SHEEMA. The ruling NRM party and opposition Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) top guns have in the last two weeks been more aggressive in trying to win support for their respective candidates in the race for Sheema Municipality MP seat.
Tomorrow, the voters go to polls. The two leading candidates are Dr Elioda Tumwesigye of NRM, who is the Sheema North MP, and Ms Virginia Plan Mugyenyi of FDC.
Going by the intense engagement and crowds the two candidates and their campaigners have been pulling, one of the two is likely to emerge victor.
President Museveni, Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda, Minister of Tourism, Wild Life and Antiquities Ephraim Kamuntu, State minister for Defence in charge of Veteran Affairs Bright Rwamirama and senior presidential advisor on security Chris Rwakasisi led the NRM group.
The FDC camp had, among others, former presidential candidate Kizza Besigye, Lord Mayor Elias Lukwago, FDC secretary for mobilisation Ingrid Turinawe, Buhweju MP Francis Mwijukye, the Leader of Opposition in Parliament, Ms Winfred Kiiza, party president Patrick Amuriat, former party president Mugisha Muntu and Rukungiri Municipality MP Rolland Kaginda.
There are five other candidates contesting on the independent ticket. They are Mr Benjamin Ruyombya, Mr Ambrose Mwesigye, Mr Jonas Tumwiine, Mr Meshach Katusiime and Mr Raymond Kamugisha.
The FDC candidate has promised to improve conditions of roads, upgrade Kabwohe Health Centre IV to hospital status, extend power to all households, make Women Entrepreneurship Fund easy to access, skill youth and helping them access funds for livelihood projects without paying bribes.
The NRM candidate on the other hand has pledged to upgrade Kabwohe Health Centre IV into a hospital, create an industrial park, building a stadium for recreation and talent development and to tarmack roads.
As has been the norm in their political contests, FDC and NRM often hit hard at each other, evoking delight and ire in the two camps.
Prof Kamuntu asserted that Sheema people have never supported the Opposition and, therefore, FDC will not win.
“FDC will not win this election because they do not have support. That is why they have been telling you that this election is not about parties but rather a cause. Which cause are they talking about? This election is about the parties...if you need services, you must stick to NRM,’’ Prof Kamuntu said at Kibutamo Trading Centre in Kashozi Division recently.
Dr Tumwesigye, who is the minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, defended his candidature in an interview with journalists.
“President Museveni would blame me for allowing Opposition take the municipality,” he said.
President Museveni said at a rally in Kagango Division recently: “Buhweju had a hard working man in Parliament called (Ephraim) Biraaro. That man used to bother me so much for services in his area like roads, water, schools... but (later they) voted a person who is not important, I have never seen him and he does not reach where we do appropriation from. So who lost, is it Biraaro or it is Buhweju? I even removed Buhweju from the map. So if you want services give me a person who will always be following up on your services, not noise makers who just keep there when for us we do everything in our caucus….”
Ms Mugyenyi said at a rally in Kabwohe Division: “I do not need to go to Mr Museveni for services but rather I need to lobby for you from our Parliament and ensure that you get the desired services.”
Mr Mwijukye reacted to the President Museveni’s attack at a rally in Kabwohe Division, saying: “I was voted by the people of Buhweju after seriously scrutinising my manifesto, my programme and in their view I was their best candidate.”
Dr Besigye hit out at President Museveni and Dr Tumwesigye at Karera playground, saying: “When you vote the person that Museveni wants, you will have dug your own grave and buried yourselves because Mr Museveni will not give you anything like he has always done in the last 32 years… The whole country is waiting for the message from Sheema because we are fighting greed that has cropped up in Sheema and this is the same greed that has been in NRM for the last 32 years where people are not given a chance to express themselves and make their own choices just because of one man.”
FDC president Amuriat said at a rally in Kabwohe Division: “I knew Elioda in Parliament as a quiet man, but what I did not know about him is that he is a greedy man and I came to see it from here when he contested for the seat when he is already holding one in another constituency.”
Raymond Kamugisha: He is a former private secretary of President Museveni. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Quantity Surveying, master’s degree in Construction, and master’s degree in Urban Planning.
Meshach Katusiime: He is a former vice chancellor of Ankore Western University, a former senior lecturer of political science at Makerere University and Uganda Christian University. He holds PhD in Urban Governance, master’s in Public Administration and bachelor’s degree in Political Science.
Dr Elioda Tumwesigye: He is the minister of Science, Technology and Innovation. He is the Sheema North MP. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Medicine and Surgery, and a master’s degree in Epidemiology.
Jonas Tumwiine: He is a former Bushenyi District information officer, a former principal communications officer in the Public Service ministry and he is currently the managing director of B FM Radio in Bushenyi. He holds a master’s degree in Development Studies, a bachelor’s degree in Education.
Ambrose Mwesigye: He holds a bachelor’s degree in Public Relations and Media Management. He is a former Resident District Commissioner of Katakwi District.
He worked as a presenter and manager at several radio stations in western Uganda.
Benjamin Ruyombya: He is the director of Newton Hides and Skins Uganda Limited. He is also the director of Westville High School in Fort Portal. He holds bachelor’s degree in Business Administration.
Virginia Plan Mugyenyi: She holds a bachelor’s degree in Education, a master’s degree in Education, and master’s degree in Public Health. She is director of Triple P Primary School in Mukono.