Ugandans on Wednesday head to the polls to elect city mayors in the 11 cities (Kampala inclusive) and district chairpersons countrywide.
According to Electoral Commission (EC) roadmap, today’s elections of District Local Government Councils shall include elections for District/City Chairpersons, Lord Mayor, Mayors, and Councillors at local government level.
The Kampala Capital City Authority is the governing body of the city that is mandated to administer the capital city on behalf of the central government and it is headed by the Lord Mayor, who works closely with the technical team headed by the Executive Director.
Section 4 of the Local Government Act (Cap 243), a city is an equivalent of a district.
Parliament on April 28 last year approved the creation of 15 new cities.
The cities include Masaka, Arua, Gulu, Jinja, Fort Portal and Mbarara. Others are Hoima, Mbale, Lira, Entebbe, Nakasongola, Moroto, Masaka, Soroti, Kabale and Wakiso. However,10 new cities are operational. They are Jinja, Arua, Gulu, Mbarara, Fort Portal, Mbale, Masaka, Hoima, Lira and Soroti.
In Kampala, the tighter contest is between Kampala District Woman MP Nabilah Naggayi, local artiste, Joseph Mayanja, aka Jose Chameleon,NRM’s Dan Kazibwe, aka Ragga Dee and former Kampala Central Division Mayor, Godfrey Nyakana against the incumbent and FDC’s Erias Lukwago.
Under the Local Government Act, District chairpersons are among others, mandated to preside over meetings of the executive committees of the districts, monitor the general administration of the districts and implementation of council decisions.
Mbarara City Mayoral seat has attracted six candidates.
The interim (incumbent) mayor, Mr Robert Mugabe Kakyebezi (NRM), is competing with Mr Stanley Katembeya of the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) party, Mr Apollo Kibira (Independent ), Mr Vincent Mugarura (Alliance for National Transformation), Mr Albert Atukunda (Independent) and Mr Peter Mpaka Ayamba (National Unity Platform party).
Mr Kakyebezi and Mr Katembeya also faced off in 2016 mayoral election.
Mr Kakyebezi, 47, was born in Kakibaaya, Kebisoni Sub-county Rukungiri District. He went to Kantaganya Primary School in Kanoni, Kazo District.
He joined Makobore High School in Rukungiri where he studied up to Senior Three and joined Nyakagyeme Secondary School where he completed O-Level.
He went to Rugarama Secondary School in Ntungamo District for A- Level. He later enrolled for a Diploma in Secondary Education at National Teachers’ College Kabale and graduated in 1998.
Mr Kakyebezi taught at Kazo Modern High School in Kazo County and Nyabushozi High School in Kashongi Nyabushozi.
In 2002 he joined Radio West in Mbarara as a presenter and DJ.
In 2012, he enrolled for Bachelor of Social Works and Social Administration at Bishop Stuart University in Mbarara.
He worked at Radio West until October 28, 2015 when he was elected NRM flag bearer for Mbarara mayoral seat and as mayor in 2016. Mr Kakyebezi beat Mr Hebert Kamugisha and Mr Justus Karuhanga to NRM flag in September last year.
Mr Katembeya, 65, went to Mutara Primary School, then Muntuyera High School Kitunga in Ntungamo for O-level. He has a degree in Business Studies.
He is a prominent businessman with interests in real estate. “Improving healthcare, developing road infrastructure, improving sanitation and cleanliness in the city will be among my priorities,” he reveals .
The race for Mbale City mayoral seat has attracted nine candidates, among them, Mr Mutwalibi Mafabi Zandya, the incumbent and acting city mayor.
Mr Zandya was first elected mayor of Mbale Municipality in 2011. In 2016, He was re-elected on the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) party.
However, during last year’s FDC party primaries, Mr Zandya lost and decided to run as independent.
Mr Vincent Magombe, 66, the NRM flag bearer for the Mbale city, is a businessman and an engineer by profession.
He formerly contested for Mbale District chairperson seat in 2016 but lost to Mr Bernard Mujasi.
Mr Cassim Namugali Wamatambu, the FDC flag bearer, is a businessman and former banker with KCB.
Mr Wamatambu defeated the acting city mayor, Mr Zandya in the FDC party primaries after he garnered 66 votes against the latter’s 15 votes of the 93 votes cast.
Mr Karim Wodero, who is contesting as an independent, is a lawyer.
Mr Wodero is running his campaign on six principles, which include fighting against land grabbing and improved transport systems, among others.
Mr Harshim Mwenyi, who is also contesting as an Independent, is a former immigration officer and a businessman.
He says he resigned from his job after realising that the new city needs his experience to accelerate its economic growth.
Pastor Godfrey Wanyama is one of the religious leaders and founder of Latter Rain Gospel Ministries in Mbale City.
Mr William Massai, also an Independent candidate is a former LC5 councillor, for Namasaba Sub-county. He contested in the NRM party primaries and lost to Mr Magombe. He refuted the results.
Mr Abdu Magoola is running as an independent after losing in the NRM party primaries. He is a businessman and a staunch NRM cadres.
