SIRONKO – The 2021 Budadiri East parliamentary race has now been clarified, with Mr Isaiah Sasaga Zagazaga as the Forum for Democratic candidate while Mr Woboya Vincent the NRM candidate.
Despite having many NRM leaning independents, this contest will be a two-horse race between NRM and FDC like it were in 2016.
Many political analysts and media commentators concluded after nominations that it would, indeed, be a two-horse race between Mr Sasaga and Mr Woboya and now argue that the independents could be wasting their time.
With NRM facing many independents who were dissatisfied with the results of the party primaries, the thorny challenge of the NRM is to overcome this and gather votes to take the race as FDC smiles to 14 January without friction..
There will not be an awkward situation such as we saw in 2016 with then DPC Sironko curtailing opposition agents from going to Bumasifwa sub-county where the NRM candidate comes.
But from the start the NRM leaning independents will be up in arms against their own whom they accuse of stealing the vote in the party primaries.
It ought to be noted that the 2016 parliamentary elections in Budadiri East brought to the political limelight a Ugandan public administrator and principal disaster manager; Mr Vincent Woboya.
According to pundits the 2016 election was characterised with scenes of violence, ranging from fist fights to wielding sticks, massive rigging, voter bribery, stuffing of pre-ticked ballot papers and other irregularities especially in Bumasifwa sub-county and beating up of people by police led by DPC Mr Moses Nanoka who is to the incumbent.
It is these events that helped the previously little known Woboya to controversially sail through this closely contested race by beating the incumbent Mr Isaiah Sasaga [FDC] to take the Budadiri East seat for NRM.
The results indicated that NRM’s Woboya garnered 19,034 defeating the incumbent [FDC] Mr Isaiah Sasaga who polled 17, 219 while Mr David Woniala, an Independent candidate [Now NUP] polled 4,813.
Although High court in Mbale presided over by Justice Andrew Bashaija threw Mr Woboya out of Parliament sighting failure to resign from the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) before being nominated, beating up of voters by police, massive rigging, stuffing pre-ticked ballots in favour Mr Waboya and for continuing to receive salary after retirement from civil service on May 10, 2015, Mr Woboya appealed the ruling.
But the High court in Kampala presided over the justice Steven Kavuma controversially maintained that Mr Woboya resigned and tendered in his letter to the secretary Public service as required by the law hence he qualified to be nominated for the MP seat.
This was done against clear evidence that although documents tendered in court showed that Mr Woboya retired on May 10, 2015, he continued to receive a salary up to December of the same year and that he received Shs12m, Shs14.5m, Shs10.3m, Shs1.8m and Shs1.98m in June from OPM to disseminate disaster management information in Kween, Sironko and Bulambuli districts.
Budadiri East in Sironko district votes NRM, but a December mini-poll done by PML Daily has courted unparalleled attention, with the campaigns ceasing to be about the NRM and spiraling into what have you done for the people in the constituency and to a larger extent, a measure of relevance nationally.
According to political pundits the January 14 General Election in Budadiri East is expected to be influenced by five critical issues: Finances, road network and the health of the people especially mothers.
Despite claims to the contrary, the contest is shaping up into a show of might between Mr Isaiah Sasaga [FDC] and Mr Woboya [NRM who also faces other NRM leaning independents like Mr Nakiyi Julius, Mr John Kiwungulo, Mr Godfrey Sasaga [Ingindongo], Mr Richard Masereje who all claim were rigged in NRM party primaries.
But as the candidates traverse the constituency in a last-ditch attempt to woo voters to elect them for the Budadiri East seat, here is why FDC’s Sasaga will take the Budadiri East seat in 2021even when because of crowded candidates, the future remains as clear as it is murky.
Mr Francis Maniaku, the Mayor Budadiri Town council says Mr Isaiah Sasaga was the only legislator who regularly attended district council meetings, engaged LCs as an ex-official.
“He would follow up on matters of the district council as an oversight role for improved service delivery that explained why Sironko district performed well at national level. This is what our MP Woboya has not done for the last five years,” said Mr Maniaku.
“We actually replaced him with a man who would not fit in his shoes,” added Mr Maniaku.
The NRM Party primaries
The battle for NRM primaries for Budadiri East was a kind of dress rehearsal for the 2021 elections; Mr Woboya controversially took the NRM flag bearer for the second time and is keen on using this to take the seat in January 2021 again.
It is true that the general elections campaign phase of the election cycle presents a completely different set of dynamics but faced with NRM leaning candidates who lost the party primaries, Mr Woboya has to rethink a new strategy that will see him through.
For Mr Sasaga, he did not face competitive primaries, he was subjected to less rigorous selection processes and will also meet others for the 14 January election but from a strategic perspective he faces vastly different challenges.
