Several incumbent politicians who had vowed not to contest again in the 2021 General Election have made since a U-turn and have announced bids to retain their offices.
The leaders, who include MPs and district chairpersons, have now started lobbying for support.
Some argue that they need more time to consolidate their achievements while other say they have not identified capable successors.
One such politician is Lira District chairperson Alex Oremo. In 2016, Mr Oremo told voters to give him the last chance, saying he would not seek re-election in 2021.
Mr Oremo, who served for 20 years as LC5 councillor for Barr Sub-county to Lira District Council, had been elected district chairperson in 2011.
The Uganda People’s Congress (UPC) diehard also managed to convince his opponent, Mr Vincent Obong Eyit (UPC), not to compete against him with a promise that he would give way in 2021.
But in a twist of events, Mr Oremo told Daily Monitor on Tuesday that he has registered many achievements, which he needs to consolidate.
He cited the creation of new sub-counties such as Awiodyek from Amach, Itek from Barr, Iwal from Ngetta and Ayami from Aromo as some of his achievements.
“The creation of Lira city, which will become operational next year, is also my effort because my council resolved to expand the boundary of Lira Municipality by bringing the sub-counties of Adekokwok, Lira, Ngetta and Iwal to add to the four divisions of Lira Municipality to form two constituencies of Lira West and East divisions,” Mr Oremo said.
His surprise U-turn has since rubbed Mr Obong in a wrong way.
“Everybody is aware that Mr Oremo said he would not contest in the 2021 elections and that he would leave the seat to me and back me,” Mr Ebong said.
“But now he has changed his mind and wants to contest against me. Right now, I am doing consultations with my campaign team and I am sure he will suffer a very embarrassing defeat,” he added.
Seven people have expressed interest to vie for the Lira District chairperson seat. They include the incumbent Mr Oremo, Ms Santa Angella, Mr Anthony Ojuka, Mr William Onyanga and Mr Obong, who are all from UPC party.
Others are the minister of foreign affairs for the Lango Cultural Foundation, Mr Francis Okello Oyo, and a lawyer, Mr Bosco Obonyo Twontoo, who are both NRM.
In Lwengo, Mr George Mutabazi, the district chairperson, had earlier indicated that he would not stand again after serving two terms. He had also fronted Mr William Matovu Saitoti, the district speaker, as his possible successor.
However, recently, Mr Mutabazi made a U-turn, saying he will be defending his seat come 2021.
When contacted on Wednesday, Mr Mutabazi said he was busy in a meeting, but his deputy, Mr Vincent Ssensalire, said the “voters had requested” his boss to stand again because of his excellent performance in the last two terms.
“People have appreciated his services and want him back. I have no doubt he [Mutabazi] will trounce whoever comes up to stand with him,” he said.
Other contenders are Mr Ibrahim Kitatta(NRM) and Mr Joseph Balikuddembe (Independent). Mr Kitatta said Mr Mutabazi doesn’t deserve another term because he has failed to extend basic services to communities such as clean water and health services.
In Ntungamo, the district chairperson, Mr Denis Singahache, in 2017 announced that he would quit active politics in 2021.
The 74-year-old said he was not contesting due to advanced age and what he called nurturing and grooming other leaders to take up the mantle of leadership.
Around that same period, the area Woman Member of Parliament, Ms Beatrice Rwakimari, also announced she would not seek re-election. But both two politicians have not lived up to their promises and have indicated they are running for the seats in the 2021 elections.
In 2019, Mr Singahache said he would seek re-election, saying many people has asked him to return.
“Everyone has been asking me why I am going. That when I go I will leave the people like orphans,” he said. “If you deny the people’s voice, you are denying God because they say the voice of the people is the voice of God.”
Also, after losing his seat in 2016, the former Member of Parliament for Rukiga County, Mr Jack Sabiiti, said he would not run for a political position. He made the announcement after losing the seat to NRM’s Herbert Kabafunzaki.
The former legislator announced that he would encourage youthful FDC supporters to contest for the same seat in the 2021 elections.
“Some youthful FDC supporters are promising to come up and contest for the Rukiga County parliamentary seat but if they fail, I will take up the contest because I do not want to see my FDC party failing to present a candidate at the parliamentary level,” he said.
On Tuesday, Mr Sabiiti said: “In the next two weeks, I will make an official statement about my candidature in Rukiga County.
Kabale LC5 boss plans
Mr Sabiiti is not alone. A few years ago, the Kabale District chairperson, Mr Patrick Besigye Keihwa, expressed interest to contest for the Ndorwa West parliamentary seat in 2021 polls.
He has since made a U-turn and declared interest to run for the seat in the forthcoming general elections.
“It’s true I had developed interest to contest for the Ndorwa West Constituency parliamentary seat for 2021 General Election but later the will of the people made me drop my interest. Timing was not proper as I had to complete the development programmes I had started,” he said.
“My supporters also advised me that for purposes of the NRM party spirit, I should remain in my LC5 seat and allow other NRM party members retain their seats as they could be having a lot to complete for the development of their constituencies.”
Ms Victoria Businge Rusoke, the former Kabarole Woman MP, has declared she could contest again. In 2016, she lost her seat to Ms Sylvia Rwabwogo and said she would not contest again after being appointed a commissioner.
Rules. The Electoral Commission (EC) has condensed the new 2021 electoral roadmap and modified campaign schedules. The EC says mass rallies will not be allowed during the elections to avoid the spread of coronavirus and that campaigns will be done on radios and TVs by candidates.
Compiled by Bill Oketch, Patrick Ebong, Scovia Atuhaire, Robert Muhereza, Perez Rumanzi, Al-Mahdi Ssenkabirwa and Malik Fahad Jjingo