Mr Abbas Wetaka, the National Unity Platform (NUP) party flag bearers, is also eyeing the seat. He was formerly Uganda People Congress, chairperson in Mbale before he defected to NUP. He is currently the coordinator of NUP in Bugisu Sub-region
KABALE LC5 CANDIDATES
Nelson Nshangabasheija (NRM)
He has been the mayor for Katuna Town Council until 2020 when he won the NRM party primary elections for the Kabale District LCV seat.
Mr Denis Nzeirwe (Ind)
He served as the Kamuganguzi Sub-county chairperson in Kabale District.
He was later appointed as the Deputy resident district commissioner and served in Rukungiri, Kabale and Kyankwazi.
He lost the NRM party primary elections for the Kabale district LCV seat and is contesting as an independent candidate.
The race for Masaka City mayor has attracted eight candidates but only four have managed to sell their manifestos to the voters.
The main contenders are Florence Namayanja (NUP), NRM’s Wills Bamwesigye Mbabazi, Charles Kabanda of Democratic Party and Independent candidate Emmanuel Lwasa Kaweesi .
Other Independent candidates are; Robert Kaweesi, Francis Ssemugabi, Pius Kiryowa and Muhammad Ssembajja.
She is the outgoing Bukoto East Member of Parliament. She has served for two terms as MP.
Ms Namayanja has served on numerous committees of Parliament, including Committe on Commissions, State Authorities and State Enterprises and committee on Natural Resources among others. She also served as a deputy mayor for Kampala City (2006-2011),
Namayanja promises to ride on her experience in local government and service in various capacities, to give the city dwellers good leadership.
Emmanuel Lwasa Kaweesi
He is a businessman in Masaka and the proprietor of Tarven Kick Discotheque-Kyabakuza, Lwasa Gardens and an entertainment firm known as Lwasa Events, among other ventures.
He was denied a chance to contest in the National Resistance Movement party primaries by the party secretariat on allegations that he lacked minimum academic qualifications.
Lwasa says he has heavily invested in the city and is fit to be the first mayor of the new city.
He is a businessman in Masaka City and husband of outgoing Masaka District Woman MP Mary Babirye Kabanda.
He says that owning a business in the city has helped him understand the challenges of the business community. He has promised to create a more favourable working environment.
Willis Bamwesigye Mbabazi
He won the NRM ticket after Lwasa was edged out of the party primaries.
His nomination to contest for city mayor surprised many city dwellers as he is not popular in the politics of the area.
Mbabazi studied Human Resource Management at Makerere University and currently engages in poultry and exporting dairy products to the neighbouring East African countries.
He says he is very connected to the ruling government and he hopes to work closely with President Museveni to develop Masaka City.
Mr Alfred Okwonga went through unopposed in the NRM primaries.
He is the proprietor of Gulu Institute of Nursing and Midwifery.
He is the owner of Layibi High school in Gulu and a commercial farmer in both Nwoya and Omoro districts
He contested in 2016 for Gulu mayor ship in Gulu municipality and lost to Mr George Labeja, who garnered 6,556. While Mr Okwonga got 5739 votes.
Mr Christopher Acire is the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) flag bearer. He is the former MP and mayor for Gulu municipality. He said Gulu City requires able leadership, especially from the Opposition party and proper physical planning so that upcoming developments are executed.
Mr Robert Mugabe, the Alliance for National Transformation (ANT) flag bearer, disclosed that he joined the crowded race because God has given him leadership skills that will enable him to give a solid foundation to the city.
He said he has traversed different parts of the world, a move that has sharpened his reasoning capacity as a leader and he is willing to build a solid team of leaders that will effectively run the city.
Mr Abukha Zeru Babel Ominawiny, (Independent), he is the director of Lands under the Operation Wealth Creation. He contested in 2011 for Nwoya County parliamentary seat.
Rocky Menya, (DP), is a former radio presenter.
George Aligech, (Independent) is the former chairperson of Gulu Municipal development Forum in Gulu city. He owns Northern Institute Business Studies.
JINJA MAYOR RACE
Mr Frank Nabwiso
The veteran politician, renowned scholar who represented Kagoma County in the seventh Parliament, says he wants to ‘make Jinja shine again’.
However, a section of Jinja residents are opposed to his candidature on account of his advanced age and alleged loss of political clout, having been out of active politics for over a decade.
“The question (about my age) is not very useful to me because the law allows any person above 18 years of age to stand as long as you have your Advanced Level certificate, so there is no age limit that can prevent me from standing. ” he said immediately after nomination last year.
He is a former police officer and the current Jinja Municipality NRM chairperson. In May 2018, he was arrested for allegedly deserting the Force.
The Kiira regional Police Spokesperson at that time, Mr Onesmus Mwesigwa, while confirming Mr Zziwa’s arrest, said they had been looking for him ‘for several months’ for deserting police yet he still received salary as an Assistant Inspector of police.
After recording a statement at Jinja Police Station, Mr Zziwa told journalists that he retired from the Force in 2013 .
On February 19, 2018, he wrote to the Jinja District labour officer complaining about “unfair suspension from duty” and “delayed conclusion of investigations into cases filed against him”, describing charges as “a violation of his rights, career and public service standing orders.”
