RUKUNGIRI – For many years, Rukungiri District has been a stronghold of the Opposition Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) party.
The district, which is home to FDC strongman Dr Kizza Besigye, has largely been voting opposition candidates down from LC1 to LC5 and Members of Parliament. In 2018, NRM lost a bye-election in Rukungiri in spite of deploying all its resources in the area. The army and police made a strong presence. Many NRM’s big guns from the district and the secretariat camped in Rukungiri. President Yoweri Museveni also visited the district twice; on the first visit donated 500 motorcycles, 25 Fuso trucks, seven tractors, 20 commuter taxis and high powered woodwork machines; on the second visit, he campaigned energetically.
Yet NRM’s candidate for Rukungiri District Woman Member of Parliament, Winnie Matsiko, got 46,000 votes against FDC’s Betty Muzanira with 50,000 votes.
Therefore, Rukungiri is FDC through and through.
However, this could in the 2021 elections after two top party leaders contested results of the party primaries. They are Ms Ingrid Turinawe and Winnie Joseline Babihuga, who
The Chief Mobilizer of FDC, Ms Turinawe, has rejected the results of the party primaries for the Rukungiri Municipality MP seat and said she will contest as an independent candidate.
Ms Turinawe and the incumbent MP, Mr Roland Mugume Kaginda, lost to Dr Warren Tumwine Nuwagaba in the hotly contested FDC party primaries on Tuesday.
But Ms Turinawe said the election was marred by massive rigging, alleging that Nuwagaba bribed voters with between Shs400,000 and Shs500,000.
Turinawe adds that she cannot back a candidate whose victory is questionable.
“I left NRM because I hated election of salt (bribery), I am worried if this is the trend, and Museveni shall come and stand in FDC and defeat us there. You told me I am able and capable but I had no money, we must defeat this. This is not the FDC we started,” Ms Turinawe complained.
Ms Babihuga, who lost to the incumbent Betty Muzaniira for the Rukungiri Woman MP seat, also announced she will contest on the independent ticket.
Babihuga who once served as the District Woman Member of Parliament in 1996-2001 said that she was asked by her supporters to contest.
Virginia Kyarugahi, Rukungiri District FDC party Chairperson says that the decision of Turinawe and Babihuga will weaken the party’s support in the area.
Nathan Nandala Mafabi, FDC Secretary-General says that any FDC member who will contest as an independent candidate or support independent candidates will face disciplinary action.
Last year, political parties through the Inter-Party Organization for Dialogue (IPOD) drafted a proposal barring candidates who contest and lose in political parties from contesting as independents. Leaders of political parties argued that the regulation will end confusion and divisions that candidates plant in political parties when they run as independents.