NATIONWIDE – The bigger they are the harder they fall, said former American heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson when asked to talk about the men who dared face him in the boxing ring. Mike Tyson was indeed smaller than the majority of the men he faced in the ring but the way he felled them like a man cutting down a tree reminds one of how easily little unknowns and in some areas massive underdogs trounced powerful ministers in the National Resistance Movement (NRM) party primaries.
From West Nile to Central, East and western Uganda, the story was similar and the crescendo could be heard across the horizon with ministers being floored and left on the canvass gasping for breath. While in some areas the ministers took defeat gracefully and dropped their armor ready to fight another day, in some areas, they let failure get to their heads throwing tantrums while others drew out their rifles. PML Daily brings you these ministers and why voters decided to call time on their political careers.
Anite thrown out
Investment minister Evyline Anite lost to Dr Charles Ayume in the battle for Koboko Municipality. Dr. Ayume who has been working with the State House Health Monitoring Team for the last 16 years is son to distinguished former attorney general Francis Ayume. He rode on his State House connections and his father’s legacy to dethrone minister Anite. Majority of the voters saw him as the true replacement of his father who served as speaker in the late 1990s.
But Anite famed for warning age limit detractors in 2018 to tread carefully assuring them that ‘they (government) had the magye’ is not taking the loss lightly and has threatened to petition President Yoweri Museveni, alleging that the Opposition in Koboko infiltrated the poll in favour of Dr Ayume. She claims Koboko voters want a re-run with a clear voters register but political analyst Dr Samuel Kazibwe compared Anite’s tantrums to the last kicks of a dying horse, adding that the petition will not yield anything.
Minister Rukutana shown exit
Minister for Labour and Industrial Development Mwesigwa Rukutana has been defeated by former legislator Naome Kabasharira in the battle for Rushenyi County, in a contest that turned chaotic when Mr Rukutana grabbed a gun from one of his bodyguards and shot two people who were rushed to hospital in critical condition. It has since been reported that Mr Rukutana and his three bodyguards will face charges related to inciting violence, attempted murder and malicious damage. Formerly a government critic, Rukutana became MP in the 1994 Constituency Assembly election. He later stood for MP in 1996, but was defeated by the late John Kazoora in a hotly contested election. Mr Rukutana won the by-election in 1998 and has since been at the helm of the constituency. However, in the NRM primaries held on Friday, he was trounced by Ms Kabasharira. The later boasts of fulfilling key development projects for Rushenyi and other areas in Ntungamo. She has championed education, including having Kampala-based elites to head major schools’ management bodies. Her support for maternal health and health infrastructure development and sports promotion as Ntungamo Woman MP in 2011-2016 endeared her to the public.
Anti-Kadaga ministers pay heavily
The State Minister of Karamoja Affairs, Moses Kizige and his counterpart the State Minister for Urban Planning Isaac Musumba have lost in Bugabula North and Buzaaya county respectively. Their loss is related to their frosty relationship with Speaker Rebecca Kadaga who is a darling of Busoga region.
“They saw it coming, in Busoga you cannot survive politically if you fight Mama Kadaga,” said former Buteleja Resident District Commissioner Gulume Baraino.
Recently, Kizige owned up to a letter he penned against Speaker Rebecca Kadaga and declared he is ready to lose his seat in Kamuli district. Kizige confirmed that the letter was indeed sent to President Yoweri Museveni, who decided to exercise fair hearing by inviting all leaders from Busoga.
“I may lose elections despite what I have done for Busoga, but future leaders shall be saved,” Kizige said.
This followed Kadaga’s revelation on Kamuli Broadcasting Service radio that Kizige and other leaders from Busoga region wrote a dossier against her and took it to State House. The Speaker added that she dismantled all the 13 points before Museveni, who is also the chairman of National Resistance Movement party, when she was invited to State House.
Relatedly, Musumba who is husband to Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) strong lady Salaam Musumba has always accused Kadaga of ‘believing in rumours so much’ something that has made her to support Martin Muzaale against him (Musumba). It is Kadaga’s favourite Muzaale who has trounced Musumba in Buzaaya county.
It remains to be seen whether Percis Namuganza who recently battled Kadaga for the NRM vice chairperson Female seat will retain her Bukono county seat. Elections in Bukono county were called off by the NRM electoral commission chairperson Tanga Odoi following the killing of one of the agents of minister Namuganza.
Minister Elioda beaten
Science and Technology Minister Dr. Elioda Tumwesigye has been defeated for the Sheema Municipality flag by former Commissioner for Customs at the Uganda Revenue Authority Dickson Kateshumbwa. Dr Tumwesigye joined the August House after the July 27, 2018 by-election in which he defeated Ms Plan Virginia Mugyenyi of the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC). Kateshumbwa recently donated sanitary pads to girls, distributed food items to vulnerable families, and fenced the matooke market and gave Kiziba Muslim community a water tank.
In Kitgum Municipality, Environment State Minister Beatrice Anywa was trounced in the NRM primaries. While reacting to her loss, FDC president Patrick Oboi Amuriat said,” About 95 per cent of the constituencies where people have become hostile to the FDC party that made them, the citizens/voters are not taking them lightly.” Before joining the ruling NRM, Beatrice Anywa was a renown critic of President Museveni and her battle to save Mabira Forest in 2009 made the public to give her the moniker ‘Mama Mabira’.
Mary Karooro Okurut loses
Ms Mary Karooro Okurut is the Minister of General Duties in the Office of the President. She also doubles as the Woman MP for Busyenyi district. She lost to Annet Tusiime Mugisha, wife to Dr Silver Mugisha, the Managiong Director of National Water and Sewerage Corporation.
Adolf Mwesigye falls
Mr Mwesigye is the Minister of Defence and Veteran Affairs and represents Bunyangabo county in Bunyangabo district. He has lost his bid to defend the Bunyangabu county parliamentary seat on the National Resistance Movement-NRM party ticket. He lost the party flag to his rival, Davis Kamukama. Kamukama polled 22,445 to defeat the incumbent who polled 18,067 votes.
Experts speak out
In an interview with PML Daily, Henry Kasacca, a political analyst attributes the ministers’ defeat in the NRM primaries to the increasing young population that needs change.
“The chances that they will lose are high and the determination to violet the rules will be high as well,” he says.
Dr Musa Muwagga, a lecturer at Kampala University, says the country will see more ministers lose in the coming general election.
“When they attain the ministerial position, they ride on the pedestal and forget the masses. Many more ministers will fall in the coming general election,” Dr Muwagga said.