Uganda: Kyotera NRM chief backs Opposition

Mamos Media

Left to right: Kyotera Woman MP Robinah Ssentongo, Kyotera County parliamentary aspirant John Paul Mpalanyi, and Mr Patrick Kintu Kisekulo during the launch of their joint campaigns in Kyotera District on November 26. PHOTO/GERTRUDE MUTYABA

By AL-MAHDI SSENKABIRWA & By Ambrose Musasizi

Mr Patrick Kisekulo, the Kyotera District chairperson, has opted to campaign alongside Opposition politicians ahead of the January polls.
Mr Kisekulo, who is seeking a second term was defeated by Mr Charles Lubega Ziriddamu in the recent National Resistance Movement (NRM) primaries.

Mr Ziriddamu scored 29,648 votes against Kisekulo’s 14,068 votes.
Mr Kisekulo and a section of other disgruntled NRM members have since teamed up to de-campaign Mr Haruna Kasolo, the State minister for Microfinance, who is also Kyotera County legislator and the Kyotera District NRM chairperson, who they accuse of using his influence to frustrate their political ambitions.

Mr Kasolo is contesting against Mr John Paul Mpalanyi of Democratic Party (DP), Godfrey Kirumira (National Unity Platform), Adam Tebajjwa (Jeema), Selegious Ndarike( Ind) and Livingstone Ssali (Ind) for Kyotera County parliamentary seat. 
“He [Kasolo] is the district party chairperson, but if you disagree with him, he fights hard to fail you politically. So, we cannot continue working with such a person,” Mr Kisekulo said during an interview yesterday.

Other candidates vying for district chairmanship include Charles Ssekabira of Forum for Democratic Change (FDC), Muhammad Muwonge (NUP) and Charles Zimaze Muwawu (Ind). However, the real competition is between Mr Kisekulo and Mr Ziriddamu. Mr Ziriddamu says winning the NRM party flag increased his chances of defeating Mr Kisekulo in the general election.
“The NRM structures Mr Kasolo has built in the last 10 years still exist and will help me win this position with a relatively bigger margin,” Mr Ziriddamu says.
He adds: “Mr Kisekulo has messed up everything and that is why he has decided to work with the Opposition, which has no clear agenda for our people.”

Mr Ziriddamu is a former district councillor for Kalisizo Town Council and previously served as Rakai District speaker before Kyotera was carved out of the district.
He served as Kyotera District interim chairperson for months until elections were held in September 2017, where he lost to Mr Kisekulo, who was the then NRM flag bearer   .
Since he became district chairperson in 2017, Mr Kisekulo, who was initially a good friend of Mr Kasolo has been clashing with the latter over running the district affairs.
This came after Mr Kisekulo learnt that Kasolo was grooming Mr Ziriddamu to take up leadership of the new district.

In May last year, both Mr Kisekulo and Mr Kasolo disagreed on how to utilise Shs540m government had sent to the district.
Although Mr Kisekulo claimed the money is meant to facilitate the ongoing construction of the district headquarters, the minister insisted the money should be spent on other projects in the sub-counties of Kasaali, Kirumba, Kabira, Nabigasa and Kalisizo Rural.

Mr Kasolo is credited with pushing for the creation of the district three years ago, and this allegedly explains his influence.
The bickering between the minister and the district chairperson recently delayed the passing of the district budget with a section of councillors saying the projects being fronted by the minister were not included in the draft.

Mr Kisekulo keeps persuading voters to support Opposition candidates at every rally.
“I am NRM and I love my party, but some of our leaders here have pushed us against the wall. They are pushing for personal interests rather than serving the party,” Mr Kisekulo said.
At a rally in Kyotera Town last month , Mr Kisekulo asked for forgiveness from Opposition for having been part of the group that has been tormenting them during campaigns. 
“Our people here vote their leaders basing on individual merit. There’s no way they can give room to incompetent people to mess up their new district,” Mr Kisekulo says.

“Take the example of Gamba-Minziiro road, it was impassable before and there were no successful businesses going on, but my leadership fixed it,” he says.
 Kyotera District NRM coordinator  Magdalene Nassolo, who also fell out with Mr Kasolo says Mr Mpalanyi is the right replacement for him .
“For the period I have seen Mr Mpalanyi, he is a focused leader and I implore you to send him to Parliament and help our area get to another level,” he said. 
While launching his campaigns last Thursday, Mr Kasolo said those decampaigning him within NRM are enemies of the party and urged voters to ignore them. “Political failures [Kisekulo and group] cannot unseat a focused leader  like me and I ask voters to treat their words with the utmost contempt they deserve,” he said.
Mr Monday Lugumya, an opinion leader in Kyotera District, says the area used to be an Opposition stronghold until early 2000.

“Unlike Rakai (Kooki) and Kakuuto, which have always been supporting the government in power, Kyotera was for Opposition until a time when some leaders here became greedy for political offices and NRM took over them ,”  he says
He cites the sub-counties of Lwankoni, Kalisizo Rural and Kyotera Town Council that used to be led by DP members.
“So, if any Opposition party fails to reclaim such slots in the forthcoming election, then it will be difficult  for them to build structures to reclaim their stronghold ,” he says. 

Mr Muwonge says despite being new in politics, he is committed to serve the people.
“The poor service delivery in my district has forced me to come forward and contest for district top seat, we want change,” he says.
Ms Juliet Naluwugge, a voter in Manyama Village, Lwankoni Sub-county, said she will vote for a candidate who has a clear plan to improve the road network, health facilities and provide clean water.

“The incumbent has done quite well in the past three years and if he convinces us, he will retain the seat,” she says.
Currently, majority of the leaders in Kyotera including MPs are NRM. Apart from the district Woman MP seat currently occupied by Ms Robinah Ssentongo (DP), the other two constituencies Kyotera and Kakuuto are represented in Parliament by NRM legislators. 
However, the current political wave spearheaded by Kyadondo East legislator and NUP presidential bearer Robert Kyagulanyi, alias Bobi Wine, has  re-energised the Opposition.

About Kyotera
Kyotera District is among the new districts that became operational on July 1, 2017. It was carved out of Rakai District.
According to Uganda Bureau of Statistics, the district has a population of 261,000 people and a total of 203,000 people are living in villages.

In the 2017 by-election, Mr Kisekulo won by 19,481 votes, Mr Ziriddamu (10,692 votes), Tom Darlington  Balloja of DP (10,080 votes) and independents Joseph Kaggwa Lubega (1,482 votes), Anthony Mugerwa (476 votes) and Gerald Sekwe ( 233 votes).

Source Daily Monitor.

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