JINJA — From Prof. Yoweri Kyesimira to former vice-president Specioza Wandira Kazibwe, Kigulu South constituency voters have never disappointed when it comes to sending their best sons and daughters to the August House and as the clock ticks to the 2021 elections, PML Daily looks at the race for Kigulu South county and the key issues likely to determine the voting pattern.
A total of six candidates have so far expressed interest in representing the county famed for its highly intense and competitive contests characterized by violence and mayhem. They include Patrick Kayemba aka Gavamukulya, former legislator Milton Muwuma, Incumbent MP Andrew Kaluuya, all from the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) party and FDC’s Musa Bulagala.
Kayemba, the current Iganga district chairperson, is a seasoned politician who claims he has achieved whatever he set out to achieve as district chairperson and wants to serve the people of Kigulu South and the entire country in another capacity.
“I assumed the office of district chairperson when civil service jobs had price tags. You would hear that a primary school teacher pays Shs3m to get a job while a graduate had to part with between Shs5m to Shs6m to acquire a civil service job. I have since eliminated this kind of corruption and promoted meritocracy in the district,” Kayemba says.
Bosco Musenze, a primary school head teacher in the district concurred with Kayemba, saying the veteran politician helped to stop the sale of jobs.
“Kayemba stopped the selling of civil service jobs, making it easy for someone without money but with the requisite qualifications to get a job,” Musenze said.
Noah Isanga, a voter from Namungalwe, says Kayemba is most suited for the job because of the experience he has acquired through serving in various positions right from district councillor.
“Kayemba brings into the contest all the requisite experience and he is also a proven political demagogue with ability to articulate issues. He is a good candidate for a ministerial position if the Kigulu South voters give him a chance,” Noah said.
Kayemba’s powerful rhetoric laden with analogies has endeared him to the masses who had hitherto dismissed him and wanted him to serve again as the district chairperson.
“If you marry a wife and she fails to give birth for a whooping ten years and she admits that she has indeed failed to fulfill her marital duties and brings her sister to help her and the sister also fails, is it logical for the former wife of ten years to come back and say I have come to try again,” Kayemba says, in what seems to be a direct attack on Muwuma who served as MP for 10 years and later threw his weight behind Kaluuya.
But Kayemba’s toughest challenge is against former legislator Muwuma who was defeated in the NRM primaries by veteran politician and NRM cadre Asuman Kyafu and opted to throw his weight behind Kaluuya who stood as an independent candidate in the February 2016 general election.
Kayemba’s view is also echoed by other voters who claim that Muwuma showed them a successor and that it is unbecoming of him to turn around and challenge the same successor he brought forth.
“After a decade in office, he showed us a successor and we went ahead and voted for him. Now he is the very person coming to tell us the very person he showed us is a bad MP, we cannot accept this treachery,” says Bumali Waiswa, a voter and resident of Nampirika.
It should be noted that after a bruising NRM primary that saw Kyafu defeat Muwuma, the later complained that the poll was marred by irregularities. Kyafu had earlier told voters, during the campaign trail, that he needed only three votes to sail through as NRM flag-bearer and the allegation that ballot boxes had been stuffed with ballot papers only served to ‘prove’ to Muwuma and his voters that indeed Kyafu had lived to his word.
Kyafu’s victory was consequently cancelled by the NRM electoral commission and fresh voting was conducted in which he again defeated Muwuma. The defeat worsened the already fragile relationship between the two political titans and attempts by the NRM secretariat to reconcile the duo were futile as the vanguished Muwuma fully threw his weight behind independent Kaluya.
“The elections were marred by irregularities and as an NRM ideologue I had to respect the party’s decision not to run as an independent but I couldn’t support an election thief,” Muwuma said.
Marriage of convenience
This website has since learnt that Muwuma sensing danger from the unpredictable NRM primary reached out to Kaluuya who was also fighting for the NRM party card and convinced him to pull out of the race so that he lets the two titans charge at each other with the assurance that if he (Muwuma) lost or is cheated in the NRM primaries, he would throw all his weight behind Kaluuya.
Kaluuya accepted the bargain and the duo went at each other in what is arguably the most violent campaign ever witnesses in Busoga sub-region since the battle between Abdul Katuntu and Kirunda Kivejinja in 2006.
With the full backing of Muwuma, Kaluuya went ahead to defeat Kyafu with 18,490 votes against Kyafu’s 14,802 votes. Kyafu conceded defeat despite saying that the election was not free and fair, adding that his supporters were locked up, beaten and denied access to polling stations. Kyafu who served as Iganga district chairman for two terms from 2001 to 2011 has since bowed out of elective politics, saying it is full of intrigue.
In an interview with PML Daily, Kaluuya says he wants the people of Kigulu South to give him another chance to represent them in Parliament.
Kaluuya who has since crossed to the NRM party from Independent says he has offered bursaries to a number of students in the constituency and has also lobbied funds for the county.
“I am educating over 300 students from primary to university in different institutions and I want to be given time to accomplish what I have already started on,” Kaluuya said.