Mr Kanusu was a staunch Uganda Peoples Congress (UPC) supporter is now contesting on the NRM party ticket.
Ms Grace Mary Mugasa (Independent)
She has been Hoima mayor since 2011. However, Ms Mugasa lost the NRM party primaries in September 2020 to Mr Brian Mugenyi Kaboyo.
Mr Brian Mugenyi Kaboyo (NRM)
Mr Kaboyo promises to transform Hoima City into a vibrant business hub. “The oil discovery presents a huge business opportunity for us. I will mobilise people to tap opportunities from the petroleum industry,” he said.
He said his programmes will focus on fighting poverty, advocating for the less privileged and improving the welfare of the people.
Mr Kaboyo claimed that he is lobbying investors from the UK to set up a specialised hospital in Hoima.
He is the first vice president of Kitara football club and has also been serving as head of protocol for the Omukama of Bunyoro Kitara. He said his programmes will focus on fighting poverty, advocating the rights of for the less privileged and improving the welfare of the people.
FORT PORTAL CITY
Edson Ruyonga Asaba (NRM)
He served for three terms as mayor of Fort Portal Municipality from 2001 to 2016.
Asaba who lost to the incumbent mayor, Rev Willy Kintu Muhanga in 2016, is now contesting for the fourth time.
Asaba is focus is to transform Fort Portal into a world-class city by improving on sanitation, drainage and health care systems, promoting tourism among other developments.
Rev Willy Kintu Muhanga (Independent)
He is the first Reverend Mayor to hold this post in Uganda and one of the youngest mayors.
He was elected as mayor for Fort Portal Municipality in 2016 and he is serving his maiden term in politics.
He has been instrumental in achieving the vision of Fort Portal becoming a tourism city.
He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Divinity and Theology and served as the chaplain of Rwenzori Diocese between 2009 and 2010. In 2011 he became a youth worker at Rwenzori Diocese . He later became the Parish priest for Kagote Church of Uganda and Kidukuru from 2011 to 2014.
Mr Sam Nyakua (NRM)
Nyakua (NRM) started his political career as a youth councillor in Arua District in 2006.
He later contested for the LC5 chairperson seat in 2011 and emerged winner.
He campaigned under the slogan O’bi Yima Atiboo (People’s servant).
Mr Charles Asiki (Ind)
Mr Asiki served two terms as mayor for Arua Municipality from 2006 to 2016 but chose to vie for the Arua Municipality MP seat on Independent ticket during the 2016 elections in which he failed.
During his tenure, Arua Municipality was voted as the cleanest town under the Small City Award in Africa.
He says he will improve the transport sector, promote agriculture and create more markets if elected mayor.
Mr Issa Kato (Ind)
Mr Kato came into the political limelight in 2016 when he contested as mayor for Arua Municipality on NRM ticket and won the race. He is a businessman in Arua town.
During the recently concluded NRM primary elections, Kato lost to Nyakua, but he decided to contest on Independent ticket .
Stephen Andama (Ind)
He is a senior citizen who has done businesses across Arua Town. He is passionate about transparency and accountability, a message that he used to reach out to the voters.
Denis Madira (FDC)
Mr Madira has been serving as a district councillor.
He says if elected into office he will improve electricity and water supply saying this will spur development of the city
Meanwhile two main challengers for both Nakasongola and Bukokomansimbi district chairperson seats have stepped down, just a day to the election.
Former Nakasongola District chairperson Mr Muruli Wandira, withdrew from the race citing the need to consolidate the NRM party gains in the district , while Mr Yiga Holix Muwonge, a Democratic Party flag bearer for Bukomansimbi District said he quit the race to enable the Opposition retain the seat.
Mr Wandira confirmed the withdraw of his candidature yesterday and urged all his supporters to rally behind the NRM party candidate to ensure that the party strengthens its capacity to deliver services to the people of Nakasongla District.
The Nakasongola District Returning Officer Mr Ambrose Anthony Musasizi said Mr Muruli had officially notified his office about his decision to quit the race.
Other candidates in the race include; Mr Sam Kigula, NRM , Mr Robert Musasizi (NUP) and Mr Patrick Kasenyera of the Form for Democratic Change (FDC).
Other candidates are, Andrew Mutebi, (Independent) Hassan Lukoda Ssewaya (Independent) and Huzairu Kimbugwe (FDC).
The Soroti mayoral race has attracted various candidates including Pascal Amuriat, (UPC) who holds a bachelor’s degree in International Business, Mr Michael Engunyu (NRM), the current LC5 chairperson for Soroti .
Other candidates are Joshua Edogu (FDC ) Peter Ojur (Independent) Francis Esudu Obonyo (Independent) Mr Larmbert Ebitu(DP) and NUP’s Elias Ejoku.
Compiled by Cissy Makumbi, Denis Opoka, Denis Omony, Geoffrey Okot, Alfred Tumushabe, Rajab Mukombozi Felix Basiime, Francis Mugerwa, Phillip Wafula, Bill Oketch, Patrick Ebong Malik Fahad Jjingo & Robert Muhereza