Sunday February 3 2013

Butaleja: Museveni fails to convince candidate

Butaleja: Museveni fails to convince candidate

Ms Hyuha, Ms Andiru, President Museveni and Mr Dombo in Butaleja on Friday. PPU Photo. 

By Yahudi Kitunzi & David Mafabi

Although President Museveni on Friday succeeded in reconciling Uganda’s High Commossioner to Tanzania Dorothy Hyuha and Bunyole East MP Emmanuel Dombo, plans to agree on one party candidate for the Butaleja Woman MP by-election have failed.

President Museveni, also NRM chairman, reportedly told a closed-door meeting of party members that the conflict between NRM leaders was weakening the party in Butaleja.

The meeting aimed at creating harmony ahead of the February 11, polls followed a conflict within the party, where supporters loyal to Ms Hyuha have been canvassing votes for the independent candidate, Ms Betty Hamba, while supporters loyal to Mr Dombo have been canvassing for votes for the NRM flag bearer, Ms Florence Nebanda Andiru.

Mr Dombo reportedly apologised to the President after his supporters beat up Ms Hyuha’s camp without his knowledge.

“We want to create harmony in NRM to get Butaleja development but not to keep in war. I want to request Ms Hyuha to forgive me. I am ready to be given any assignment by Ms Hyuha as an ambassador because she is my boss. I want us to bury this conflict for the sake of the party,” Mr Dombo said after the meeting.

The NRM chairman in Butaleja, Hajji Imran Muluga, who doubles as the RDC Busia, said they have been having two camps in the district.

“As an NRM leader, I tried to call the two camps and I failed to reconcile them and that is why I called the President to help reconcile us for the good of the party. And I hope that this is cemented,” said Hajji Muluga.

However, the NRM-leaning candidates, who lost in the primary election, have vowed to carry on with the campaigns. They called the reconciliation at yesterday’s meeting “pretentious”

Claims of vote-rigging
“They [NRM] steal votes, they divide themselves and I could not be party to the primaries, so I came as an independent. Even now, I am not sure the election will be free and fair because there is likely to be voter bribery,” Ms Perusi Munaba, a candidate, said.

Ms Sarah Logose, another candidate, said: “I wanted to use the division in NRM party to win the votes and I am not bothered about what takes place in NRM; whether there is unity or not.”

The NRM supporters we talked to expressed skepticism at the said reconciliation.

“Even if Mr Museveni met Ms Hyuha and Mr Dombo several times, they would go back and support their respective candidates,” Mr John Wakwesa, the former district vice chairperson, said.