MASSIVE CIVIC ACTION AS 75% OF RWENZORI LEADERS LOSE NRM POLLS

By John Murungi Amooti, 6.Nov. 2015

The simmering agitations by the citizens had for quite some time been envisaged -but the biggest question had been ‘when would it translate into civic action’- but it did; as nearly all but few incumbent leaders scrapped through the bruising and gruesome NRM Party Primaries, held late October, ostensibly ending their tenure as holders of their respective offices beyond their current term-as it is nearly impossible for anybody outside NRM to win elections in the region where the party boasts over 85% support

The biggest upset was recorded in Bundibugyo where all the incumbents, including state minister Kamanda Bataringaya lost the NRM flag to new comers-some even political novices without any history of political leadership. For instance the incumbent LC V chairperson lost to little known Mutegeki Ronald, who was until recently a junior civil servant. In Bughendera County new NRM Kid on the block and Rwenzururu Prince Taban Christoper Kibanzanga Mbalibulha trounced the incumbent MP Mate Kiregeye to carry the flag.The Woman MP Ntabazi suffered defeat at the hands of Josephine Babungi. Minister Bataringaya lost to a one Mbusa Richard.

In neighboring Ntoroko the citizens seemed to have gotten wind of the winds of change in their mother district of Bundibugyo as they also sent their under-par performing, but youthful MP Martin Bahinkuka Mugarra parking-bringing on board another young lad Rwemulikya Gerald Iguma. The race between the two young titans had at some point gotten acrimonious with the incumbent accusing Rwemulikya of being Congolese and therefore not qualified to become MP in the Ugandan Parliament.Rwemulikya was however cleared by the authorities after showing proof that he was indeed a Ugandan

In Kyenjojo district, save for Minister Aston Kajara, who is also poised for a very tough race in the February 2016 polls, against former law school friend, now turned nemesis James Byamukama, the incumbent LC V chairperson, all the other Members of Parliament lost. Byamukama will be standing as an independent candidate in the February 2016 polls. David Muhumuza of Mwenge North lost to a new comer Lawrence Akugizibwe while the Woman MP Lyndah Timbigamba returned a distant third ,in a race won by former woman MP, Joyce Kwebiha aka Maama Mission

In Kabarole, incumbent woman MP Victoria Rusoke was shown exit by young Turk Sylivia Rwabwogo in a crowded race that had over 5 women candidates, while Burahya MP Stephen Kagwera came a distant third in a race won by a resurgent Margaret Muhanga who made a comeback after 5 years in political limbo, having been trounced in the 2011 polls by Victoria Rusoke for the Kabarole District woman seat

The losing streak did not spare Kamwenge District as incumbent LC V Chairman,Robert Kamasaka was shown exit by a one Aggrey.The same happened in Kitangwenda County where Nuru Byamukama lost the flag to his perennial rival Agaba Abasi

While in Bunyangabu County,Kabarole, Local government Minister Adolf Mwesige got it late after being saved from the ignominious hand of defeat with a block vote from the mountainous areas of Katwebwa Sub county after running neck-to –neck with surprise package Dr.Vincent Womujuni in the other sub counties. A dissatisfied Womujuni has since vowed to return as an independent candidate in the February 2016 polls

Other shocking defeats were in Kyegegwa District where all the incumbents lost to new entrants, including the extremely eloquent Flavia Rwabuhoro who surrendered the flag to former Kyegegwa District Finance Officer, Stella Kiiza. In Kyaka, the incumbent Kwemara was not spared either, as he lost to new NRM convert Counsel Jackson Kafuzi for the Kyaka South constituency. Incumbent LC V, Norman Birungi who made attempt to shift to the newly created constituency of Kyaka North came out of the race bruised in defeat  as little known Paul Asaba carried the flag

Meanwhile in Kasese District, unconfirmed reports indicate that the incumbent Municipality MP, Mbahimba is on a suicide watch after selling most of his properties to fund his campaigns, only to lose to former Kasese District Chief Finance Officer, Ferigo Kambale.

A cross section of citizens this Newsletter talked to, revealed that they voted the way they did to vent their anger onto the leaders for failing to deliver on key areas of service delivery

‘After failing to get the required services, I felt it wise to vote a new person. Also, the incumbent LC V did not do much to reconcile the people of Bundibugyo in the aftermath of the acrimonious July 14th attacks that pitted the Bamba against the Bakonzo’ says Meshach a native of Bundibugyo but currently working with an NGO in Fort Portal town

Byansi Denis of Bugaki Mwenge shares in this view. ‘Our woman MP, Lyndah Timbigamba has not delivered to our expectations. You can even gauge from the results (Lyndah trailed in 3rd place behind Mama Mission and Baguma Spelanza). It was a protest vote over service delivery ‘

However another cross-section of citizens attribute this changing tide to the work of Civil society who have created platform for citizens to put their leaders to account for their time in office and how far they had gone in fulfilling citizens aspirations

KRC Supported Citizens Forums like the one above have helped rise civic consciousness in the Rwenzori region.Most leaders who lost in the NRM primaries have blamed their losses on such sensitisations by the Civil Society

KRC Supported Citizens Forums like the one above have helped rise civic consciousness in the Rwenzori region.Most leaders who lost in the NRM primaries have blamed their losses on such sensitisations by the Civil Society

Some of these initiatives include the Citizens Manifesto and the Civic Education projects by KRC in partnership with its partners. The projects have since inception over 4 years ago created hundreds of community platforms(Neighborhood assemblies and Face the Citizens Rallies) where leaders face-off with their electorates and give accountability on their electoral promises

Indeed some leaders who lost in the primaries have already heaped blame onto Civil Society for having ‘incited’ citizens to demand for services lest they don’t vote the leaders again

For instance while appearing on a KRC FM radio talk-show recently Hon Emanuel Tugume,the Sub County Councilor for Kasenda-who lost the NRM flag to his political rival Gideon Ruta revealed that his loss was orchestrated by the massively sensitized citizens who kept demanding for lots of services from him-and yet despite his lobbying at the district his requests were not honored due to budgetary constraints

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