Tanzanian opposition presidential candidate Tundu Lissu on Wednesday slammed “widespread irregularities” in an election which comes after years of repression under President John Maggufuli, who is seeking a second term in office.
Long deemed a haven of stability in East Africa, observers say Tanzania has seen the stifling of democracy and a crackdown on freedom of speech under the 60-year-old Magufuli and his Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) party, which has been in power since 1961.
Observers expressed serious concerns about the fairness of the election in the run up to voting day, and violence erupted in semi-autonomous Zanzibar on the eve of the poll, leaving 10 dead according to the opposition.
“Voting reports indicate widespread irregularities in the form of preventing our polling agents from accessing polling stations,” Lissu said on Twitter, alleging ballot boxes had been stuffed in some locations.
“If this continues, mass democratic action will be the only option to protect the integrity of the election.”
Major social media networks — such as WhatsApp and Twitter — have been blocked across Tanzania, and were only accessible through virtual private networks (VPN).
In a polling station in Dodoma, voter Jackson Daudi said: “I hope voting will go smoothly and the electoral body will be fair to all candidates. I believe justice will prevail.”
And in the northern town of Moshi, near Africa’s highest peak of Kilimanjaro, Nestor Shoo urged the electoral commission to show “impartiality, so that there can be peace”.
In Zanzibar hundreds of men and women formed separate queues from before dawn in Garagara neighbourhood outside the capital Stone Town, where on Tuesday police fired teargas, live rounds and beat up civilians.
Mnao Haji, 48, queueing to vote in Garagara, said she hoped the election “will be peaceful” on the archipelago despite a history of contested polls.
“During the clashes with police teargas fell inside my house. I screamed, crying, I was helpless,” she said as heavily armed officers and soldiers looked on.
On Zanzibar, streets already devoid of tourists due to the coronavirus pandemic were deserted after a day which saw police cracking down on residents, while the second island of Pemba where the opposition said nine were killed by police on Monday night was reportedly calm on voting day.
Zanzibar citizens vote for their own president and lawmakers, as well as for the Tanzanian president, and the opposition has accused the ruling party of trying to steal the vote — an accusation it makes at every election. Foreign observers have often agreed.
Magufuli, whose campaign against corruption and wasteful spending initially drew him praise, voted in Dodoma, urging people to turn out to vote.
“We also need to maintain our peace and I always say there is life after elections,” he declared in the Tanzanian capital.
Despite his initial popularity, Maggufuli’s flouting of due process and intolerance of dissent has sparked alarm among rights groups and foreign allies.
In the past five years a series of tough media laws have been passed, arrests of journalists and activists have soared and several opposition members were killed.
Magufuli touts as his successes the expansion of free education, rural electrification and massive infrastructure projects such as railways, a hydropower dam and the revival of the national airline.
On mainland Tanzania, Lissu, 52, of the Chadema opposition party is Maggufuli’s greatest challenger.
He returned to the country in July after three years abroad recovering from 16 bullet wounds sustained in what he believes was a politically-motivated assassination attempt.
Lissu’s return has reinvigorated an opposition demoralised by a ban on political rallies outside of election time, multiple arrests and attacks.
In a boost for the opposition, Zitto Kabwe, head of the popular ACT-Wazalendo party, has endorsed Lissu for the presidency on the mainland.
In return, Chadema is backing veteran opposition candidate Seif Sharif Hamad in his sixth bid for the presidency in Zanzibar, this time against CCM candidate Hussein Ali Hassan Mwinyi.
“I feel proud that I have managed to vote this year,” said Hamad after casting his ballot and slamming the election as a “farce” following his detention for several hours Tuesday.
The election campaign has taken place with little regard for the coronavirus pandemic.
Tanzania stopped giving out official data on infections in April and Maggufuli has declared the country Covid-19 free, which he attributes to the power of prayer.
On the mainland, just over 29 million registered voters will cast their ballots, while some 566,000 will vote in Zanzibar from 7 am (0400 GMT) until 4 pm (1300 GMT).
Police at Entebbe International Airport have arrested 11 intending travelers after they were found with forged Covid-19 negative test certificates just hours after Uganda’s virus cases reached 10,590 on Sunday.
The group consisting of three women and eight men, most of whom are of Ethiopian origin are being detained at Entebbe Airport Aviation Police (AVPOL) station for interrogation.
