Parliament Watch: Daggers drawn in Ntungamo, Butembe, Bukoto
Posted Monday, October 14 2013 at 11:44
Youthful Yona Musinguzi Bikwasizehi trounced veteran politician Yona Kanyomozi to claim the Ntungamo Municipality seat in the 2011 parliamentary elections. Come 2016, the incumbent will now face off with the current Youth MP [Western], Mr Gerald Karuhanga. Mr Bikwasizehi has already kicked off his campaign, perhaps wary of the challenge he faces from the former Makerere University Guild President. Mr Karuhanga is no political lightweight having endeared and set himself on the national political scene by tabling a dossier alleging that senior government ministers had pocketed kickbacks during negotiations for oil agreements. He has quietly launched his campaigns with private visits to voters and frequent appearances at social functions in Ntungamo.
The contest will not be lost for intriguing sub-plots. Mr Bikwasizehi is married to Mr Karuhanga’s cousin, a daughter to Mr Matayo Tumwine. Mr Tumwine headed Mr Bikwasizehi’s election taskforce in the previous election.
“What gives us support is not the relationships we have with people but what we do for them. I will do what I can and people will judge me, they will either ask me to return or go away,” Mr Bikwasizehi says.
The usual suspects in the race for Butembe Constituency are Mr Basakana Hannington (left), the former LC5 chairperson for Jinja District, Mr Kirya Wanzala, Nelson Lufafa, Mr Matthias Miti Ngobi, Mr David Muwuliza and Mr John Banalya.
In the last two elections, Lands minister Daudi Migereko’s fate has always been decided at the tail end of the voting process. Opposition sympathisers have over the years fought for Butembe, a constituency near Jinja Municipality, a thing that puts Migereko in a tricky position.
In the last election, Mr Wanzala, Mr Migereko’s closest competitor garnered 16,019 votes compared to Migereko’s 16,833 votes. Mr Wanzala, who was contesting on the FDC ticket, alleged that the exercise was marred by electoral malpractices. He filed a petition before the Jinja High Court challenging the outcome of the elections but Mr Migereko won it. Court said the petitioner did not go to the Electoral Commission to get certified copies to prove his claims. What makes Butembe tricky is the seven contestants it attracted in the previous elections. If they make a comeback, they are expected to divide the votes.
As the 2016 political tide rises, several candidates are warming up for the Bukoto Central constituency in Masaka District currently occupied by Vice President Edward Kiwanuka Ssekandi. Mr Ssekandi, who has held the seat since 1996, had also indicated he would not seek another term in the 2011 Parliamentary elections only to turn up for the NRM party primaries to the disappointment of his then deputy Principal Private Secretary Kityamuweesi Musuubire who was warming up for the constituency.
The Vice Preisdent’s ground is, however, shaky since he won by a narrow margin in the 2011 polls. He contested with the Democratic Party’s Jude Mbabaali (above) whom he narrowly defeated prompting Mbabaali to lodge a petition in court seeking to annul his victory on allegations of electoral malpractices.
Mbabaali later withdrew the petition from Masaka High Court on July 25, 2011, claiming he had lost interest in the matter, something that did not go down well with his supporters who accusing him of betrayal. Masaka Woman MP Freeda Mubanda is also eyeing the same constituency on condition that Mr Ssekandi shows no interest.