The opposition Democratic Party (DP) presidential candidate Norbert Mao has accused the authorities particularly security forces of using COVID-19 as an excuse to stop opposition candidates from campaign.
Mao, who was campaigning in Nwoya district on Monday, expressed concern that “the quality of the election is going to be very poor, and not free and fair.”
“Corona (COVID-19) is being used as an excuse. The real Corona is President Museveni and NRM. That is the Corona which threatens to destroy Uganda. I am concerned that presidential candidates are not being allowed to talk to voters. Therefore, the quality of this election is going to be very poor. It is going to be an election which is not free and fair. It is our duty to speak out,” said Mao.
“I want to warn the security forces, this Government found us, and this Government will leave us because we are the people. I want to warn the operatives in the villages who are threatening people, tomorrow when Museveni falls, he will fall on you. At least he has dollars, he has aeroplanes. I believe he has homes outside Uganda. He will abandon you. For you, you will be stuck here. So, my advice is only one, stick to the law. The law allows campaigns,” he added.
In an effort to contain the spread of COVID-19 pandemic, the Electoral Commission banned all mass campaign rallies and announced “scientific” elections where campaigns would be conducted through the media.
The Public Health guidelines allow an election rally to accommodate not more than 200 people.
However, opposition presidential candidates Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu of National Unity Platform (NUP) and his Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) counterpart Patrick Amuriat Oboi have consistently defied the guidelines by holding mass election rallies, gathering huge numbers of people.
This has forced police into running battles with their supporters by dispersing them using teargas.
Police actions have made various opposition politicians draw conclusions that opposition is not allowed to campaign.
Although the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) presidential candidate and incumbent President Yoweri Museveni seemed to have followed the public health guidelines, various NRM candidates at various levels have not followed suit.
Basing on this fact, the opposition politicians have accused Police of having double standards in enforcing the law.
A thick neck isn’t defined by a certain measurement. Rather, it’s measured in proportion to the rest of your body in terms of height, weight, and composition.
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Accordingly, the same description can be said of the latest cabinet reshuffle by President Yoweri Museveni.
The naming of former Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence operative and a one term Education Minister Maj. Jessica Alupo, Vice President and Robinah Nabanja, the Kakumiro district Woman Member of Parliament as Prime Minister perfectly suits the above description.
Politically both ladies are suitable for their positions but will they match the game of the day? A quick look at Maj. Alupo, she has been politically struggling to make a return from political oblivion after she was beaten by Violet Akurut who defeated in 2016 Katakwi district Woman seat, Alupo, apart from her spying skills, she hasn’t gained much experience that comes with job of Vice President. Yes, she could be loyal to her party but in terms of real state craft, Alupo can’t match the likes of Prof. Gilbert Bukenya and Dr. Specioza Wandira Kazibwe. In picking Maj. Alupo, Museveni could have wanted to deflate Busoga politics by bringing in a Catholic and from Teso also in Eastern Region since the Teso overwhelming voted for him. Anyway, that said but what is the job of VP? And perhaps President Museveni wanted amuse the Iteso with presidency convoy that comes with VP status as described by Maj. John Kazoora in his book.
Enters Robinah Nabanja, the Kakumiro/ Kibaale iron lady, is a loyal servant of the National Resistance Movement (NRM) having started as a mobilizer, Resident District Commission to Member of Parliament, State Minister of Health in Charge of General Duties and now Prime Minister.
Nabanja is assertive and a go-getter. She is a mobilizer but little is known about her in matters of boardroom politics. The Office of the Prime is the second highest department in government after presidency, it is vital and coordinates key ministries and government agencies and therefore, with Nabanja being named PM, will she be up to the task given that the office she is given needs someone of a critical thinker and a leader?
The PM is the leader of government business in parliament and is mandated to coordinate all government interests. The previous PMs that have served in the same position have proven that indeed one must be equal to the task as demonstrated by late Prof. Apolo Nsibambi, John Patrick Amama Mbabazi and Ruhakana Rugunda. But it is never too late, let’s accord PM Nabanja her time.
Rebecca Kadaga as 1st Deputy PM and Busoga politics
The former Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga has been nominated as 1st Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of East African Affairs. She takes over the affairs of the East African region. The slot of 1st Deputy Minister has been unoccupied with Ministry of East Affairs being run separately. She is deputy to Nabanja. However, her appointment is surprising given that she is a former Speaker, could it be that it was her own downplaying of VP position that Museveni didn’t name her VP?
Still in Busoga, Museveni named former Gender State Minister Lukia Isanga Nakadama as 3rd Deputy Prime Minister and Minister Without Portfolio, she replaces late Kirunda Kivejinja a fellow Muslim. She is from the greater Iganga district and has wide network of Muslim networks. Political experts believe that the reentry of Isanga to cabinet as 3rd Deputy Prime Minister was to balance the politics of day given that Kadaga who previously served as Speaker had been reduced to 1st Deputy PM and remains a popular figure in the region.