A source privy to the arrest but preferred anonymity since they are not authorized to speak to journalists, told tis reporter that the clearing team that was on duty at the time the group was arrested has also been taken to Entebbe AVPOL station for questioning.
The Uganda Civil Aviation Authority (UCAA) spokesperson, Mr Vianney Luggya confirmed the development saying they are not the first suspects to be apprehended since the airport reopened as part of government move to relax the virus induced lockdown.
“Well, this is not the first group that has been arrested with forged documents. We put in place mechanism that can detect forged documents. That’s why we are able to apprehend the culprits and always advise our travelers to get proper clearance 72 hours before their flights,” Mr Luggya said.
A week ago, authorities at the airport said more than 50 passengers had so far missed their flights for showing up with invalid Covid-19 negative test certificates.
All travelers going through the airport are required to present a negative PCR Covid-19 test certificate issued within 120 hours before their departure time while incoming passengers must have a negative PCR Covid-19 test certificate issued within 72 hours before their flight. The new guidelines came into effect October 1st, 2020 when the government reopened Entebbe International Airport for commercial flights after the six month lockdown.
On average 14 flights take place at the airport each day with at least 50 passengers on board.
On October 2, 2020, health workers blocked 45 passengers from boarding a flight to the United Arab Emirates. The travelers presented expired Covid-19 test certificates that were issued before September 28th, 2020. Apparently, UAE only allows travelers with a negative PCR Covid-19 test certificate issued within 96 hours before departure. The certificates are mandatory for passengers whose final destination is Dubai or are connecting through Dubai from 55 countries including Kenya, Uganda and the USA among others.
On October 7, four Ugandans including one female adult and three minors also missed their flight to Tunisia for presenting expired certificates. The certificates were issued on September 16th, 2020 after they secured clearance from the ministries of health and foreign affairs to leave Uganda. Although the female passenger asked for more time to rectify the dates on the certificates, saying they took the tests three days to the flight, by the time she received soft copies of the valid certificates, the plane had already departed from Entebbe Airport.
The same happened to another female Ugandan, who missed her flight on October 8th. 2020. She was expected to board the 11 pm Fly Dubai flight to UAE. She cried when the health workers turned her away. She later told journalists that she took the Covid-19 test on September 29, 2020 and her certificate was issued on October 1, 2020.
“It is painful that my certificate expired and yet my employer has been waiting for me to travel since July,” she lamented.
The travelers had secured a job as a domestic worker in the UAE.
However, the Sunday arrest happened hours after the Ministry of Health said they had registered 135 new Covid-19 infections as Uganda’s virus cases rose to 10,590.
The Ministry also said Uganda’s virus fatalities had risen to 97 after one more death was registered.
So far, the East African nation has tested 522,286 samples since March this year when the virus outbreak was confirmed in the country.
At least 6,992 people who previously tested positive for the virus have recovered after treatment and have since been discharged from hospitals across the country.
The National Unity Platform has described as unbelievable actions by the regime amid an escalating crisis that has seen security forces seal off the party offices in Kamwokya and confiscate security cameras, red berets, party symbols (Umbrellas) and other items found inside its offices.
“A few pictures taken at our office today. They are taking documents, branding materials, our CCTV cameras, and other gadgets! What a shameless dictator,” Bobi Wine, the NUP President said.
Party Spokesperson Joel Ssenyonyi said it’s interesting what fear does to people.
“It causes them to panic and do despicable things. Uganda’s regime is in fear, it’s scared of Ugandans who are hungry for change, but whatever evil they do only emboldens us. Nothing, and I mean nothing, can stop an idea whose time has come!” Ssenyonyi said on social media.
The military has invaded NUP offices ahead of nominations of Members of Parliament slated for Thursday, October 15. By the time of the raid, NUP officials were holding a meeting with party coordinators.
Police in Kampala Metropolitan Area have arrested 21 people who were allegedly participating in what the law enforces described as a sex party.
The party, according to police, was taking place in a private house in Kireka, Kira Municipality, Wakiso District.
Mr Patrick Onyango, the spokesman of Kampala Police Metropolitan Area said that they got information about the party and planted informants to monitor and inform the police when the rare and illegal party would start.
Towards midnight, he said, police was notified that the sex orgy had started and raided the house where it was being hosted.
