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2021 Polls: A Closer Look at NUP, Opposition’s Proverbial ‘Dominance’ in Kampala



Last week, the National Unity Platform (NUP) party Elections Management Committee (NUP-EMC) released the list of candidates that will hold their flag in the 2021 Parliamentary elections in the Central region.

Among the constituencies represented, Makindye West, Kawempe South, Kawempe North and Rubaga North have candidates who have been subjected to reevaluation.

Four candidates; MP Allan Ssewanyana, KCCA Councilor Muhammad Ssegirinya alias Mr. Updates, Uganda Journalists Association (UJA) President Kazibwe Bashir Mbaziira and the KCCA Speaker Abubaker Kawalya were finally announced as the flag bearers for Makindye West, Kawempe South, Kawempe North and Rubaga North respectively.

The four joined six others who had already secured the NUP endorsement as per the previous list which featured over 85 candidates from the Central Region.

These are; Fred Nyanzi for MP Kampala Central, Shamim Malende for Woman MP Kampala central, Joel Ssenyonyi for Nakawa West, Ronald Balimwezo for Nakawa East, Aloysius Mukasa for Rubaga South, and Fred Nyeko for Makindye East.

The flag bearer selection has, however, been faced with criticism amounting from alleged irregularities like corruption, bribery and favoritism that was witnessed especially from the vetting officials.

Moses Kasibante alias class monitor, the incumbent MP of Rubaga North who was defeated by Kawalya, Micheal Mabike who was defeated by Nyeko in Makindye East and Keneth Kakande who was weeded out by the party spokesperson for the Nakawa West Parliamentary seat have since declared their intentions of running as independent candidates.

“Bobi Wine has no problem but the biggest problem in NUP is that so called NUP Secretary General. We shall not abandon Bobi Wine and leave him to suffer in the hands of these traitors who want to finish up the party but rather fight and regain our power,” Mabike said during a television interview last week.

Veteran Journalist William Ntege alias Kyuma Kya Yesu who also lost the LC5 Councilorship for Makindye East but conceded, says standing as independents by the NUP ticket losers is a direct attack to Robert Kyagulanyi and NUP, which they claim to be serving.

“A flag is just a drop out of this struggle, we are all subjected to the vetting process and if one decides to stand as an independent after being denied the card, it means that they are selfish,” he noted.

In response to Ntege, Kasibante said, “I did not join NUP purposely for the ticket but to play structural politics. It is when I saw an opportunity of standing on the party ticket that I expressed interests but since I was denied the card in favor of the typical NRM mole, let me come back as an independent.”

“I have not abandoned the struggle and thus I will campaign for my president Robert Kyagulanyi,” he added.

Moses Kasibante will stand as an independent candidate in Rubaga North after NUP ticket denial.

Will opposition dominate Kampala again?

NUP’s flag bearers’ selection has not only bred a good number of independent candidates in Kampala but also exposed the Central region opposition dominance to the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM), which seems to be more organized, according to political analysts.

In the tenth Parliament, NRM had only one candidate in all the five Divisions that make up Kampala.

This was, Muhammad Nsereko who was a rebel MP and has since turned to independent candidature after the party chose Cedric Babu to represent them in the 2021 general elections.

The remaining eight constituencies which have since turned into nine after the creation of Nakawa West, were dominated by opposition and independent contenders.

Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) took four (04) positions, the Democratic Party (DP) took one (01) while independents took three (03).

Nabila Naggayi Sempala from FDC won Woman MP Kampala Central, Nakawa Division had Micheal Kabaziguruka from FDC and Mubaraka Munyagwa (FDC) for Kawempe South.

FDC also had Ibrahim Kasozi who took over Makindye East.

DP had only one victory in Makindye East for Allan Ssewanyana, who has since crossed to NUP.

Three independent candidates took over Rubaga Division and Kawempe North; Moses Kasibante in Rubaga North, Kato Lubwama in Rubaga South and Latif Ssebagala for Kawempe North.

After being declared NRM’s sole presidential candidate for 2021, President Museveni tasked his members through his personal Assistant Molly Babalanda to recruit a maximum of five campaign agents in each village but with a special emphasize in Kampala and Wakiso.

Kampala and Wakiso Districts alone have over 2.4 million voters, who make up 13% out of the total 17.6 million voters who were registered by the Electoral Commission for the 2021 General Polls.

These make up 43% of the total 5.5 million voters who were registered in the Central Region alone.

Museveni and NRM last won with the Kampala electorate in 1996, after defeating DP’s presidential candidate Dr. Paul Kawanga Ssemwogere with a range of over 50,000 votes. Museveni got 160,925 votes while Ssemwogere scored 105,812 votes.

Opposition versus NRM on ground

Out of over 1.5 million voters who were registered in Kampala, an estimate of over 100,000 which is 6.6% participated in the recently concluded NRM primaries in all the five Divisions of Kampala.

Out of these, 33,832 participated in Kampala Central, 5006 from Nakawa Division, 13,430 in Rubaga Division, 13,704 and 34,976 in Makindye Division, according to media reports.

Break down of the ten constituencies

Kampala Central District

  1. Kampala Central MP

In the Kampala Central MP race, Cedric Babu in a landslide Victory defeated his two competitors. Babu scored 26,799 votes. The first runner up Baker Mande Kyambade got 4,363 votes while Issa Kato trailed with 2,670 votes.

This enabled Babu to qualify for the general polls where he will face the incumbent Muhammad Nsereko, NUP’s Fred Nyanzi and other independent candidates.