Mr Charles Wodida, a voter in Busiita sub-county and a seasoned politician says that in Uganda holding the party ticket in a dominant party context might be an advantage; it does not guarantee victory, or indeed an easy electoral victory.
“For FDC now meets a divided NRM and Mr Sasaga could take this race. There are four people who failed in NRM primaries who also want the same seat and all of them are NRM leaning which divides the NRM vote and gives the FDC candidate a chance,” said Mr Wodida.
He added shortly that five significant hurdles remain; How you market yourself, how you convince the people, how you relate with them, how much you put in them and the promises you make besides your past record as an MP.
Ms Margret Namono, a local woman leader in Kisikisi [Bukyabo sub-county] says that although it is known that parties are supposed to conduct their business in consonance with democratic ethics and values, NRM has failed on this several times especially during party primaries.
“That is why after primaries, the party comes out more divided than before and I think we need to find a way of harmonizing this across the country,” said Ms Namono.
She added that the NRM Party leaders often fail to significantly involve rank and file members in party decision-making processes and that this explains why many candidates who fail get back into politics supported by many people.
“Our party primaries are riddled with intrigues and never reflect the outcome of a consultative process within our party but rather a decision of a few people in power,” Ms Namono, an ardent supporter of NRM added.
Many political pundits this reporter talked to indicated that the NRM primaries were won by Mt Julius Nakiyi but that he was only cheated when the party failed to give him original declaration forms and his agents used exercise books that were rejected.
Mr James Mudeda, a voter in Bugube parish in Busulani sub-county says although he is an NRM supporter, he will vote Mr Isaiah Sasaga [FDC] on 14 January because NRM is confused and divided.
“How can you have four people contesting under the same party in the same constituency? We need to sort out this as a party because even President Museveni’s coming did not change anything,” said Mr Mudeda.
Mr Mudeda is not alone, there are many NRM supporters who have been divided by the party primaries and have vowed to vote for FDC’s candidate.
The NRM disappointment
Mr Woboya throughout his campaigns in 2016 promised to revamp the constituency road network especially in areas where the terrain is very poor, health, education and to continue sensitizing the people of Budadiri East to value education, lobby government to reconstruct the roads and help people know how to value government programmes and above all legislate for Budadiri constituency.
And although Mr Woboya has been in parliament for only one term, many people are disappointed that even the promises made are yet to be fulfilled and that he has been quiet in Parliament.
This disappointment has gone to the levels of people sending abuses whenever they see him and even denying him an opportunity to address them.
“Just a two days ago while in Bumalimba at store trading centre, police had to shoot live bullets, tear gas people after they refused to allow him speak to them,” said Mr Stephen Nambale.
Mr Nambale explained that the residents shouted, abused “Woboya you are a fraud, you fraudulently took Budadiri East NRM flag,” and advised that if NRM does not change the way primaries are conducted the elections will continue injuring many people in the party.
Mr Apollo Giboni, a voter in Bugiboni says he voted Mr Woboya but that he is disappointed that the services promised have not been delivered and that the people are ready to go with another person who will not make promises but deliver irrespective of whether he is voted or not.
According to political analysts, this they believe is one of the odds stacked against Mr Woboya because he made promises, was voted and has failed to deliver.
Mrs Monica Wambazu from Zesui says that throughout the five years, bridges have remained dilapidated, the roads have remained impassable especially those that go to the hill areas, their health system is so bad with no transport, schools have remained far with our children walking long distances down and up the hill to access education something.
“And out there we have seen several MPs buying ambulances for their people but Mr Woboya has not, so for me I will go with the man who has done something for us even when he is in FDC,” said Mrs Wambazu, who doubles as an opinion leader.
Voters across the divide allege that Mr Woboya has let them down, he has not accomplished his promises made in 2016 and have promised to go with the man who does not promise but delivers, FDC’s Mr Sasaga [Zagazaga].
Mr Woboya in the 2021- 2025 race now faces stiff opposition within the party from NRM leaning independents Mr Richard Masereje [Lawyer] Mr Julius Nakiyi [Accountant] Mr Godfrey Sasaga [Former director at Emigration] who failed in party primaries.
And yet outside these he also has a huddle of getting past FDC’s Isaiah Sasaga Zagaza and Mr David Woniala [NUP] on 14 January if he is to retain his seat.
Mr Biritiyo Makweta [Masaba sub-county], an opinion leader says that article 79 of the constitution provides for the main function of Parliament, which is: to make laws for peace, order, development and good governance of Uganda but we have not seen Waboya do this.
“And in addition, Parliament is expected to perform the roles of oversight and representation of the electorate; we have never got a feedback from Mr Woboya besides he has not consulted us in the last five years,” said Mr Mazune.