“We got the participants red handed,” Mr Onyango said in a statement. “They have been arrested and detained at Kira Division Police Station on charges of disobedience of lawful orders and doing acts that are likely to cause the spread of infectious disease, which is coronavirus.”
He said that the suspects will be taken to court on Monday October 12, 2020.
The facility was allegedly holding a sex party, promoted as “Be mine sex party” for which participants were charged UGX 50000 for VIP and UGX 30,000 for ordinary to attend and participate in group trans night sex.
Based on the quantities of illegal substances found at the scene, police are also looking at bringing charges in relation to the distribution of illegal narcotics.
It is reported that criminal charges will be brought against at least some if not all of those involved.
President Museveni Wednesday joined counterparts, from Rwanda’s Paul Kagame, DR Congo’s Felix Tshisekedi and Angola’s Joao Lourenço for a virtual mini-summit, which largely discussed security issues in the region, usually complicated by tensions in the eastern Congo.
The summit called by President Tshisekedi had been initially scheduled to take place in September in the DR Congo city of Goma but the plan fell out due the Covid-19 pandemic restrictions. Burundi had been invited to the discussions but opted out citing lack of preparedness.
According to a statement issued by State House, the principals “reviewed the security situation in the Great Lakes Sub-region, and recalled the Addis Ababa Framework Agreement of February 2013, which affirms the security concerns of the countries of the sub-region-Great Lakes region. In this regard, they reaffirmed their willingness to combine their efforts to eradicate the negative forces and armed groups operating in the Great Lakes region.”
The Addis Ababa Framework Agreement was signed seven years ago by DR Congo, Uganda, South Africa, Burundi, Angola, Central African Republic, South Sudan, Congo-Brazaville, Tanzania, and Rwanda, as part of the wider efforts to bring peace back in the restive eastern Congo following the flashing out of the M23 rebels.
The signatory countries committed to keep out internal affairs of DR Congo, and not to tolerate or offer support to armed groups known to operate in the country.
This was after UN report in 2012 accused Uganda and Rwanda of helping the M23 militias. Since then, eastern Congo has been relatively stable but with isolated cases of fighting, pillaging of villages, and other atrocities by other rebel groups.
Agreements The Heads of State agreed to set up a cross-border plan to strengthen surveillance and control measures in response to Covid-19 and other pathologies with epidemic potential between the four countries, while respecting national, regional and international laws responsible for.
The scandals that have dogged Col Kaka Bagyenda’s three-year reign at the Internal Security Organisation (ISO) prompted the President to relieve him of his duties, our sources has learnt.
On Thursday, 08 October 2020, this website reported that President Museveni has sacked Bagyenda and replaced him with Lt Col Charles Oluka. Bagyenda’s deputy, Don Mugimba has also been replaced with Lt Emmy Katabazi.
And in a look at Bagyenda’s three years as head of ISO, allegations of torture, human rights abuses, arbitrary arrests and internal fights among ISO agents have taken precedence, putting the country’s security at risk.
Before his appointment in 2017 to take over from Brig Ronnie Balya, Col Kaka had been a businessman running several hotels across the country.
When he took over intelligence in 2017, he was seen as the savior and was credited for doing reconnaissance and gathering intelligence that helped thwart internal rebellion in the army and government.
However, his honeymoon was soon over as most of the so-called intelligence turned out to be false. Multiple sources say ISO has authored some controversial reports that accused some big military big shots of working against President Museveni. Some of these reports, sources said, have been found fake. For instance, Kaka’s most trusted operative, Simon Peter Odongo, who was the head of ISO’s ICT Department, was accused of framing the former Inspector General of Police Kale Kayihura on the killing of Andrew Felix Kaweesi. The joint security investigation into the death of Kaweesi found out that the information that ISO shared about Gen Kayihura was false.
ISO operatives were accused of carrying out human right abuse including arbitrary arrests of people and detaining them at an island in Lake Victoria for months. In 2019, lawyers under their umbrella body, the Uganda Law Society (ULS) accused Kaka of arresting, detaining and torturing citizens and usurping the powers of other security agencies and acting outside the law.
During a media conference, then ULS president Simon Peter Kinobe said Kaka had taken over the role of other security agencies and turned ISO into a clearing agency for wealthy individuals to the detriment of regular citizens.
