KAMULI – Speaker Rebecca Kadaga has been Kamuli district Woman MP for over two decades and Kamuli voters seem not to have had enough of her. However, unlike previous contests, next year’s election seems to be sending shivers down her spine and she has muzzled all her efforts to retain the seat she has occupied since 1989.
Speaker Kadaga will first fight off State minister for Lands Percis Namuganza for the position of second vice-chairperson of the National Resistance Movement (NRM) and thereafter engage Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) iron lady Salaamu Musumba and People Power’s Bridget Babirye for the Kamuli district Woman MP seat.
In a press conference held in Jinja and broadcast on all radio stations in Busoga sub-region on Saturday, speaker after speaker hurled insults at Speaker Kadaga’s challengers, calling them ungrateful.
“Mama Kadaga has done a lot for Busoga sub-region and standing against her is tantamount to betrayal of Busoga sub-region,” said Titus Kisambira, the chairperson of Jinja district.
Bugabula South MP Maurice Kibalya took a swipe at what he termed as detractors that are working hard to undermine Busoga sub-region.
“We the Basoga have accepted to be used to undermine our own. Whoever emerges as a shining light in Busoga is pulled down using none other than the Basoga ourselves,” Kibalya said.
Moses Grace Balyeku, the MP for Jinja West urged all Basoga to canvass votes for Speaker Kadaga. Balyeku the proprietor of 87.7 BABA FM, a local radio station based in Jinja, said he has given free airtime to Kadaga and her campaign team on his radio.
“Please nobody should contact the Speaker asking for airtime on radio in Busoga sub-region. Whoever wants airtime to campaign for Kadaga should call me,” Balyeku said, adding that as radio proprietors in the region, they are considering denying airtime to those challenging Kadaga.
Majid Dhikusooka, the Namayingo deputy Resident District Commissioner (RDC), urged President Yoweri Museveni to reign in on those who want to dethrone Speaker Kadaga.
“When Odrek Rwabago gave Gen. Mataya Kyalogonza sleepless nights in the previous election, President Yoweri Museveni reigned in and told Rwabogo to respect his elder and step down. He should do the same and reign in on Namuganza to step aside for Kadaga,” Dhikusoka said.
Dhikusoka also doubles as the NRM deputy chairperson for Jinja district.
Kadaga in her address lauded Busoga leaders and residents for the support and pledged to continue helping the region to scale greater heights.
She rubbished rumours of delaying government takeover of the defunct Busoga University, adding that she contributed a lot to its presence in Iganga district.
“People say that I wanted to take the university to Kamuli. That is not true. I only asked the government to give us another university in Kamuli. There is no problem with having two universities in the region,” Kadaga said.
She appealed to Busoga leaders to camp in Kamuli and help her trounce her opponents if they believe in what she has done for Busoga sub-region.
“If you believe in what I have done, you can camp in Kamuli and canvass for me votes,” she said.
But a section of NRM youth in Busoga have blamed the elderly of keeping the party hostage.
“They should come out clearly and tell us that the party is for the elderly and we find where to seek sanctuary. You can’t have a party that undermines the youth,” said Musa Talenga, the NRM youth councillor for Luuka district.
Speaker Kadaga is expected to battle veteran politician and former Bugabula MP Salaamu Musumba and People Power’s Bridget Babirye for the Kamuli district Woman MP seat, with the tough race expected between Kadaga and Musumba.
The resources Musumba has directed into the campaign to dislodge Kadaga are overwhelming sending tongues wagging that mafias could be funding her campaigns. There are also unconfirmed reports that Shs2b has been mobilized to ensure that Kadaga is defeated.
President Museveni recently met Speaker Kadaga with the four top politicians Kadaga had accused of fighting her. The four are deputy speaker Jacob Oulanyah, NRM secretary general Justine Kasule Lumumba, govt chief whip Ruth Nankabirwa and state minister for urban development Isaac Musumba.
In the heated meeting, Kadaga allegedly blamed the quartet for fighting her and sponsoring candidates against her. But Musumba in a veiled response accused Kadaga of intrigue and basing on rumours.
Isaac Musumba is husband to FDC’s Salamu Musumba and he has severally campaigned against her in polls, the most recent being in the Kamuli Municipality by-election in 2017 where he chose to campaign for Rehema Watongola over his wife.