MBALE – The 2020 NRM primary parliamentary elections in Bududa district brought to the political limelight a young, previously unknown social scientist, Mr Moses Mukhobeh Khaukha.
The 36-year-old Mukhobeh who contested in NRM primaries beat the RDC Kumi Mr Kato Matanda, Mr Abdu Mutange to emerge as the official NRM flag bearer.
In the 2020 NRM primaries, Mr Mukhobe beat his closest rival Mr Kato Matanda by about 8287 votes, having polled 13920 against Mr Matanda’s 5633.
Mr Mukhobeh will now face National Unity Party’s Mr Nambeshe; a man who has chosen to go against his own party [NRM] in the 2021 parliamentary elections.
Mr Nambeshe has already declared his intention to contest for Manjiya constituency seat after spending five years mired in the depths of NRM politics.
The ongoing purge in political parties in Uganda is precipitating bad talk both in social media and in normal circles that is likely to see the ruling NRM government use police to orchestrate a campaign to frustrate other parties in 2021 parliamentary.
But a new viable opponent, Mr Mukhobeh is keen to highlight the incumbent’s political baggage from a long career as an NRM insider – and tar him as out of touch with the mainstream of modern politics because he has joined NUP.
“And for me, it is a situation of a man who instead of appreciating the hand that fed him just bites it. Mr Nambeshe should have shown appreciation to NRM for helping him go to parliament rather than going against the party [biting it],” said Mr Mukhobeh.
Mr Nambeshe ran away with the seat in 2016 with a promise of salvaging the rural people in Bududa [Manjiya County] from poverty, improving social service, especially in public health, and fighting for the welfare of the common man.
Mr George Tsama, an elder in Bududa and ardent NRM supporter says there is going to be an audit of his progress in that direction at the next polls in 2016.
“Mr Mukhobeh has schools and other community projects that have helped many local people and this explains why the people voted for him overwhelmingly. Nobody could match him, he has provided for people especially during this Covid 19 season and the people are just rewarding him for his generosity,” said Mr Tsama.
Mr Nambeshe had set ambitious targets to transform the lives of women in Bududa and so they never examined him having been an NRM flag bearer, they just let him go through as their MP without questioning.
The year 2021, will mark exactly five years of that political milestone but like other people across the political divide across the country, Bududa voters are taking stock of progress and asking apart from shouting and going against the NRM party to what extent promised reforms have been implemented.
They are also examining why progress has been limited in Bududa and are seeking ways to overcome the obstacles by voting in another candidate loyal to NRM and have found this in Mr Mukhobe who has portrayed himself as a man who turns things around.
“It is true that when voters realize elected leaders aren’t addressing their concerns about social and economic inequality, it leads them to distrust institutions and this produces a “sense of disempowerment and disillusionment,” a local UPC politician Mr Polycarp Natsami, an ardent supporter of president Museveni says.
As ease among NRM leaders continues to bubble under the surface with accusations pointing at Mr Nambeshe for backstabbing Mr Mukhobe calling him his supporter has made the campaigns spawn an angry and disillusioned populace, something that is likely to cost Mr Nambeshe his support even Busai.
Ms Sylivia Namwano, an ardent supporter of NRM from Bukibokolo says that an MP has the most important responsibility for respecting national values and principles of governance, including – critically – good governance, integrity, transparency and accountability.
“Mr Nambeshe apart from shouting at President Museveni, changing to People Power [NUP] has failed to demonstrate respect for the people, bring honour to the constituency and dignity to the constituency. And most importantly, he has had no responsibility to serve the people but he has ruled them”, we no longer need him, we need someone who is going to work with the government, to lobby for us,” said Ms Namwano.
Although there is no reliable poll yet, chances are that Mr Nambeshe has largely lost most of the adoring Manjiya constituency masses that came out in 2016 to propel him to electoral victory, but are now disillusioned and campaigning for the Mr Mukhobeh, the official NRM flag.
Mr Mukhobeh has already indicated that he is coming as a savior to provide services the people of Bududa have missed since 2016 under the theme “Service Delivery for all” to take my people to the promised land “Twende Canan” Biblical meaning ‘Let us go to Canan’
Mr Mukhobeh now referred to as “Papa umutsakhi, uwekamatsima” loosely meaning ‘the father who goes out to bring for the children, the father of the truth’ across the political divide in Manjiya constituency.
The soft-speaking social scientist, director of Hands of Action Uganda a local community-based organization in Bukibokolo Bududa district, previously unknown, Mr Mukhobeh came into political limelight in 2020 and he took the NRM primaries with a promise of salvaging the rural woman in constituency and Bududa district from poverty.
