President Yoweri Museveni scored a comfortable 88.7% votes in Kisoro district in the 2016 presidential election, highly above the national percentage of 60.75%. All the Members of Parliament in Kisoro are also from the ruling National Resistance Movement party, the Chairperson LCV and district councillors except one independent.
The last general election happened at the peak of the helm of former Inspector General of Police, Gen. Kale Kayihura, who was removed on March 4th 2018 and later arrested and charged in the army court. Kayihura comes from Kisoro and was considered a political power in the district.
ChimpReports spoke to prominent leaders from Kisoro including: Dr. Philemon Mateke, the Foreign Affairs state minister in charge of Regional Cooperation; Abel Bizimana, the district Chairman LCV; Hon Tress Buchanayanda, the former Minister of Agriculture and Mr. Ramathan Ndikuyeze who is the district NRM party vice chairperson.
The leaders believe Museveni’s popularity remains high in Kisoro and still going to get a good percentage in the 2021 elections.
They relatively gave homogeneous views on the three main topics: improvement of road infrastructure in Uganda, access to the neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo and sharing of the national cake, which they think are the main desires of the people Kisoro.
Interestingly, Kisoro leaders said they are the ones who appealed to the President and Works Minister, Gen. Katumba Wamala for Uganda to construct roads in DRC to ease cross border business.
Mateke said the Kisoro- Kabale road remains a huge tangible achievement credited to Museveni and the people are still going to give the latter their votes.
“The President is in a comfortable lead compared to any other contender. On the account of Kisoro-Kabale road alone is our big pride,” said Dr. Mateke.
He noted that there are concerns on yet to be fulfilled promises and the employment of Bafumbira in government but also appealed for patience saying NRM and Museveni in particular doesn’t forget his covenants.
“We have benefited as always translated in the overwhelming support but also satisfying human needs is never conclusive. People are talking over appointments and projects promised by the President and I believe he is going to fulfill,” he added.
Last month the Bafumbira group held a press conference in Kisoro town demanding for the consideration of the appointment of Mr. Robert Mukiza as the Uganda Investment Authority Director. Mukiza passed the interviews and was approved by the UIA but the appointment powers is in the hands of Minister of Finance.
Buchanayandi said the approval and the commitment of funds to construct roads in the DRC is a good gesture needed to be backed by the rehabilitation of road networks in the border districts.
“We need to connect with DRC and it is through roads for trade. We equally need the road networks here to connect us to DRC,” he said.
Adding: “The President has good support here and it needs to be consolidated.”
Abel Bizimana, the incumbent Chairman LC5 and also the official NRM LC5 flag bearer for Kisoro district said Museveni’s 88.6% support in 2016 has remained intact. He however decried internal intrigue saying some people portray themselves as more NRM than others.
“The support for President remains big but some people in the district want to be more NRM than others. I was for one fought in the last elections by the RDC,” said Bizimana.
He noted that there are grievances since Kayihura was sacked, their access to the President has been limited.
“We no longer access State House like it has been. As I speak now, three of our children have been unfairly denied jobs in CAA (Civil Aviation Authority), Coffee and Uganda Investments Authority,” he said.
“John Kale Institute, a university that was promised by the President has been abandoned by the Ministry of Education officials because of the name Kale,” he said.
Ramathan Ndikuyeze, the NRM vice chairperson of Kisoro said the party still commands a significant support in the district. He called on the party leadership to reconcile and return home candidates aggrieved by the primary elections.
“NRM needs to reconcile cadres who disagreed with the results of the primaries,” he said.
Like the senior leaders, Ndikuyeze also noted that the issue of appointments should be settled for the Bafumbira to jubilate.
“When the Sabiny win medals in Olympics they return with gold and there will be jubilation in Kapchorwa. A Mafumbira won the interview for UIA job but we have not jubilated in Kisoro,” he said.