The raid by Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence (CMI) on several ISO safe houses in Kampala in July surprised many but also signaled that Kaka had a big fight for survival on his hands with higher forces probably fed up or rattled by his methods of work.
In July 2020, personnel from Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence raided several safe houses in the city center where ISO detained suspects and arrested the guards before taking away people detained in the houses.
The raid came after President Museveni summoned ISO director general Col Kaka Bagyenda for a meeting at State House. Col Kaka later failed to come to office the following day, sparking speculation that he had been fired. At the time of the raid, there had been tension at ISO headquarters after more than 100 operatives, including 10 directors, were suspended.
It is these circumstances that have been at ISO until Thursday’s sacking.
In 1981, Bagyenda joined the National Resistance Army (NRA), a rebel guerrilla outfit, led by Yoweri Museveni, who waged the Ugandan Bush War, between 1981 and 1986. He carried out covert operations for the NRA and was instrumental in the capture of Masindi Army Barracks by the NRA on 20 February 1984. To disguise himself from the Uganda National Liberation Army (UNLA) soldiers, he adopted the name Kaka, dropping his birth names Frank Bagyenda. He served in the Ugandan military, rising to the rank of Major, before he retired at that rank in 1993.
Bagyenda remained an active intelligence operative, playing a role in the disruption of illegal fishing on Lake Victoria. In 2013, he was promoted to the rank of Colonel, while in retirement.
Court involved in a fatal car accident along Masindi Road.
Justice Paul Gadenya has got an accident along Kampala – Masindi road.
This happened on Monday October 5th 2020 morning as he was travelling to Masindi high court.
His official car UG 0781J had a head-on collision with a car registration number UBH 831 in Bigando-Masindi.
Gadenya who was seriously injured with wounds on his head and fracture on both leg and hand was first admitted at Masindi medical Centre where he and his escort who was injured transferred by to Kampala by army jet to get further medication.
According to the eye witnesses the accident was caused by justice’s driver who failed to manage his car crash lorry that was entering the parking along the road.
While addressing mourners during the burial of Nasser Ntege Ssebaggala in Kisaasi, Kampala on October 4, 2020, Kyadondo East MP. Robert Kyagulanyi alias Bobi Wine (pictured) said he advised the ex-Kampala mayor not to contest for the position.
Kyaddondo East Member of Parliament who is also the leader of the National Unity Platform (NUP) Mr Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine Sunday said that he advised the late Nasser Ntege Ssebagala not to contest as lord mayor in next year’s polls.
While addressing mourners during the burial of Ssebaggala in Kisaasi, Kampala, the NUP leader said he advised the ex-Kampala mayor not to contest for the position.
Ssebagala had visited Bobi Wine at Magere, near Kampala.
“I told him that it is you that taught us how to speak the truth and I also want to tell you the truth as well,” Bobi Wine said. “He told me that my ‘son, you [NUP] have brought all those candidates but feel like none of them had the plan for the ghetto like me. Why don’t I get the chance of carrying that [NUP party] card? So being my friend and elder, I told him that I feel you are worn out. ”
Before he died last week on Saturday, Ssebagala had expressed interest to contest for the position of Kampala Lord Mayor as a NUP flag bearer.
Ssebagala wasn’t able to make it to the vetting committee to be vetted after falling sick.
While he was still bedridden at the Kampala International Hospital, his younger brother and also Kawempe MP. Mr Latif Ssebagala Sengendo was endorsed by NUP vetting committee to run as the party’s flag bearer.
The Kawempe North MP beat musician-turned politician Mr Joseph Mayanja alias Chameleon to get NUP endorsement.
He later pulled out of the race, something that saw Kampala Woman MP, Ms Naggayi Nabilah Sempala get endorsed to carry the party flag.
Even when Ssebagala was bedridden, his son, Mr Abdul Gamel Nasser Sebaggala, who was in in-charge of political affairs in the family, said his father insisted on being vetted by NUP.
“Just two days before he died, he ordered me to bring his barber to work on him. I asked him why? And he told me that he was preparing for vetting. So, he asked me to liaise with NUP management to go to the hospital and vet him because the management of the hospital had cleared them to use the boardroom,” Mr Abdul Gamel Nasser said.
However, when the NUP leadership failed to make it to hospital, Ssebagala asked his family to organise a zoom meeting to vet him.