It is clear that the battle for the NRM flag 2020 in the constituency turned into a dress rehearsal for the 2021 elections, as NRM wants to retain the seat while the new people power party [NUP] has fronted Mr Nambeshe to take the seat away from NRM.
Despite claims to the contrary, the contest is shaping up into a show of might between NRM [Mukhobeh] and his political nemesis Mr Nambeshe, the incumbent and a man who has crossed from NRM to NUP.
As Mr Mukhobe traverses the constituency in his ditch to woo voters to elect him for the constituency in 2021, here is why he will take the Manjiya constituency seat.
Mr Mukhobeh, is currently the red hot favorite to clinch the Manjiya constituency seat on the NRM in Bududa, especially because of his projects that have given him a lot of support from the voters and according to political analysts, this they believe is one of the odds stacked against Mr Nambeshe because he made promises, was voted and has failed to deliver.
Mr Peter Wenwa, a voter and opinion leader in Bukirimwa hints at Mr Mukhobeh as being an asset to Manjiya County and Bududa district and adds that “A vote for him is a vote for local person in Bududa’s development,”
Mr Mukhobeh throughout his campaigns is promising to revamp the constituency road network especially in area where the terrain is very poor, health, education and to continue sensitizing the people of Bududa to value education, lobby government to reconstruct the roads and help people know how to value government programmes and above all legislate for Manjiya constituency.
On various platforms across the divide, Mr Mukhobeh stands out; although most rallies have been halted by the Covid-19-induced ban on meetings and social distancing decree, he has been able to meet the constituents well.
Who is likely to win and why
Mr Mukhobeh stands a higher chance of taking the seat although he has a big hurdle to overcome his critics who insist he is still young.
Riding on the theme “Service for all, Twende Canan” Mr Mukhobeh says he hopes to promote reconciliation, unity and provide effective leadership again for the people of Manjiya constituency and Bududa at large.
“Although we ought to pay allegiance to my country plus my NRM party, I ought to provide the best service to my people, the people who vote me and the people who have made me. This is what I believe in,” he said.
“My people belong to NRM, they have voted me as NRM and this is party my president belongs to, he is the chairman of the party, this is the line I am going to tour, we all ought carry on with the ideology to deliver services to the people in accordance with the NRM manifesto,” he added recently.
With the scales suddenly tilted in his favour, Mr Mukhobeh plans a charm offensive tour of the constituency next month that promises to be full of goodies, including launching various key projects aimed at boosting his influence.
But Mr Wanyoto insists that he is charting a new way that many didn’t.” I’m starting a revolution, they may have just stood assuming people would like them for the sake of it but mine is a targeted campaign, it’s not just about putting my name on the ballot but about delivering for my people,”
Mr Mukhobe has promised to create employment opportunities for the youth and women in the district by teaching value addition, ensuring the people have access to clean water across the Manjiya constituency, good sanitation, good health and a cheap but quality education for all.
Voters in Manjiya constituency say that before his term of office as an MP, Mr Mukhobeh has already started a quality Shikhuyu Nursery, primary and secondary schools in Manjiya that are already providing quality education to the children.
Opinion leaders across the divide say this is the type of MP they need, you don’t come to ask for a vote before doing anything but start doing and then ask for a vote.
“And this is what helped Mr Mukhobeh win the NRM flag bearer he has a school that gives bursaries to bright but needy students across Manjiya constituency and for us, this is where we need to be rather than merely shouting about NUP,” said Mr Wilson Kuloba, of Manjiya constituency.
As he lobbies for votes again, Mr Mukhobeh has promised to give a poultry project to benefit all women groups in the Manjiya constituency and district at large.
“I promise to support women’s ability to build a financially and economically sustainable environment through setting up profitable enterprises by targeting specific vulnerable women in the constituency,” said Mr Mukhobeh
Mr Mukhobeh said that over 80% of pledges Museveni made in 2016 campaigns while looking for votes in Bududa district have been fulfilled but that while they wait for the other 20%, as an MP, he is also going to make a contribution to boost the party support in the district.
He explained that his plan for the constituency is to empower girl-child through Education to be able to stay in school and postpone marriage, to empower farmers through sensitisation to add value to Coffee and other agricultural products before selling it and to improve storage and marketing.
Declaring his concern over unemployed young people gone astray in his constituency, Mr Mukhobeh has promised to launch an “empowerment” drive to help those “who can still be saved” by acquiring new self-help skills.
