Kampala Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago yesterday unveiled his re-election bid and said he will not be shaken by his opponents in the 2021 General Election.
Since he formally crossed from Democratic Party (DP) to the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) in July, Mr Lukwago had not publicly declared his intention to seek re-election for Kampala mayoral seat.
Shortly after he dropped his DP membership card, there have been speculation that FDC would field him to run against President Museveni for presidency. But later, it became clear that Mr Lukwago was not in the bidding, after FDC chairperson Wasswa Biriggwa and party president Patrick Amuriat were the only aspirants, who picked nomination forms for presidential flagbearer.
Addressing a gathering at his residence in Wakaliga, Rubaga Division in Kampala yesterday, Mr Lukwago described himself as the ‘shield’ of Kampala against the ‘dangers’ that threaten the city residents.
“I want to tell you that I will not be shaken. I have refused to sell off the city to Mr Museveni. I am sure he feels my weight and pressure and I don’t think that is easy for anyone to do,” Mr Lukwago said. “I will serve as your shield against oppression. Even when people scoff at me, I am happy that I am the people’s shield against corruption and theft of public resources of the city,” he added.
The lord mayoral race has attracted several candidates, who include Mr Joseph Mayanja, alias Chameleone, and Mr Daniel Kazibwe, alias Ragga Dee, in his second attempt following the 2016 defeat to Mr Lukwago.
The Kawempe North legislator, Mr Abdu Latif Ssebaggala, from the National Unity Platform (NUP), and former Kampala Central Mayor Godfrey Nyakaana have also expressed interest in Kampala’s most coveted seat. However, Mr Lukwago bragged that none of them will stand a chance against him.
“I want to warn all those trying to come [against me] that I am a bull-dozer whose tremors will not spare you. You should know that this is a rocket and it has taken off. The office of Lord Mayor is run on the rule of law and accountability,” Mr Lukwago boasted.
Mr Lukwago said: “My vision for Kampala is to have a planned, inclusive and liveable city, where people from all walks of life thrive. I will work towards eliminating impunity and ensure the city is run on a functional system.”
He also pledged to protect the interests of people in the informal sector, which he said constitute majority of Kampala’s population.
Opposition chief whip and also the spokesperson of FDC, Mr Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda, said the Opposition should unite so that the Kampala mayoral seat is not lost to the ruling party-- National Resistance Movement under President Museveni.
“We are at war with Mr Museveni and his agents. Mr Museveni sometimes works through people who will profess to be on the same side when they are not. So we want to warn everybody that we have fought this war for years, we cannot abandon it,” Mr Ssemujju said.
He said the Opposition has to ensure Kampala is kept under the Opposition grip if their political challenge against President Museveni is to yield dividends.
“Kampala is not a local issue, that is why the President has declared his war to recapture Kampala because you cannot settle in the State House when you don’t have Kampala. That is why Mr Museveni does not like Mr Lukwago. The reason he doesn’t want him is that he has prevented him from taking over Kampala,” Mr Ssemujju said.
He added: “So I want to invite everybody irrespective of your political background to support Mr Lukwago. Kampala is important to our struggle to get rid of Museveni’s dictatorship.”