But Mr Woboya says that even with practical approach to development and delivery, he has delivered enough for the people of Budadiri East; “Look at the bridges in Butandiga, ladders in hilly areas of the constituency, look at the farm implements etc,” he adds.
“I think I need another term in Parliament to continue with the projects I started under the NRM government to benefit my people,” said Mr. Woboya
“Actually, I need another term to complete what I started and I am the right candidate for the people of Budadiri East because I am more than determined to save our mothers who move long distances to deliver, improve household incomes and help the youth to gain employment. This is what I am coming to do for my people besides other services,” Mr Woboya added.
Mr Sasaga’s chances
Mr Sasaga [FDC] is passionate about creating better relationships between leaders and citizens, whereby citizens are active in demanding better services and governance from leadership and authorities are responsive to these citizen voices.
He says he will focus on how accountable and will be responsive to his constituents by describing the issues prevalent in the constituency, ensure his promises are met and that he would use his projects on ground to ensure that he fulfills these promises.
Mr Abnel Sosogi from Busiita sub-county says although politics provides an arena for expensive politics of reward and promises, Mr Sasaga [FDC] has not betrayed them but even when he failed, he has fulfilled his promises.
He explained that the incumbent’s access to state resources is one of the many ways in which Ugandan elections are skewed against the opposition but that this time the voters are determined to go against NRM to vote a man who delivers.
“True, there is money being given out by NRM butt we shall stand with a man who has been with us on ground even when we get this money, we shall not vote for a person because he is NRM but because he delivers,” said Mr Sosogi
Ms Irene Nabutandiga says that besides other promises, Mr Sasaga has pledged to lobby for work on the local community roads to ease transport for expectant mothers and to table the demands for the local person in parliament besides tabling the issue of Mt Elgon land in parliament to help the people living around Mt Elgon area
“And this is what we want as voters in Budadiri East, any MP who does not give us his agenda like Mr Sasaga and only talks about the agenda of his party will definitely not go through,” added Ms Nabutandiga added.
Mr Sarah Negesa says although it is true that some media outlets and pundits are awash with excitement contriving to figure out whether Mr Sasaga [FDC], Mr Woboya, Mr Geoffrey Wanzira [Ingidongo], Mr Julius Nakiyi, Mr Richard Masereje or Mr David Woniala [NUP]s will take the seat come January 14, 2021 but Mr Sasaga stands out.
Mr Muhammed Nambadi, a local opinion leader and ardent NRM supporter says on the contrary, the contest is shaping up into a two horse race between NRM and FDC where Mr Woboya will still face his political nemesis Mr Sasaga of FDC.
Who is likely to win and why
Mr Sasaga stands a higher chance of taking the seat although he has a big hurdle to overcome his critics who think that the constituency being NRM, they would have loved to send an NRM candidate..
Riding on the theme “Service for my voters”, Mr Sasaga says he hopes to promote reconciliation, unity and provide effective leadership again for the people of Budadiri East and Sironko district at large.
“I pledge 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. I will carry on with the ideology to deliver services to the people in accordance with the FDC manifesto,” he said recently.
Mr Sasaga 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 Budadiri East constituency, good sanitation, good health and a cheap but quality education for all.
“I have schools here; secondary and primary. I have a vocational institute providing jobs for many youth and I want to promise that I will continue with this to ensure our youth whether NRM, FDC or NUP or any other party are given skills for self employment,” said Mr Sasaga.
Mr Sasaga says his agenda for people of Budadiri East remains mail primary maintaining the scheme feeding teachers in all teachers in all primary schools in his constituency, maintaining the education fund of Shs 50m for supporting the vulnerable children and providing learning materials to all candidate classes in all schools in his constituency.
“And besides I will continue giving bursaries to bright but vulnerable children in my schools,” said Mr Sasaga who faces his own brother former Mr Godfrey Sasaga, former director for citizenship and immigration at ministry of internal affairs.
He explained that for the unemployed youth, he started a vocational school in 2014 that will give education skills to women and youth in hairdressing, carpentry, vehicle/motorcycle mechanics, tailoring, Brick laying and building to make them job makers not job seekers.
As he lobbies for votes again, Mr Sasaga has promised to give a poultry project to his constituency for the benefit all women groups in the Budadiri East constituency and district at large in bid to improve house hold incomes for all families.
Mr Julius Nakiyi although an NRM leaning Independent says that over 75% of pledges Museveni made in 2016 campaigns while looking for votes in Sironko have been fulfilled but that while they wait for the other 20%, as an MP, he will also make his contribution to boost the party support in the district.