“I promise to build vocational skills for marginalised youth Bududa to advocate for skills as an important factor to improve young people’s transitions to decent work and to highlight the crucial role of skilled youth in addressing today’s most challenging issues,” said Mr Mukhobeh.
He revealed that through his Hands of Action Uganda project he has set up necessary information, skills and services to enable youth make uniformed decisions that will protect their lives, sexual and reproductive health and education for their bright future.
I am determined to build the capacity of communities to deal with their own problems and development through promoting skills and capacities of communities and their members.
He said he would also work with his party, the ruling NRM party to reduce the maternal and child mortality rates by providing timely transport for expectant mothers and the sick to access medical facilities and providing mama kits to all expectant mothers.
He revealed that besides the traditional roles of an MP, he would go an extra mile to regulate policies that would help his people by traditional checking and evaluating their relevance to the common man.
“I would also do appropriation and budgeting because I know that the budget is passed every year but how much is used to benefit the local person down in my constituency,” said Mr Mukhobeh.
But Mr Nambeshe who previously commanded a lot of support from the youth is also keen to start from where he stopped.
Although in NUP and seems to put Mr Mukhobeh’s chances of going to parliament at stake, the ground is getting harder and harder as many voters remark.
“We expected a lot from Mr Nambeshe but apart from shouting and changing parties from NRM to NUP and dividing people, he is likely to reap from what he has sown. Bakisu Baloma Bari Kamarofu Kapa ukasunga, Kasya khupa umwene, loosely meaning that [the Bagisu say that the bananas will always hit the man who hangs them up],” said Mr James Namukhono, an opinion leader, NRM ardent supporter and voter at Bududa district.
Mr Stephen Wamoto also a voter at Nanyerere Primary school in Manjiya constituency says despite being held in high regard within the national politics as a good speaker, Mr Nambeshe will nonetheless go down in the books of history as a politician who betrayed his people, and a leader who knew what needed to be done but still chose to look the other way.
Mr Wamboko has promised to give money to women groups for income-generating activities, he promised to distribute sewing machines and to lobby for programmes that will benefit the disabled across the district.
“It pains when we see our children failing examinations and nothing tangible is done to improve. This is what we want improved to fight illiteracy,”
Mr Nambeshe however says he will lay down a programme of action for health and social services, Agriculture and poverty alleviation.
“I will lay down a programme for the youth and I think that there is a need to find simple alternative sources of income for the people of Manjiya county and Bududa as a district,” said Mr Nambeshe.
Mr Nambeshe said she intends to invest in poverty eradication, an area she believes the government has failed to deliver.
“I will establish low-income generating activities, like poultry keeping, bricklaying to fight household poverty among women and youth,” Mr Nambeshe adds.
Mr Nambeshe says the people of Bududa under NRM party have been used for long and that he believes that man is a reality, mankind an abstraction and that the people of Bududa cannot be treated as units in operations of political arithmetic.
“And I want to say that the will to win, the desire to succeed, the urge to reach my full potential are the keys that will unlock the door for me again in Manjiya County,” said Mr Nambeshe.
Mr Kituno Peter Wamboko [Lawyer] another contestant says Bududa has suffered because of NRM politics and he has pledged to unite all people on the road to development and fighting poverty.
As he joins the race for a second time, Mr Wamboko has promised to lay down a programme of action for health and social services, Agriculture and poverty alleviation.
For now, it seems a race between NRM’s Mr Mukhobeh and NUP’s Mr Nambeshe but this is dependent on the outcome of the petition thrown in by Mr Kato Matanda, the former RDC Kumi who might decide to join the race as an independent. Ends
Who is Mr Mukhobeh?
Mukhobe is the Brain behind the Hands of Action Uganda projects that are empowering lives of the People of Bududa District.
He is a social worker, founder Executive Director of Hands of Action Uganda a local community-based organization in Bukibokolo Bududa district that oversees the running of different programs, policy analyst, strategic planning, and resource mobilisation specialist.
Under Hands of Action Uganda programme is also Orphans and vulnerable Children, Child support, development programming with over 2000 children and over 52 staff that include the following;
Shikhuyu Needy and Nursery Primary schools
Shikhuyu Secondary School of Excellence
Mt. Elgon Clean Energy
Hands of Action Response Team
Hands of Action Community Library
Hands of Action Green Garden
Hands of Action Sewing Center
Bududa Bulls Football team
Bukibokolo women Savings groups
Bududa Hands of mercy Project
Hands of Action Medical support Project
Hands of Action Savings and Credit SACCO
Hands of Action Bakery