SHEEMA – Army and police officers have deployed heavily in Sheema Municipality ahead of the hotly contested Friday election.
On Thursday evening, truckloads of soldiers and police officers were seen offloading their weapons and other equipment at Sheema District headquarters.
When contacted, police spokesperson Emilian Kayima justified the heavy deployment, saying, “Sheema is one of the tricky areas; security is here to ensure that every one votes peacefully.”
Although there are seven candidates in the race, the stiff competition is between NRM’s Elioda Tumwesigye and FDC’s Virginia Plan Mugyenyi. Other five candidates on Independent ticket are Benjamin Ruyombya, Ambrose Mwesigye, Jonas Tumwiine, Meshach Katusiime and Raymond Kamugisha. Mr Abel Kahara (NRM) and Mr George Tumwebaze (Independent) are the contenders for the mayor seat.
There are 48,175 registered voters and they will vote from 76 polling stations. The district Returning Officer, Ms Deborah Asiimwe, said voting materials were delivered on Wednesday and received in presence of the candidates.
Speaking on behalf of Ms Mugyenyi, the MP for Buhweju Mr Francis Mwijukye said: “We are used to heavy security deployment, we are not intimidated; we will handle.”
The NRM district registrar Mr John Kateshumbwa, speaking on behalf of Dr Tumwesigye, said the party will win genuinely.
Although the district is a traditional NRM supporting district, the crowds being pulled by the FDC candidate have raised eyebrows among NRM supporters.
FDC top shots such as Secretary for Mobilization Ingrid Turinawe, Buhweju MP Francis Mwijuke, former MPs Oddo Tayebwa (Bushenyi-Ishaka Municipality) and Vincent Mujuni Kyamadidi (Rwampara) have all camped in the area, drumming up support for the party candidate.
Former Presidential candidate Dr Kizza Besigye, Lord Mayor Elias Lukwago, the Leader of Opposition in Parliament Ms Winfred Kiiza, the party president Eng. Patrick Amuriat, Maj. Gen. Mugisha Muntu and MPs Mubaraka Munyagwa (Kawempe), Betty Muzanira (Rukungiri Woman), Rolland Kaginda (Rukungiri Municipality), Nandala Mafabi, FDC president Eastern region Salaam Musumba and Maj Gen Amanya Mushega have all campaigned for the party candidate.
On Monday, the party pulled off a massive crowd as tens of thousands of people gathered at Kabwohe playgrounds to listen to Dr Besigye and a cohort of other opposition leaders as they campaigned for Ms Mugyenyi.
The opposition messages have been consistent; the NRM government is worse than the previous regimes and residents of Sheema municipality should demonstrate this by voting out the NRM candidate, Dr Tumwesigye.
However, the NRM district party vice chairman, Eng Yorokam Katwiremu, Insists that Sheema people have never supported opposition and therefore FDC will not win.
“FDC will not win this election because they do not have support that is why they have been telling you that this election is not about parties but rather a cause. Which cause are they talking about? This election is about the parties, nobody should lie to you; NRM members follow the party constitution and we are the majority which means that we shall win. Even if FDC does what, they will not win this election because Sheema has never supported opposition and we still have support and if you need services, you must stick to NRM,’’ he said at Kibutamo trading center Kashozi Division.