Babu, after his election, said that he is assured of victory given NRM’s popularity on the ground according to the 126 villages he visited.

  1. Kampala District Woman MP

NRM’s Faridah Nambi who beat her only competitor Shamim Nanfuma will face two major opponents, NUP’s Shamim Malende, a lawyer by profession and FDC’s Dr Stella Nyanzi .

Nambi scored 23,869 votes while her competitor Nanfuma got 19,889 votes.

Nakawa Division

  1. Nakawa East

The competition in this Division is majorly between three candidates from NUP, NRM and FDC.

NUP fronted the current Mayor of Nakawa Ronald Nsubuga Balimwezo, who will be facing off with FDC’s Michael Kabaziguruka, the incumbent.

NRM has fronted Fredrich Ruhindi who was defeated by Kabaziguruka in the 2016 general elections. He was unopposed during the primaries and this partly explains why some of his campaign posters just bear his picture without his names, with a big text “HE IS BACK”.

  1. Nakawa West

The former East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) Speaker Magret Zziwa beat her two competitors, Ben Kalumba and a Ugandan of Indian origin Mukesh Shukla in a tight race to win the NRM ticket for this Constituency.

In a race which was marred with violence and bribery, Zziwa scored 1991 votes, followed by Mukesh with 1275 votes and Kalumba with 1260 votes.

Magret Zziwa will face off with NUP’s Joel Ssenyonyi.

Zziwa will face, so far, two candidates who have expressed interest for this position and these are; NUP’s spokesperson Joel Ssenyonyi and Kenneth Kakande.

Kakande was with Ssenyonyi in the NUP ticket race but has since decided to stand as an independent after accusing the commission being biased and fronting favoritism.

Rubaga Division

  1. Rubaga North

NUP’s Abubakar Kawalya who is the current KCCA Speaker will face the incumbent Moses Kasibante who has decided to come as an independent after the NUP card denial.

The two will face NRM’ Betty Kamya, the current Cabinet  Minister for Lands who smashed his two competitors Brian Tindyebwa and Dr. Isaac Lwanga to get the party ticket.

Kamya scored 6,464 votes, Tindyebwa got 671 while Dr. Lwanga secured four (04) votes.

“The voting has been done in broad day light and it is very clear it was lining behind and I hope no one will complain,” Kamya said after being declared.

Kasibante, who accused Kawalya of being a mole, has vowed to “chase away all intruders from Rubaga North.”

  1. Rubaga South

Aloysius Mukasa of NUP will face Charles Kenneth Male from the NRM.

Singer Sadat Mukiibi alias Aganaga was denied the NUP ticket and has since joined NRM.

NRM’s Male defeated his two competitors; Mpiima Ssenoga and Ritah Kulabako to win the party card.

Male got 2,214 votes, followed by Ssenoga with 2,077 votes and Kulabako with 200 votes.

The two will face the incumbent Kato Lubwama who won the Seat from DP’s Ken Lukyamuzi in 2016.

Kato Lubwama, who asked his voters to “give me the votes so I can go and eat,” has since asked them, again, to “give me the votes and we eat together this time.”

Kawempe Division

  1. Kawempe South

NUP has fronted the Uganda Journalists Association (UJA) President Bashir Kazibwe Mbazira to contest against FDC’s Mubarak Munyagwa alias Mugati gwa Baata, who is also the incumbent.

The two will have to work hard to defeat NRM’s Solomon Mayanja.

Munyagwa has since started his campaigns against those he calls “intruders who aim at giving the bread to the wolf.”

UJA President Kazibwe Bashir Mbazira scooped the NUP ticket for Kawempe South.
  1. Kawempe North

The withdrawal of Hajji Latif Ssebagala from the constituency’s MP race last year when he announced his mayoral bid led to the rise of new ‘political amateurs’ who will be taking up the seat if voted in.

KCCA Councilor Muhammad Ssegirinya won the Kawempe North NUP ticket.

Ssegirinya, who started as a regular radio enthusiast has since transformed into a Lord Councilor who has done what people term as ‘wonders’.

He beat Suleiman Kidandala, the NUP National Mobiliser to get the ticket and will be contesting with NRM’s Denis Ndyamukahi for the Kawempe South MP post.

Makindye Division

  1. Makindye East

In Makindye East, Fred Nyeko was endorsed as the 2021 MP flag bearer for the National Unity Platform beating his only counterpart Michael Mabike.

Mabike in return accused the NUP Vetting Committee for being biased and corrupt. He also accused the party Secretary General David Lewis Rubongoya, for “driving the party at his own pace.”

NUP Elections Committee, however, responded with the correct marks he got as opposed to the 95% score he claims to have secured.

Micheal Mabike (right) accuses Rubongoya for being biased and leading the party astray.

Mabike has since declared his intentions of running as an independent on the same seat.

  1. Makindye West

Allan Ssewanyana who defected from DP to NUP in August, won the party ticket to contest on the same position again.

Ssewanyana was among the 15 candidates who were reevaluated and given tickets to lead their party to victory.

He will face NRM’s Achilles Lubega in the 2021 general polls.

In the mayoral race which is being held by former DP’s and current FDC’s Erias Lukwago,  NUP fronted Nabila Naggayi, NRM fronted musician Daniel Kazibwe alias Raga Dee while Joseph Mayanja alias Dr. Jose Chameleon who was denied the NUP ticket will come as an independent.


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