BUGIRI. The Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) and Justice Forum (JEEMA) will each front its own candidate in the Bugiri Municipality Parliamentary election after protracted negotiations seeking to have a joint flag-bearer broke down.
JEEMA president Asuman Basalirwa and FDC’s Eunice Namatende have been jostling to be fronted by the Opposition fraternity as their joint candidate but each will now fight on his own with other candidates in the race.
According to FDC party president Patrick Oboi Amuriat, Jeema officials did not turn up for several meetings aimed at reaching a consensus over the matter, with the latest being on May 17.
“JEEMA decided to abscond from the meeting even when we waited for them for the whole day. We have now decided to name our flag-bearer and we are not apologising to any one for the decision taken,” Mr Amuriat said at the party headquarters in Najjanankumbi in Kampala on Monday.
He added that Jeema only attended the first meeting on May 9 but shunned the subsequent ones.
In response, Ms Namatende pledged to win the seat even without the support of other Opposition parties.
“I am not in war with anyone, I am here to campaign and take what the people of Bugiri will have chosen. I am aware of those who want to always manipulate the people but I would just like to assure my supporters that we shall work together to root out this vice. The people of Bugiri want someone who works for them and I have been there with and I am here for them,” she said.
Efforts to reach Mr Basalirwa by press time were futile but he had earlier insisted that he would also win without FDC’s support.
The country is likely to witness a replay of Kyadondo East by-elections which saw the Opposition sharply divided between Robert Kyagulanyi (BobiWine) and Apollo Kantinti. Kyagulanyi won the Parliamentary seat. He got support from Democratic Party and some FDC members. The entire FDC leadership backed Kantinti, who was fighting to retain the seat.
In 2016, Mr Basalirwa, a senior lawyer, vied for the Bukoli North parliamentary seat but lost. However, he had garnered the highest number of votes in Bugiri Municipality which has been carved off Bukoli North, which gives him a big chance.
Inside sources in FDC believe that Mr Basalirwa also enjoys the support of some party members, especially those loyal to former president Mugisha Muntu. He also enjoys support among DP members.
Ms Namatende and Basalirwa will face off with several other prominent politicians in the district, including former Bugiri District chairperson Siraje Lyavala and Fred Okecho both from the National Resistance Movement (NRM). NRM is yet to decide on who will run for the post after their primaries failed to take place last week.
Bugiri Municipality, which was curved from Bukooli County has four Wards namely; Naluwerere, Nkusi, Ndifakulya and Bwole – with 27 Villages in total. The election is set for June 19.