NRM BATTLEGROUNDS: Muhwezi, Bahati, Tumwebaze, Musherure, Kimosho, Anite Lead in Primaries Race
The ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) Member of Parliament primaries open this Friday across Uganda.
The polls are very sensitive considering that winning the NRM ticket gives one an added advantage in the general elections.
The president usually campaigns for the NRM representatives across the country.
Secondly, the party intends to but airtime on radios and televisions for their candidates to reach out to wider audiences.
Some areas, especially in western Uganda, have since turned into serious battle grounds with candidates displaying their full might – financial muscle and deep connections to the state.
In Sembabule, all eyes are on Mawogola North where Ms Shartsi Musherure, the daughter of Foreign Affairs Minister Sam Kutesa and Godfrey Aine Kaguta, the brother of President Museveni, are eyeing the area MP seat.
They accuse each other of hijacking the NRM party registers for selfish gains.
In the area, Chimp Corps say the military and police personnel remain heavily deployed.
Both candidates have marshalled security forces to protect their votes, compelling the NRM First Vice Chairman, Moses Kigongo to rush to the area.
Musherure has been on ground, participating in several economic empowerment programmes and lobbied for extension of water services.
She has supported youth groups, SACCOS and raised funds for many projects for women.
She is expected to win the polls.
In Rukungiri, the focus is on Rujumbura constituency where former Health Minister, Hon Jim Muhwezi has been combing villages for votes.
Unlike most NRM candidates, Muhwezi used digital and electronic media to rally support in the area.
For example his fans released songs praising his return to reclaim the seat from FDC and celebrate his developmental works in the area.
Also, youth groups moved house to house, urging supports to return Muhwezi to “make Rujumbura shine again.”
In Rwenshama fishing village, Muhwezi promised to lobby relevant authorities to fence off Queen Elizabeth National Park to protect their gardens from wild animals.
Human wildlife conflicts are a serious problem in the district especially for the local communities surrounding the National Park.
Wild animals such as bush pigs, elephants, buffaloes, monkeys and baboons raid crops in the sub-counties of Bwambara, Ruhinda and Bugangari.
He also has promised to engage government to pave more roads and extend power and water deeper in the villages.
Muhwezi is expected to defeat his rivals who include Julius Muhurizi, a marketer with a newspaper in Kampala.
Kazo is located in western Uganda. Many of its sons participated in the NRA war that brought President Museveni to power. They include General Tumwiine.
In this area, Economic Monitoring Minister Molly Kamukama is battling Ann Ruyondo, Jennifer Muheesi and others for the area Woman MP seat.
Kamukama is the former Principal Private Secretary of president Museveni while Ruyondo is the daughter of NRA war hero Patrick Lumumba.
Jennifer is the wife of Maj Gen Geoffrey Muheesi, a former ADC of President Museveni. He served as deputy AMISOM commander and led many UPDF operations. He also is a close associate of the president.
Unlike in other areas where candidates try to use their deep connections to the state to show power, Kazo is a different zone. Almost everyone knows a soldier or senior government official somewhere.
Recently, word went around that Kamukama was holding night meetings which were raided by police. But Kamukama told ChimpReports that “Police came checked on us and left. Then rumors started.”
Asked about the alleged clash between his guards and police, Kamukama responded: “I am a minister and police cannot be confronting me; even if I have a meeting.”
She added: “There are other ways of handling such matters by security agents”
While in other areas, one can easily sway voters using notes of Shs 5,000, the people of Kazo earn daily income from milk. To woo them with money would leave a candidate in a huge hole of debt.
On her part, Kayondo has been mobilizing the youth and women to throw their weight behind her. Jennifer was also seen in gardens, reaching out to women and the elderly.
This election is too close to call.
Dan Kimosho, who has been serving as the spokesperson of National Medical Stores (NMS) is likely to surprise the incumbent Gordon Bafaki.
Kimosho has been on ground, rallying the youth to support him.
He also bought an ambulance which has saved hundreds of lives in the area.
