BUYENDE – The Budiope East MP seat is arguably one of the most competitive not only in Busoga region but the entire country. The race features moneybags Moses Magogo who is up against incumbent MP Geofrey Dhamuzungu. Magogo, who is the current Federation of Uganda Football Association (FUFA) president, is watering the ground with huge sums of money never seen before in this remote part of Busoga sub-region and is slowly but surely suffocating Dhamuzungu who captured the seat in 2016 after defeating Sulaiman Balyejjusa Kirunda (NRM) in the NRM primaries and subsequent general election..
This website has learnt that Magogo donated bicycles to all LC1 chairpersons in the constituency, gave motorcycles to the police stations of Irundu, Gwase and Kitukiro and bought two ambulances; giving one to Budiope East and one to neighbouring Budiope West. He has also reportedly been paying school fees and buying scholarlastic materials for many bright but vulnerable children, given high-breed goats to widows and single mothers and donated motorcycles to priests and reverands in the constituency. He also donated a box of soap to every family in Budiope East as part of his Covid19 response.
But Dhamuzungu’s supporters point out that Magogo is a stranger in the area who is only using money to buy his way into the hearts of the voters.
“He only lived in the area as a toddler and partially studied at one of the primary schools before disappearing for good around 1987 only to surface recently with the desire to represent us in Parliament,” said David Mutebe, a resident of Kagulu.
Mutebe wonders where the propertied engineer has been all along and says he cannot abandon Dhamuzungu, a son of the soil who has been with the residents through thick and thin. He says Dhamuzungu has compensated his lukewarm performance in Parliament with presence on the ground.
“He put aside Shs50,000 as condolence fee for whoever losses a dear one. He also bought a public address system, chairs and tents to be used by residents during burial ceremonies,” Musoke said.
The others vying for the NRM party flag include; Sulaiman Balyejjusa Kirunda, David Takozekibi and Mustapha Kalwaza but the real battle, according to political observers, is between FUFA President Magogo and incumbent Dhamuzungu.
Supporters of the two rival candidates have of recent turned rowdy and fist fights and canes have dominated the last stretch of the campaigns between the two candidates. With just two days left to the highly anticipated polls, it remains to be seen whether incumbent Dhamuzungu will weather the storm and survive Magogo’s onslaught.
Budiope East comprises six sub-counties which include Kagulu sub-county, Irundu Town Council, Irundu sub-county, Bugaya sub-county, Gumpi sub-county and Ngando sub-county.
Dhamuzungu hails from Ngando sub-county while Magogo comes from Kagulu sub-county. Budiope East has a population of about 222,400 people and about 77,500 voters, according to statistics from the Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS).