBADDE SPEAKS OUT
However, when Saturday Vision contacted Kyambadde, she sounded confident of victory again due to her record of service to the constituents. In the 2016 elections, she polled 27,224 votes (67%) to retain her seat, while her closest rival, Tebusweke, garnered 7,668 votes (18%).
 
“I thank the people of Mawokota North for the overwhelming support accorded to me since 2011 up to today. I personally have endeavored to mitigate the challenges of girls and mothers in Mawokota through TDF,” she said.

 

Kyambadde said it is important that they struggle to empower the youth through skills development.
 
“TDF has brought hope to the people of Mawokota North. It has attracted donors because of its wide footprint in Mawokota. It operates in four sub-counties of Muduuma, Mpigi town council, Kamengo and Kiringete, and these offices have helped so much in daily operations,” she said.
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According to Kyambadde, one of the TDF areas of intervention is health.

“The organization has supported health centers in Mawokota with basic medical appliances. It has constructed an HIV centre in Muduuma, provided meals to HIV/AIDS clients, refurbished health centres, ambulance, delivery beds, among others,” she said.
 
The minister said TDF has also extended piped water (rural water project) with the support of the Government to various parts of the constituency, such as Kamengo, Kiringete, and Muduuma.
 
“This programme is being rolled out to other villages. We refurbished 40 boreholes, provided water tanks for water harvesting to schools and health centers, refurbished and constructed schools and community latrines and built Nkuuka water spring and this has reduced water-borne diseases” she said.

 

 
She also said the organization, where she serves as a patron, has also lobbied for the extension of electricity lines to various parts of the constituency, which has boosted the socio-economic conditions in the area and improved on the quality of life.
 
Kyambadde said through TDF programmes, they have created income-generating opportunities for the non-skilled, semi-skilled and skilled youth in entrepreneurship trainings and offered 390 scholarships to university students.
 
“We also provide the necessary equipment to boost these people’s small businesses such as for salons, sand mining, brickmaking, bodaboda, and farming. We also provided basic needs, free treatment, beddings and houses for the elderly. We built houses for them in four sub-counties,” the minister said.
 

 

She said they built one house in Muduuma sub-county, two in Mpigi town council, three in Kamengo and another two in Kiringente. She noted that various women groups have been supported with agricultural inputs, piglets, goats, cows and entrepreneurship training.
 

ACCUSATIONS

Both Hillary Kiyaga aka Dr. Hilderman and Kampala-based lawyer David Tebusweke say Amelia Kyambadde has not served to expectations.

“She has done nothing as far as setting up piggery and chicken projects is concerned. She only waits for NAADS to bring maize and she comes to distribute it as if she works with Operation Wealth Creation.” “As an MP, she had told people to form groups and SACCOS, but they all died out after elections because she did not give them support.

 

Twezimbe Development Foundation (TDF) closed all its offices and they are being reopened now. The offices in Nakileme, Kamengo, Muduuma, and Bujuuko were all closed, dashing people’s hopes of getting jobs from the Government.

Kyambadde has let the constituency down. This practice of giving handouts to people is not viable. She should live by example. She should have a demonstration farm where people learn how to farm,” Tebusweke said. However, Kyambadde says all those are lies and politicking. She says she is confident that she will retain her seat due to her record of service to the people.