KAMPALA- He was imprisoned for failing to pay an election petition debt, but emerged from jail to reclaim the same seat he lost in 2016.
Mr Michael Kakembo, aka Mbwatekamwa, who was on January 14 elected Entebbe Municipality MP on National Unity Platform ticket (NUP), had lost the seat to National Resistance Movement diehard Rosemary Tumusiime in 2016.
In 2016, he contested on the Democratic Party ticket. He petitioned the High Court to nullify Ms Tumusiime’s victory but lost the case.
“I went to court to seek legal redress because there were polling stations that had not brought their results such as Nakiwogo. There were 780 registered voters but they brought only 129 votes. That was a serious irregularity. That’s why I went to court to challenge the outcome but I was surprised when the Electoral Commission said updating the register has no time limit; that the register was updated a day before election and that’s how I lost the election,” Mr Kakembo told Daily Monitor in an interview yesterday.
After the court defeat, his situation worsened. Court ordered him to pay Ms Tumusiime Shs100m as costs of the election petition.
He failed to pay and was arrested and sent to Luzira prison for six months.
“When I reached Luzira, I told my wife not to sell anything to clear the date. I told her that I was ready to serve the sentence. But while I was still in jail, people of Entebbe Municipality mobilised Shs8.5m and visited me to bail me out.
I had stayed there for a month. I told them to meet Tumusiime and her lawyers of Kampala Associated Advocates to make arrangement to pay the money. The lawyers agreed on condition that after paying Shs8.5m, I pay Shs2.5m every month. After the meeting with Tumusiime’s lawyers, I was bailed out,” Mr Kakembo said.
He said when he came out of prison, he started plans to contest for the seat again.
Mr Kakembo said he had always been a DP member but when the People Power movement of Mr Robert Kyagulanyi, alias Bobi Wine, came up, he changed his mind.
“I immediately started consultations with religious leaders, businessmen in Entebbe and the community on which party I should join because the country was not supporting Norbert Mao (DP president) and DP. The DP had secured my ticket for Entebbe Municipality unopposed plus money because DP sponsors its candidates. But when the National Unity Platform came in, and after holding series of consultative meetings, I left DP and joined NUP,” he said.
Mr Kakembo said when he announced his defection and to stand against the incumbent, he started getting threats from people who claimed to be security officials.
He said the callers told him they would not allow his campaign posters on Entebbe streets.
“One time, I placed my posters and those of Robert Kyagulanyi in Entebbe town on Business Street. Soldiers plucked them off. I decided to campaign without any poster. I think I am the only candidate who defeated an NRM incumbent while campaigning without a poster. I thank the people of Entebbe because if they were voting posters, I would not have won,” Mr Kakembo said.
“On January 13, 2021, all my phones were disconnected, I could not make calls or be called but because I had built a strong social network with the people of Entebbe, I managed to win with 13,950 votes to beat the NRM incumbent,” he said.
Mr Kakembo promised to work with Ms Tumusiime since she is also a resident of Entebbe.