“Where would we be without Kimosho’s ambulance,” wondered Mzee Eliphas Katunguka, an area resident.
“Even when we don’t have money, he buys the fuel to take our patients to hospital. He is our son and we will rally behind him.”
His journalistic background helped him easily mobilise the media to sensitise the public about his manifesto with the key focus on service delivery.
Sheema has since turned into a hot spot, pitting the wealthy former URA official, Dicksons Kateshumbwa with Technology Minister Elioda Tumwesigye.
Kateshumbwa employed the door-do-door campaign strategy to challenge Ellioda, a household name.
The Minister is said to have supported thousands of Sheema people to receive drugs during the 1990s when HIV/AIDS was ravaging the country.
He also obtained thousands of bursaries for children in the area.
However, Kateshumbwa has since stormed the area with energy, putting Elioda’s political career at stake.
Kateshumbwa recently said the people of Sheema Municipality were divided because of selfish and irresponsible leadership, undermining efforts to develop the area.
“We have failed to galvanize our strength and ideas to build and unite Sheema towards economic prosperity. I seek to unite all the people of Sheema Municipality and do away with divisions that have taken root with an aim of bringing development irrespective of tribal, political, racial or religious differences,” said Kateshumbwa.
He also cited the lack of funding as the biggest impediment to development across the infrastructural and economic sectors in the municipality.
“We shall work towards having a smart municipality with good infrastructure such as roads, organized markets, sanitation facilities, street lighting, green spaces, among others,” he observed.
This election is also too close to call but high chances are that Kateshumbwa might upset Elioda.
The Bushenyi district Woman MP pitting Annet Katusiime Mugisha and Minister Karooro Okurut is a must watch.
Karooro is facing stiff resistance from Katusiime, the wife of National Water and Sewerage Corporation (NWSC) MD Eng Silver Mugisha.
She started her mobilisation about three years ago, reaching out to SACCOS, woman and youth groups and churches.
Katusiime has since promised to lobby funds to stimulate commercial agriculture in Bushenyi which was previously known as a model district.
Over the last 5 years, Mrs Mugisha, through her Bamugisha Community Welfare Ltd (a not-for-profit organisation) has supported setting of saving groups for women and men at every village in the District.
She also has supported the youths and local leaders to set up saving groups at parish and sub-county level. She says this structured approach is aimed at inspiring mindset change among the communities.
She is expected to defeat Karooro in tomorrow’s primaries.
In Ndorwa West, State Minister of Finance, David Bahati appears to have an upper hand against his rivals.
One of Bahati’s lead challengers, Nicholas Arinaitwe quit the race ahead of Friday’s NRM primaries.
Arinaitwe said “there will be no fairness in this election. Also, the Coronavirus did not allow me to mobilise well. I will stand as an independent candidate in the 2021 polls.”
Bahati, who has occupied the MP seat since 2006, stays in the race with Mark Kworoba Mashemererwa and Simpson Mpirirwe.
In West Nile, all eyes are on Minister Evelyne Anite and Charles Ayume who are contesting for Koboko Municipality MP seat.
Anite told ChimpReports recently she remained “invincible” in the race, saying, “We will teach these people (rivals) what mobilisation means.”
Anite, Museveni’s blue-eyed girl, says “all the youth will support me because of what I have done for them and intend to do.”
However, Ayume, who previously worked at State House, is the son of former Attorney General, Francis Ayume. The family status of the Ayume’s soars above Anite’s.
“Of course, I have tapped into the legacy of my father but when you are going into something, you have to have conviction,” Dr Ayume was quoted as saying.
The late Ayume, who served as Solicitor General, Speaker of Parliament, and Attorney General, represented Koboko County in Parliament from 1996 until his death in 2004 in a road accident in Nakasongola.
Francis Ayume has since vowed to defeat Anite, saying, “When you move around Koboko, what Anite says she has done is not reflected on ground.”
He has since mobilised youth and elders in Koboko to send him to Parliament.
However, Anite seems to have a strong hard against her rival.