According to his son, when the Zoom vetting process failed Ssebagala asked his family members to forward his documents to the Electoral Commission and be registered as an independent candidate.
The transitional government in Sudan has signed a landmark peace agreement with 13 rebel groups at a function held in Juba, the neighboring South Sudan capital.
The signing of the deal brokered by South Sudan President Salva Kiir on behalf of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) was witnessed by several regional leaders including Kiir himself, his first Vice President, Dr. Riek Machar, Idriss Deby(Chad), Sahle- Work Zewde ( Ethiopia),
Ismail Guelleh(Somalia) Abdel Fatah Burhan(Sudan), Ugandan Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda and several other leaders from United Arab Emirates, Egypt, the African Union, the US and the European Union among others as guarantors.
General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo also known as Hemetti signed the deal on behalf of the Khartoum government whereas each of the 13 rebel factions was represented during the signing ceremony.
It was ululations, cheers and dancing in the background from members of all factions as their representatives put pen to paper following morning to afternoon downpour at the at the John Garang Mausoleum and Freedom Hall.
Speaking at the function, President Kiir hailed the occasion as another milestone reached by Sudan in ensuring peace and stability in the region.
“We are delighted that we have pulled this achievement despite challenges in our country (South Sudan). A few people could imagine a country like ours could play a part in bringing peace to our neighbours,” Kiir said during the function.
Kiir noted that the challenges facing South Sudan could not stop them from helping a neighbor in a bid to bring to an end the conflict which has lasted more than one decade.
“Our mediation role is primarily derived from the notion that Sudanese stability is our stability to. We had to pay a huge debt to Sudan for being a guarantor to our peace agreement,” he said.
Kiir however urged Sudanese nationals to always bear in mind their diverse nation that he said should be a foundation for building peace in their country.
The Ethiopian President, Sahle- Work Zewde applauded the Sudanese government and the rebel factions for accepting to sit on a round table to bring to an end the hostilities in the country which have lasted several years.
“This upholds the African Union motto of African solutions to African problems. This is of great significance in the region since peace in Sudan is peace for the entire region,” Zewde said.
However, at the signing of the peace deal, two other well-established rebel factions including Sudanese People’s Liberation Movement-North(SPLM/N) and Sudanese Liberation Movement were not present.
The South Sudan President, Salva Kiir urged the leaders in Sudan to ensure they bring on board the remaining two factions to ensure total peace in Khartoum.
“I would like to remind Sudanese that work is not yet done. I am urging the Sudanese leaders to ensure to bring on board the other factions which are not here,” Kiir said.
The fallout among individuals who are competing for endorsement by the National Unity Platform (NUP) party in the forthcoming general election is sharp, and the accusations they throw at one another are serious. In Rubaga North, for instance, Mr Moses Kasibante, the incumbent Member of Parliament, has printed posters with the inscription “Rubaga North is not for sale”.
He accuses his rival, Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) speaker Abubaker Kawalya, of pouring money into the constituency to lure voters to his side. Mr Kawalya was elected to KCCA on the ticket of the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) but he fell out with his former party when he was denied endorsement to run for the speaker position last year.
FDC favoured Ms Doreen Nyanjura for the position, but Mr Kawalya mobilised and defeated her. Allegations flew that Mr Kwalya had allied with the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) party councillors, and the deal entailed Mr Bruhan Byaruhanga of NRM being elected deputy speaker of KCCA while Mr Kawalya took the speaker slot.
Mr Kawalya would later cross from FDC to Mr Kyagulanyi’s camp. The allegations have continued. Mr Kasibante has branded Mr Kawalya a fifth columnist, who he says is embedded within the Opposition to work for the ruling party. Mr Kasibante’s campaign pitch is that he faces two NRM candidates in Rubaga North – Lands Minister Beti Kamya who holds the ruling party ticket and Mr Kawalya, who Mr Kasibante accuses of being the “covert” NRM candidate.
“Voters have to be sophisticated and understand that NRM has this time set an overt trap, who is Kamya, and a covert one who is Kawalya. They are free to receive the State money these two will bring but should continue to side with the forces of change which I represent,” Mr Kasibante said. Rubaga North is one of those constituencies which were stood over by the vetting committee of NUP, and another committee sat on Thursday to reconsider the matter.
