NRM big shots trail in primaries

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Defeat? Upsets include ministers and long-serving MPs

COUNTRYWIDE. At least 10 ministers had by 11pm last night either lost the vote to be the ruling party’s parliamentary flag bearer or were trailing in the primaries, according to provisional results.
NRM held its twice deferred party primaries yesterday, but the countrywide exercise was marred with irregularities the earlier postponements were meant to cure.
Justice and Constitutional Affairs minister, Gen Kahinda, was losing the Ruhinda North NRM flag to Rtd Capt Donosio Kahonda. Dr Vincent Owomujuni was ahead of Local Government minister Adolf Mwesige in Bunyangabu County.
The preliminary results showed junior Primary Healthcare minister Sarah Opendi, on the brink of losing the Tororo District Woman MP flag, while Lands Minister Daudi Migereko was trailing in Butembe County. Pastor Nelson Lufafa was leading.
Education Minister Jessica Alupo had lost ground to Ms Viola Akurut in the battle for Katakwi District Woman MP flag, while Prof Tarsis Kabwegyere, the General Duties minister in the Office of the Prime Minister, was behind incumbent Igara West MP, Mr Raphael Magyezi).
In Bududa District, State Trade minister David Wakikona was struggling to defend the flag for Manjiya constituency and so was his Planning counterpart David Bahati.
Information Minister Jim Muhwezi’s fate hung in balance for Rujumbura County flag in Rukungiri District.
In Kamuli, Parliament Speaker Rebecca Kadaga, who has been in Parliament since 1989, was reported to be facing a tough challenge from Ms Deborah Mwesigwa Mugerwa, a former URA employee.
State Minister for Works Asuman Kiyingi, the incumbent Bugabula South MP, was also reported trailing Mr Henry Morris Kibalya, while former Ethics Minister James Nsaba Buturo was leading.
In Mawokota North, Trade Minister Amelia Kyambadde was ahead of Ms Grace Kansiime, while Second Deputy Premier, Gen Moses Ali, and Deputy Speaker Jacob Oulanyah retained the party flags for East Moyo and Omoro County, respectively. Eng. Hillary Onek, the Relief and Disaster minister, and the Junior Agriculture minister Vincent Bamulangaki Ssempijja were both leading in Lamwo and Kulungu East constituencies.
In Kampala, musician Daniel Kazibwe, aka, Ragga Dee, beat NRM chairperson for Kampala Capt Francis Babu, whose wife Marageret Zziwa, the former East African Legislative Assembly Speaker, also lost in one of the biggest upsets.
Former minister Kirunda Kivejinja lost his bid to reclaim Bugweri seat.
All incumbent MPs in Butaleja district were defeated. Mr Emmanuel Dombo (Bunyole East) was beaten by Mr Moses Nagomu, Ms Florence Nebanda, the sister to late Cerinah Nebanda, lost to Milly Mugeni and Jacob Wangolo, the incumbent MP for Bunyole West trailed Mr James Waluswaka.
In Teso sub-region, preliminary results show junior Defence minister, Gen. Jeje Odong, leading in Orungo constituency against his challenger John Francis Oluma, the Amuria district chairman.
Musa Ecweru, the State minister for Disaster Preparedness, was by 9pm ahead of Sr Otelu Edyegu to be NRM flag bearer for Amuria County.
Amuria MP Susan Amero was in dead heat with four competitors.
In a re-enactment of the party’s messy 2010 primaries, which resulted in more NRM members standing as Independents for the 2011 general election, yesterday’s voting too, was blighted by several administrative flaws that critics said absolved the then Amama Mbabazi-led team that superintended the party’s last internal polls.
Yesterday’s irregularities, cited last Sunday night to justify a last-minute postponement, included aspirants’ and voters’ names missing on ballots or in the party register, ballot papers being switched between districts, fewer ballots than voters, late delivery of voting materials and allegations of rigging and violence.
As a result, voting was partially or wholly cancelled in more than a dozen districts across the country.
The primaries were conducted largely without incident in majority constituencies, but the glaring cases left in their trail drama, logistical nightmares and frustration. For instance, the ballot papers for Kibaale District in mid-western Uganda were sent to Luweero in central region. In Kalangala District, a constituency with 300 voters received 10 ballot papers.
Some aspirants, particularly in eastern and western Uganda, were arrested with pre-ticked ballot papers.
In Sembabule district, election of flag bearer for the Woman MP was called off after aspirant Diana Nowenyina’s name was discovered missing on the ballot. Voting for other slots in the district went uninterrupted.
Results for Karamoja sub-region’s Pokot County were declared at 8am, barely before voting began, and were subsequently nullified over electoral fraud. Ballot papers for Moroto and Soroti districts were left hundreds of kilometres away in Kampala.
In Arua District, only three names of the seven Ayivu parliamentary aspirants, were on the ballot, resulting in indefinite postponement of the vote.
And in another spectacle, incumbent Wakiso District Woman MP Rosemary Sseninde, who is unopposed, according to the deputy NRM spokesperson, Mr Ofwono Opondo, “had a competitor [on the ballot paper]”.
In Rakai District, an aspirant in Kooki County used his personal vehicle to transport the voting materials because, according to him, police in the area lacked transport. He was caught with ballot papers pre-ticked in his favour, and the election was aborted.

Reported by Yasiin Mugerwa, Henry Lubulwa, Al M. Ssenkabirwa, Fahad Jjingo, Martins Ssekweyama, Jessica Nabukenya, Ali Mambule, Shamim Nakawooya, Brian Mugenyi, Gertrude Mutyaba, Paul Adude, John Okot, Cissy Makumbi, Stephen Okello, Dan M Komakech, Julius Ocungi, Robert Muhereza & Albert Tumwine