He revealed that the NRM party has delivered, Sigwa bridge at Butandiga sub-county through ministry of works, Tractor and other road equipment for road construction, motorcycles for Gisos, payment for our LCs, funds geared towards YLP and Uganda Women Entrepreneurship Programme (UWEP], settlement of landslide victims which is still ongoing, electricity has been extended to almost all villages among others etcs.
He said he would ensure that chicks are distributed to women and youth groups to enable them fight poverty at households and gain employment to make a contribution towards the district development.
Meanwhile Mr Richard Masereje says that Budadiri East has tried other roads to development and peace – the road of political jealousy and the road of political bigotry – and found them both equally misleading and that this is the time to change.
“It is now time to try the third, Mr Richard Masereje as the only road of scientific truth, the only road on which the voter is not deceived. I will do everything within my means to redirect my constituency and district towards the journey of development and prosperity; I will try to see everything exactly as everything is while serving my people,’ says Mr Masereje.
With the coming on board of Mr David Woniala [NUP], a former member of the Democratic Party, the campaigns are taking on a new trend.
Mr Woniala is also making promises; this means that like the others he understands that the main way to succeeding in elections is to make fantastic promises and a big group of the youth is clinging around him.
And indeed, on the campaign trail, Woniala is busy making all sorts of promises – better health services, better education; to build bridges and help empower women with entrepreneurial skills.
When PML Daily went across the villages, a few sensible people were asking what the candidates are going to do for them but most of the voters are asking for money.
The issues of road network, poor results at national examinations, resettlement of the land slide survivors and other people living in Mt Elgon landslide prone areas and issues of hard to reach areas access to Education and employment are key in this constituency.
Mrs. Sarah Gidudu from Nalugugu says the current MP Mr Woboya must face competition in order for him to know that he has done nothing, he has not delivered and that this will teach others a lesson.
“Mr Woboya came into power under NRM, after defeating FDC but throughout his reign we have regretted why we even voted NRM because FDC was delivering well,” said Mrs Gidudu.
Ms Jane Nakayenze from Zesui says the MP is expected to relay concerns from their respective constituencies to the house; it’s what the representation role entails but that their MP Mr Woboya has not done this.
“We are aware that MPs are required to participate in Committees, attend plenary sittings and any other Parliamentary activities and during the plenary, Members present the views of their constituents through raising issues of national importance, presenting petitions (present grievances and seek solutions), lay reports and debate them but our MP has let us down,” says Ms Nakayenze, a voter.
But Mr Elidad Gibusiwa [Bumasifwa] is different; he says people expect a lot from MPs and that MPs also make mistakes in promising many things they can’t do and that is what leaves many voters disappointed.
“I know Mr Woboya, he is a good man but what changed him I think is becoming a politician. True, he made promises and these have remained on paper but I believe he will do them once given another term,” said Ms Gibusiwa.
Mrs Olivia Namakolo says he will vote Mr Woboya irrespective of what he has done because he helped transport her to Mbale when she was stranded with a sick child.
But the district NRM chairman Mr Suleiman Lumolo says that although the district is still suffering the same diseases things like poorest road network, poor performance in National Examinations, can give solutions to this.
“Look at our NRM manifesto for our candidate president Museveni, it focuses on many of these and to get these we need to vote President Museveni, vote NRM flag bearers across the district,” said Mr Lumolo.
Mr Lumolo condemned hate speech and asked those involved to tame their language if parties have to operate in a safe political environment and tame inter-ethnic conflicts.
He added that he is aware that some MPs have not delivered but added very quickly that the NRM party has delivered and that it should be looked at as a successful government.
Mr Lumolo urged the voters this time to be more confident in pointing at the critical issues that they would want their prospective leaders to address adding that previous civil-political engagements have been misled by the fallacious concept of the leaders defining the citizens’ priorities.
Political pundits think that the coming of Mr Masereje, Mr Nakiyi, Mr Godfrey Sasaga as NRM leaning independents in the race complicates the race for Mr Woboya and could make Budadiri East one of the toughest political races to watch come 2021.
Summary of previous election results, number of voters past and current
The results indicated that NRM’s Woboya garnered 19,034 defeating the incumbent [FDC] Mr Isaiah Sasaga who polled 17, 219 while Mr David Woniala, DP candidate polled 4,813.
Who is facing who in Budadiri East
-Mr Isaiah Sasaga Wanzira aka Zagazaga [FDC]
-Mr David Woniala [NUP]
-Mr Woboya Vincent [current MP, Incumbent]
-Mr Richard Masereje [Lawyer, consultant [NRM leaning Independent
-Mr John Kiwingulo [NRM leaning independent]
-Mr Julius Nakiyi [Accountant] new entrant [NRM leaning Independent]
-Mr Godfrey Sasaga [former director for Citizenship and Immigration] [NRM leaning independent]