The ruling National Resistance Movement ((NRM) will not have a flag- bearer in Mawogola North constituency in Sembabule District after the party's highest organ, Central Executive Committee(CEC) rejected President Museveni’s brother, Mr Godfrey Aine Kaguta aka Sodo who was initially declared victor.
Both Kaguta and his contender Shartis Musherure Kutesa were on Friday afternoon nominated as independent candidates by Sembabule District electoral commissioner registrar, Ms Barbra Mulimira.
Mr Kaguta picked a bicycle as his campaign symbol while Ms Kutesa, a daughter of foreign affairs Minister Sam Kutesa, chose a ball. During the September 30 hotly contested party polls in the constituency, Kaguta garnered 17,343 votes (46.3 percent) while Ms Kutesa got 16,104 votes (42.1 percent). However, Kutesa contested the results claiming the election was marred by wide-spread vote rigging and some of her supporters were systematically disfranchised.
Moments after nomination Mr Kaguta said he still regards himself as the party flag bearer even when his victory is shrouded in controversy.
“The intention of those who challenged our victory in the party election tribunal and later CEC was to dampen our spirits but we are not shaken. The people of Magowola North who voted for me are still alive and I will defeat them again,” Mr Kaguta said.
Ms Kutesa said she could have carried the party flag but her victory was snatched from her.
She hailed the party election tribunal for taking a bald decision, saying the glaring irregularities that marred the elections could not give a win to Mr Kaguta.
“We have decided to come the way we are because CEC observed that there is no time to repeat elections. It [CEC] decided that no one should be given the flag because primaries were not free and fair,” she said.
When contacted, Mr Emmanuel Ddombo, the director communications at NRM Secretariat, said CEC members were busy with party activities and could not make a final decision on the matter.
“It is true all CEC members were busy in party activities. For example Hajj Moses Kigongo, the party vice chairman was in Nyabashozi to supervise elections and the Speaker Rebecca Kadaga was in nominations. So, because of their failure to sit, it was imperative for aspirants to beat the deadline and get nominated without endorsement of the party,” Mr Dombo said.
Other candidates nominated for Mawogola North include; Salim Kisekka( Ind ), Moses Lyazzi (FDC), Nyanzi Mawejje (NUP), Catherine Nakayiza(Ind) and Ismail Wagaba (Ind) .
In the neighboring Lwemiyaga County, where the incumbent Mr Theodore Ssekikuubo defeated State Minister for Works, Ms Joy Kabatsi in primaries, the latter also claims she is the genuine NRM flag bearer.
"I am not coming as an independent candidate. I am an NRM candidate only that the NRM flag was stolen by someone who is not even an NRM member. I am here therefore, to secure our NRM flag," she said.
She accused Ssekikubo of using the police and army to intimidate her voters and forcing them to line up behind his agents.
But Ssekikuubo said: "Joy Kabasi is a minister in this government and therefore higher in hierarchy which gives her more capacity to control the security forces that she claims I used to defeat her. This is someone that has been losing elections whenever she has tried. At one time I supported her and some of us were even dismissed from NRM because of supporting her," he said.
The outspoken legislator also criticised the party for failing to hold a rerun in Mawogola North.
“Party members made their choice, and if there were irregularities as claimed, a rerun could have cured that rather than leaving people in suspense,” he said.