Campaigns for Kasese woman parliamentary by-election have started with the four courting their home areas for votes.
Four candidates were nominated for the August 8 by-election ordered by the Court of Appeal on June 4 on grounds of non compliance with the electoral laws by the Electoral Commission.
Independent candidate Betty Kayezu, who was rumoured to have pulled out of the race under unknown circumstances, spent her day in Katwe-Kabatoro Town Council in Busongora South, whereas DP’s Rosemary Masika held rallies in Nyakiyumbu and Karambi sub-counties in Bukonzo County West.
FDC’s Winfred Kiiza, accompanied by party president Kizza Besigye, campaigned in Kisinga and Kyalhumba sub-counties in Bukonzo County East while her main rival, NRM’s Rehema Muhindo, campaigned in Kitswamba Sub-county and Hima Town Council in Busongora North.
Campaigning for Ms Muhindo were Defence Minister Crispus Kiyonga, Busongora South MP Boaz Kafuda, Kasese Municipality MP James Mbahimba and Kasese District chairman Mawa Muhindo.
Ms Muhindo, the runner-up for the 2011 elections, pledged to address education quality concerns and improving the maternal health in the district. “I will also make sure the pregnant mothers will never suffer,” Ms Muhindo said.
Dr Kiyonga, who is also district NRM chairman, asked voters in Busongora North to vote for Muhindo if they want Rwenzori elevated to a district.
The turn up for Ms Muhindo’s rallies in Busongora North, regarded as an FDC stronghold, were low-- prompting party officials to accuse the local organisers for failing to mobilise.
At Kisinga playground in Bukonzo County East, several MPs took to the platform to campaign for Ms Kiiza arguing that she is missed in Parliament on matters that affect the country.
Newly-elected MP for Bushenyi-Ishaka Municipality Oddo Tayebwa, Rukungiri Municipality MP Roland Kaginda, Busongora North MP William Nzonghu, Bukonzo East MP Yokasi Bihande and Western Youth MP Gerald Karuhanga campaigned for Ms Kiiza.
Ms Kiiza, who has been the opposition chief whip in Parliament, told supporters that the by-election will reveal the truth about who was the rightful winner of the election.
She said there are unfinished tasks in Parliament ranging from improving education standards, health, employment creation and marketing --which requires that she is voted back to the House.
Dr Besigye asked the people of Kasese to defend their Rwenzururu Kingdom by voting Ms Kiiza who, he says, knows the value of the people.
Poverty, eradication pledge
He said the Banyarwenzururu have showed that they are able to participate in protecting the country by overwhelmingly contesting the emerging Busongora Kingdom.
“I have come here to thank the Banyarwenzururu for showing the country that you are able to defend your Kingdom because some people (Basongora) had invaded your peace but government could not do much to stop them until you pulled down their flag,” Dr Besigye said.
At Mushenene Trading Centre in Nyakiyumbu Sub-county, DP’s Masika promised to fight poverty and unemployment if elected into Parliament.
Kasese Parliamentary elections
Campaign period: The candidates have 15 days to campaign through 28 sub-counties and town councils in the district.
Register display: The Electoral Commission is displaying the voter’s register until July 28.
LC elections: Local council by-elections will also be held in Lake Katwe, Kisinga, Nyakatonzi and Isango sub-counties on the same day with woman parliamentary poll, expected on August 8.
Opposition win: FDC top officials to camp in Kasese District until the vote is concluded. The opposition has won six of seven parliamentary by-elections since the 2011 general elections.