Busoga further saw the entry of NRM Secretary General Justine Lumumba as Minister of General Duties office of the Prime Minister, Mariam Dhoka Babalanda as Minister of Presidency replacing a fellow Musoga Esther Mbayo.
Sanctions/ ICC factor and historical factors
With reported Untied States travel and economic sanctions looming on heads of individuals that were listed by United States government, President Yoweri Museveni hasn’t taken a gamble with those threats. And that is why is so.
General Elly Tumwine the outgoing Secretary Minister is among the names that were listed as to have violated rights of Ugandans during the just concluded elections. Coupled with arrogance in which he exhibited himself to the public, it was prudent that Museveni had to send Tumwine home though he has gone back to his docket of Senior Presidential Advisor on Security.
Sam Kutesa He is another former Minister whose name has been soiled with bad scandals and publicity for a long time. Kutesa has maintained that he has been a target by his colleagues and detractors because of his closeness to the first family but that hasn’t helped as his name keep on coming in many alleged international scandals. However, sources say Kutesa had opted to retire from mainstream politics and this could be explained why he never contested for his parliamentary seat.
Ruhakana Rugunda popularly known as Ndugu, is the outgoing PM who has finished his five years as Prime Minister smoothly. He leaves the show a clean as he came. He has been appointed as Special Envoy for Special Duties Office of the President. With Rugunda, Kutesa and Tumwine out, this leaves Museveni with only two historical in government and these are Major Generals Kahinda Otafiire incoming Internal Affairs Minister and Jim Muhwezi, Security Minister.
Entry of Gen. David Muhoozi the outgoing Chief of Defence Forces has been appointed new State Minister of Internal Affair, he replaces Obiga Kania who has been moved to Lands. Muhoozi’s appointment has received warm welcome among his peers who see him as clean and young man who is likely to being new energies with new strategies in government that is mostly dominated by the old guards.
Muhoozi distinguished himself a strict observant of the law and that can explain why his name has never surfaced among those that violated human rights as alleged by US.
KiryowaKiwanuka also known as KK is another smart chap that comes in as Attorney General. He has previously played behind scenes in major legal battles regarding President Museveni and government.
So, the thick neck cabinet which has been named will be associated with power and strength. it is large enough but nothing much will be gotten out of it as described by the two individuals above (Vice President and Prime Minister).
The National Unity Platform (NUP) has endorsed Judith Nalukwago as Makerere University Guild Presidential aspirant.
Nalukwago was endorsed shortly after the young Makerere strike machine; Obed Obedgiu Derrick opted out of the race. Obed announced that he will not be offering himself as a candidate in the highly anticipated Mak guild elections as the new election roadmap is yet to be released.
“Salutations to you friends, I shan’t offer myself as a candidate in the forthcoming elections as was the case earlier. Thanks to all and sundry for the unwavering support,” Obed wrote on Facebook.
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Although Obed had won the flag bearer primaries early before the closure of the University due to the Covid-19 pandemic break-up, he has decided to give way to the fellow people power member Judith Nalukwago to aspire and promises undying support for her.
In a series of posts on her social media handles, Nalukwago announced that she will be running for the position of Guild President. She says that the seat of the Vice Guild President offered her an opportunity to assert her beliefs and push more for affordable education and education reforms.
“The Vice Guild Presidency presented to me a great opportunity to assert those beliefs and push more for affordable education and address systematic injustice against students in general and women in particular. This struggle is always a work in progress,” Nalukwago said.
She added, “The task before us is an uphill one, but the power of our resolve will be the steam that gets our train moving. In the coming days, I will share broadly about this noble aspiration and what I have in plan for us all.”
Makerere University might get a female guild president after seven years. Anne Adeke Ebaju is the Youth Female Representative in Parliament.
The University now has four candidates in the race; Tumusiime Joseph (independent), Ogutti Aaron (independent), Muhwezi Maczxxon (NRM) and the only lady Judith Nalukwago (NUP). However the competition is between the NRM flag bearer and the NUP aspirant as they wait for the date of 30th March to decide the new elect Guild President.
Kira Municipality Member of Parliament and opposition Forum for Democratic Change – FDC spokesperson Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda has declared his bid to challenge incumbent Rebecca Kadaga in the race for Speaker of parliament.
Ssemujju, a vocal opposition strongman made his bid public on Tuesday March 9th while appearing on local television, NBS.
Ssemujju becomes the third person gunning for position after reports about deputy speaker Jacob Oulanya also planning to challenge his boss Kadaga.