KAMPALA. The opposition Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) has found itself between a rock and hard place as it battles to retain its bastion which also doubles as the home for the party’s former presidential candidate Dr Kizza Besigye.
The Kyadondo East Parliamentary seat fell vacant after court nullified the election of Apollo Kantinti on grounds that the electoral commission faulted election guidelines. Following the High Court ruling that threw out Katinti, treatment Robert Kyagulanyi, website like this aka Bobi Wine, expressed interest in running for the seat and consequently threw his hat in the ring when the Appeals court maintained the High Court ruling that called for a by-election in the constituency. The musician-cum-politician has since drawn gigantic crowds only seen at presidential campaigns. Other contenders in the race include Nkunyingi Muwada, a lawyer, and NRM’s Sitenda Sebalu, among others. Sebalu lost to Katinti in the February 2016 election by only 14 votes.
FDC big wigs root for Katinti
Bobi Wine had passed off as Besigye’s preferred candidate because of his association with the FDC honcho and four-time presidential candidate in the recent past. In an interview witha local newspaper last week, Dr Besigye was quoted as saying that he supports the party candidate but will be in business if Kyagulanyi wins. Besigye’s statement that went viral on social media was seen as Dr Besigye’s endorsement of Bobi Wine’s candidature.
Indeed, the musician’s stakes have been increasing until last Sunday when the party’s big wigs joined the campaign trail in support of the party’s official flag-bearer. The FDC stalwart, a resident in the constituency, joined Katinti alongside party president Gen. Mugisha Muntu and secretary-general Nandala Mafabi. Many political pundits think that by failing to reach a consensus, the party is playing in the “enemy’s hands.” Dr Besigye also seems to be facing a serious dilemma; supporting FDC flag-bearer Katinti as multi-party democracy dictates or supporting Kyagulanyi, who seems to be the more popular candidate thanks to his illustrious music career.
What the voters say
Ethan Kabanga, a voter in the area, is confident NRM can’t win the Kyadondo East parliamentary seat despite the division in the Opposition camp. He says Bobi Wine stands a higher chance of winning the coveted seat. However, Dan Muliika, also a voter in the area says Bobi Wine still needed more time to grow politically in the party structure.
“The crowds you see are not Kyadondo voters, they come for entertainment and showbiz,” he says.
John Ssekabira, on the other hand, warns against underestimating the ruling party in the race for Kyadondo East.
“The NRM has got the man power and resources to pull a surprise move in this race. It should not be looked at as an underdog,” says Ssekabira.
His assertion is not far-fetched as PML Daily scouts have learnt that NRM big wigs, who include secretary general Kasule Lumumba and Treasurer Rose Namayanja, are reportedly combing the 52 villages in the constituency with a major aim of overturning FDC’s fortunes.
Besigye endorses Kantinti
Meanwhile, on Sunday, Dr Besigye boosted Kantinti’s fledgling fortunes in the Kyadondo by-election with his endorsement at his rally, attracting a mammoth crowd. Kantinti would get further boost when Bobi Wine’s former protege and ‘vice-president’ of the Firebase Crew, Buchaman, showed up to campaign for him. Buchaman fell out with Bobi Wine years ago and tried a solo career that did not work out well.