Gov't blames NRM Buganda loss on sectarianism but Mengo attributes it to corruption, killings

Saturday January 23 2021
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The Minister for Presidency Esther Mbayo

By U R N

The Minister for Presidency has asked the Catholic Church and Buganda Kingdom to stick to their core roles instead of meddling in Uganda’s politics.  
Ms Esther Mbayo, who was Friday addressing journalists about the 35th National Resistance Movement/National Resistance Army Victory Day celebration to take place at State House Entebbe on January 26, said the Buganda kingdom has been campaigning for only the leaders who have interest of Buganda at heart.

Ms Mbayo was reinforcing President Museveni’s remarks in his televised victory speech shortly after he was declared winner of the January 14, 2021 presidential election in which results showed that the central region had overwhelmingly voted against him.

“In some of the voting, the pattern which we saw, very interesting, you can see some of that. Where now instead of people looking to solve the social economic issues of the people, they now bring back sectarianism. Like you saw the voting, for instance, in Buganda," President Museveni said following the poor performance of the NRM in Kampala for President and MPs.

The Buganda Katikkiro Charles Peter Mayiga responded by dismissing the talk of sectarian voting in Buganda, saying that on the contrary, there is no other part of Uganda where people vote for those from other communities like happens in Buganda. 
Mr Mayiga advised the NRM to look at the failed service delivery in the city and to understand why the region voted against them.

"There are so many unaddressed issues in Buganda which I think was the reason the election results reflected the way they did. Poor medical services, poor education, poverty, unemployment, poor road infrastructure, corruption, among others. So many people have also been killed in Buganda recently. For instance, some people were killed in November last year, there're also kidnaps, land grabbing, among others. There's also an issue of federal which we've been demanding for over the last 30 years. I think that's part of the reason NRM did not receive many votes in Buganda as they expected,” he said.

“They (NRM) should instead look into the issues affecting ordinary citizens instead of blaming their loss on sectarianism. I hear NRM received few votes in some parts of Busoga and Busia while at the same time President Museveni was overwhelmingly voted for in Ankole [sub region]. Is that also sectarianism?”

Ms Mbayo said that the Buganda Katikkiro clearly told people to vote red, by telling them to harvest red coffee and not the yellow or green ones.
She was responding to questions from journalists following remarks by NRM Vice Chairperson for Eastern Uganda, Mike Mukula that central region which is dominated by Baganda voted in a sectarian manner.

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She said NRM which has been in power for 35 years fought against sectarianism and it was sad that this was happening in Buganda.

According to her Mengo cannot unite people if it engages in politics and tribalism.

According to Ms Mbayo, However, the Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Kampala Cyprian Kizito Lwanga and the Catholic Church came out to openly decampaign the Government and supported the opposition.
Mbayo said that churches are also failing to do their work and now involving themselves in politics and directly campaigning for opposition.  

She said: “In the past when the country had few churches there were few sinners and now with many churches there are many sinners, meaning that some people are not doing their work.
Asked how they are going to handle this, she said that Government through President Museveni has been meeting with Mengo and the Church leaders over time and this will be resolved.” 

The Buganda Kingdom spokesperson, Noah Kiyimba said Ms Mbayo was simply trying to shy away from the reality.

Mr Kiyimba said that Government was at the centre of being voted out in Kampala because it has failed on service delivery.

He said “if people don’t have drugs, you cannot blame Buganda kingdom.” 

According to him, the killing of the 54 people in Kampala in November also sent a strong signal to the voters.

Mr Kiyimba argued that tribal excuse will not work for government.

“Government should instead fight corruption and deliver services for Ugandans among others,” he said.
Attempts by this reporter to speak to the Spokesperson of the Episcopal Conference Philip Odii by press time for a comment were futile.  

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