A final decision on who would represent NUP in Rubaga North and the other constituencies over which decisions regarding flag bearers were deferred, was expected to be announced by the end of yesterday after the sitting of the party’s executive committee. Mr Kasibante, being an incumbent MP, is one of those who are said to have joined NUP having agreed with Mr Kyagulanyi that they would be the party’s flag bearers in their respective constituencies. This suspected arrangement is already causing unease within the party and unsettling Mr Kyagulanyi’s wider support.
For the case of Rubaga North, for instance, Mr Makolo Kavuma, a regular caller into Luganda radio talk shows and supporter of Mr Kyagulanyi, took to Facebook to complain about what he saw as a plot by some players – he named Busiro East MP Medard Lubega Sseggona, Butambala MP Muhammad Muwanga Kivumbi and Masaka Municipality’s Mathias Mpuuga and accused them of trying to influence matters so that Mr Kasibante gets the NUP ticket. Mr Kavuma claimed that Mr Kasibante has not stamped his authority on the constituency and Mr Kawalya has greater appeal and stands a better chance of winning the constituency for NUP.
Mr. Sseggona and Mr Mpuuga plunged into national politics in 2011. Before then they were officials serving in the Kabaka’s government at Mengo, the seat of Buganda Kingdom. The duo is part of a group of Baganda politicians who came together under a pressure group they named Ssuubi 2011 and competed in different electoral areas as they backed Dr Kizza Besigye’s bid for the presidency under a certain arrangement.
The agreement they entered with Dr Besigye, who was the presidential candidate for FDC, was believed to have given Ssuubi 2011 the right to determine candidates for Parliament and local governments within Buganda region, who Dr Besigye would back.
That is when Mr Kasibante emerged as the Ssuubi 2011 candidate for Rubaga North, and he was considered the favourite Opposition candidate for the position even when Mr John Kikonyogo, a member of FDC, was also running in the same constituency.
Mr Kasibante was deemed to have won the election but a series of dramatic acts led NRM’s Katongole Singh to be declared winner, although the courts later reinstated Mr Kasibante as winner and sent him to Parliament without a by-election.
Ssuubi 2011, whose patron was former Buganda Kingdom Katikkiro Mulwanyammuli Ssemwogerere, also included Kira Municipality MP Ibrahim Ssemujju, Mukono Municipality MP Betty Nambooze, Butambala’s Kivumbi, and Kampala Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago, among others.
Those who accuse Mr Sseggona, Mr Kivumbi and Mr Mpuuga of trying to impose Mr Kasibante as the NUP candidate for Lubaga North say the group is doing whatever they are doing paying more attention to the interests of their Ssuubi 2011 group and not necessarily the interests of NUP. The members of Ssuubi 2011 are spread across different political parties, particularly NUP and FDC, and knowledgeable sources say this too is a source of discomfort within the ranks of NUP.
One point of potential fallout is Mr Lukwago, who is running to retain his Lord Mayor position in Kampala. Mr Lukwago recently joined FDC as he finally removed doubt as to whether he would return to DP, having run as an Independent candidate on two previous occasions. NUP has nominated Kampala Woman MP Nabilah Naggayi Sempala to also compete for the Lord Mayor position. Ms Naggayi is into her third term in the MP position, having won on all three occasions standing on the ticket of FDC.
She has had a number of showdowns with FDC over the years, and their relationship was terminated just over a week ago when she joined NUP. Before that, she had tried to run for Lord Mayor on FDC ticket but was rebuffed, with the party saying she returned her nomination papers after the nominations had elapsed. But it had most probably more to do with trust issues than not observing the set deadline.
With Ms Nabilah set to face off with Mr Lukwago for the Lord Mayor position, some NUP members, most notably Mr Kasibante and Ms Nambooze, have made it clear that they will back Mr Lukwago despite not being a member of their party. It is also difficult to see Mr Mpuuga, who is NUP’s vice president for Buganda, and Mr Sseggona, backing Ms Nabilah over Mr Lukwago.
Sources say when Mr Kasibante appeared before the NUP vetting committee for the first time, he was quizzed about who he would back for the Lord Mayor position, and that he responded with a straight face that he would back Mr Lukwago.
Mr Kawalya, who is competing against Mr Kasibante for the NUP ticket, fell out with Mr Lukwago over the KCCA speaker job, which Mr Lukwago wanted to go to FDC’s Nyanjura, who multiple sources say he considers more loyal to the Opposition’s cause.
