SHEEMA – President Yoweri Museveni is today Thursday expected in Sheema District to campaign for the NRM party flag bearer, Dr Elioda Tumwesigye, ahead of the Sheema Municipality MP election that has been hit by accusations of violence and intimidation against supporters of FDC party candidate Virginia Plan Mugyenyi.
According to a press release by NRM communications officer Rogers Mulindwa, the President is expected in Sheema at 10am before heading to Ibanda Municiplaity in Ibanda District to campaign for the party flag bearer, Mr Tarsis Bishanga Rwaburindoore.
According to Kayaman Kahindi, the NRM publicity secretary in Sheema District, the President, who is the national party chairman, will campaign in Kihunda, Kagango Division.
The President’s campaign plans comes hot on the heels of violence that dominated the Wednesday campaigns when FDC supporters and Ms Mugyenyi’s campaign managers were attacked and beaten up by people allegedly sent by Dr Tumwesigye’s camp.
According to the Mugyenyi camp, Wilson Bamwesigye, who is leading the FDC campaign task force in Rushozi Division, and Charles Byaruhanga Charles were seriously beaten up at Katwe, Kyabandara, as they returned from Rushozi where they had a campaign on Wednesday. Tusasirwe Emmanuel, who attempted to record the events, was also beaten up and his phone vandalised. Bamwesigye, who is supporting Ms Plan yet he is NRM, is said to have suffered a fractured leg.
The FDC camp alleged that operation to beat up the people is led by Ashraf Rweyeshera, the presidential political mobiliser for western region.
Attempts to speak to Rweyeshera were futile were futile as his telephone went unanswered. However, Kahindi blamed the FDC supporters for starting the violence, alleging that they were interrupted the NRM candidate’s rally as he campaigned at Katwe, Kyabandaara.
According to Kahindi, Bamwesigye and other FDC supporters attempted to disrupt the NRM rally as they returned from theirs in Kashozi. He said the NRM supporters were provoked to beat up their FDC counterparts. The NRM publicity secretary also dismissed claims that the FDC were seriously injured.
Seven candidates in the race for the election that will take place on July 27. They are Ms Mugyenyi (FDC), Dr Tumwesigye (NRM), and Independents Mesarch Katusiime, Ambrose Mwesigye, Jonas Tumwine, Raymond Akankwasa and Ben Ruyombya.
The election is now hotly contested, with senior FDC leaders such as Buhweju MP Francis Mwijukye and secretary for mobilization Ingrid Turinawe camping in the area to campaign for Plan. Former Rwampara county MP Vincent Mujuni Kyamadidi, who recently crossed to FDC, is among those who are aggressively canvassing support for the FDC candidate.
Dr Kizza Besigye, Maj. Gen. Mugisha, Eng. Patrick Amuriat Oboi, FDC vice chairperson western region Roland Kaginda, FDC vice chairperson eastern region Salaam Musumba and secretary general Nathan Nandala Mafabi have all campaigned for Ms Mugyenyi.
On the otherhand, Prof. Ephraim Kamuntu, the Minister of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities and MP Sheema South, and Senior Presidential Advisor in Security Mr Chris Rwakasisi are the high profile people that have been canvasing support for Dr Tumwesigye. On Tuesday, Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda was in Sheema also canvassing votes for Dr Tumwesigye, who is also the minister of science, technology and innovation.
“You are not the only people who need Dr Tumwesigye. President Museveni needs him, NRM needs him and science, technology and innovation needs him. I worked with him as minister of health, he was minister of state for health; he did excellent job under my leadership. No wonder it was because of that excellent performance that President Museveni after he had promoted me to Prime Minister he looked around and said the obvious choice for the next minister of health is Dr. Elioda Tumwesigye,’’ said Dr Rugunda told the NRM district conference.