Moments after he was declared the Kampala Mayor-elect, Erias Lukwago this morning boasted that he had defeated President Museveni and the entire state machinery rather than just his closest challenger Peter Ssematimba.
Mr Ssematimba, the outgoing LC III Chairman for Rubaga Division, represented the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) party in a tightly contested race that had four other candidates.
The visibly overjoyed Lukwago told journalists early Tuesday morning that President Museveni and the NRM pulled all stops in a futile attempt to deny him victory.
“l can proudly say that I have defeated President Museveni and the NRM rigging machinery because it has been a battle between me and the state and not my opponents. President Museveni did all could to fail me but in vain,” said Mr Lukwago, who is the outgoing Kampala Central MP.
Mr Lukwago was declared the winner of March 14 election for the Kampala Mayoral seat after polling 229,325 votes (64.41 per cent of the total votes cast) , representing nearly twice the votes got by his closest challenger Ssematimba, who scored 119,015 votes (33.43 per cent).
Other vanquished candidates and the votes they received are Michael Mabikke (4,092 votes), Edward Francis Babu (2,059 votes), Sandra Ngabo Katebalirwe (1,035) and Emmanuel Rwamafa Tumusiime 539 votes.
Kampala District Returning Officer Molly Mutazindwa declared Mr Lukwago as winner in the early morning hours amidst tight security. He was driven in a convoy of waiting cars which was joined by jubilant supporters who waited at the UMA main entrance during the early morning down pour.
On the eve of the election, Sunday Monitor reported that the President Museveni had met more than 300 of Mr Lukwago’s agents on Wednesday night for about five hours. Mr Lukwago’s agents had been drawn from the opposition Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) party and Ssuubi 2011, a Buganda Kingdom-leaning pressure group.
President reportedly asked Mr Lukwago's agents to abandon him in favour of Mr Ssematimba, saying he is “ready to fight Mr Lukwago even after he wins the poll”.
This morning, however, Mr Lukwago asked Mr Museveni to appoint a responsible Executive Director with the qualities of a civil servant to develop the city rather than a politician to continue fighting him.
“Do not bring Mr Ssebaggala [the current mayor]. Not even Ssematimba or another person related to the rotting of the city,” he said.
Mr Lukwago promised to overhaul Kampala in a bid to revamp the city from its current sorry state, which is generally characterised by poor infrastructure resulting from corruption and poor management.
Mr Lukwago becomes the first Lord Mayor under the newly enacted Kampala Capital City Act (2010), a new law through which the central government has created an authority run by the administrator appointed by the president.
The law provides for the administrator to be at the rank of the permanent secretary, rendering the Mayorship a ceremonial position.
Kampala City Takeover Act in which government creates a metropolitan authority.
While other candidates have not yet spoken out on the results of the election, others like Ms Katebalirwe have already. “The difference is so huge for me to challenge but I am the mayor for my people and others who did not vote,” she said, shortly after getting the final results.
Mr Lukwago has described his win as a remarkable victory for the people of Kampala and the country at large and had pledged to make fundamental changes in the city through teamwork with the different groups and individuals that have the development of Kampala at heart.