Monday, September 10, 2012


By Eriasa Mukiibi Sserunjogi Posted Sunday, September 9 2012 at 01:00 If the ruling NRM’s Faisal Kikulukunyu loses the Butambala by-election on Wednesday, it will be the first time in NRM’s 26 years reign for the constituency to fall into opposition hands. And for Butambala resident Hajj Moses Kigongo, who has deputised for President Museveni in NRM since 1986, the loss would be costly. NRM bigwigs usually influence their constituencies firmly: Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga in Kamuli, Prof. Gilbert Bukenya in Wakiso, President Museveni in Kiruhura, Foreign Affairs Minister Sam Kutesa in Sembabule and Constitutional Affairs Minister Kahinda Otafiire in Ruhinda are examples. Hajj Kigongo’s position as 1st NRM vice chairman would therefore be shaken should the party lose in Butambala. But he is approaching the game calmly. Hajj Kigongo told residents of Gombe town, the headquarters of the new district of Butambala, after Mr Kikulukunyu was nominated on August 29, that the police will not deploy heavily ahead of the election. “The people of Butambala know what they want to do,” he said, “We don’t want guns here”. He has to have hoped though that what the people of Butambala want is to retain Mr Kikulukunyu, who court threw out of Parliament over voter bribery. Recent by-elections have seen heavy police deployments, although the opposition has been winning. The only exception was former Vice President Bukenya’s Busiro North, where NRM won. Could Hajj Kigongo have concluded that violence cannot coax votes out of Ugandans? He prefers to embrace the challenge especially posed by DP’s Mr. Muwanga Kivumbi politically. Mr Kivumbi is backed by opposition stalwarts Dr Kizza Besigye, Kampala Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago and Mukono Municipality MP Betty Nambooze. In the last election, Mr Kikulukunyu beat Mr Kivumbi by 734 votes, polling 13,188 votes against 12,454 votes, a result Mr Kivumbi successfully challenged in court. The race has now attracted four new comers; Mr Ibrahim Tomusange (UFA) and independents Faridah Nakiboneka, Farouk Walungama and Sharif Ssentongo. But Mr Kikulukunyu’s worries don’t end with the opposition. The NRM juggernaut in Butambala is divided too. Some NRM members openly back Mr Kivumbi while others are thought to support him covertly.

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