When Mr Kawalya, in alliance with some Opposition and NRM councillors, defeated Ms Nyanjura to the Speaker position, Mr Lukwago appointed Ms Nyanjura as the secretary in charge Finance and Administration at KCCA. But things were to get even more complicated. Mr Lukwago’s then deputy, Ms Sarah Kanyike, was appointed by President Museveni as a director for Gender, subject to passing an interview by the Public Service Commission.
Ms Kanyike, however, did not qualify for the position of director at KCCA, the commission would later find, because she did not have an advanced degree. When the commission notified the President of that development, the head of state appointed Ms Kanyike State minister for the Elderly and Disabled in the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development, which position she took up.
Sources say that Ms Kanyike, despite being prodded by Mr Lukwago to nominate Ms Nyanjura for the position of Speaker, actually preferred Mr Kawalya, for whom she secretly campaigned among the councillors. Sources say it was during the times of brokering the alliance between Mr Kawalya and the NRM councillors that it was agreed that Ms Kanyike would take up an appointment from Mr Museveni.
Mr Lukwago filled the Deputy Lord Mayor position which Ms Kanyike vacated with Ms Nyanjura. The fallout between Mr Kasibante and Mr Kawalya, therefore, is deeper since Mr Kasibante is seen as being too close to Mr Lukwago. It appears that whoever of the two NUP chooses, the other will run as an Independent.
This would require one to wind the clock back to 2017. Mr Muwada Nkunyingi, a lawyer, was jostling for the FDC ticket for Kyadondo East after the Court of Appeal threw Apollo Kantinti, still of the FDC, out of Parliament.
The grounds of Mr Kantinti’s eviction from Parliament were that the Electoral Commission (EC) had disfranchised a number of voters when it failed to tabulate a number of ballot papers cast, which apparently affected the outcome in a substantial manner. FDC rejected Mr Nkunyingi and stuck with Mr Kantinti, citing party rules which provide that a flagbearer holds the flag for five years.
Mr Robert Kyagulanyi, aka Bobi Wine, too, who was taking baby steps into politics, had the backing of Kasangati Town Council Mayor Tonny Kiyimba Sempebwa. He approached a number of parties for support in his election bid, including FDC and the Democratic Party (DP). FDC declined to support Mr Kyagulanyi, saying it would be unfair to Mr Kantinti, in addition to it being unfair to Mr Kantinti.
Mr Kyagulanyi competed for the seat as an Independent and won by a landslide. He headlined the need for empowering the power of the people, triggering the formation of the People Power movement.
Three years down the road, Mr Nkunyingi has discarded FDC, joined Mr Kyagulanyi’s People Power and later NUP, and has been selected by the new party as its flagbearer for Kyadondo East, the constituency Mr Kyagulanyi represents. This came at the expense of Mr Sempebwa, who had positioned himself as the heir apparent from the moment Mr Kyagulanyi declared that he would run for president in 2021.
The decision has left a wedge between people who supported Mr Kyagulanyi in his constituency, like Mr Sempebwa, and those who joined him later, like Mr Nkunyingi. “Well, many of the people who started here in Kyadondo East have been discarded. Most of the people who were on the president’s [Kyagulanyi] election committee have been dumped,” Mr Sempebwa said in a phone interview.
He added: “But we are here and I will run as an independent. Just like we won with Kyagulanyi in 2017 without the support of any party, I will do it even this time. I will not disturb people in NUP because I know I’m very firm on the ground. I will win.” Mr Sempebwa was until recently a member of DP. He was an ally of Dr Besigye and was instrumental during the 2011 walk -to -work protests.
He moved on to support Mr Kyagulanyi for the presidency once Dr Besigye said he would not run in 2021, and now accuses NUP’s elections management committee of not only corruption but also denying him a fair hearing.
“Not getting the party ticket never came as a surprise to me. I heard that Nkunyingi paid a lot of money to get that ticket, but as you know I don’t have that money. I have to fix roads for my people. And by the way they never called me for the vetting so I don’t know the yardstick they used to say Nkunyingi is better,” Mr Sempebwa said.
Mr Nkunyingi denied buying the ticket. “Anybody who says that should know that I will sue them and they will answer,” the lawyer, who recently asked the Electoral Commission to avail him with President Museveni’s academic documents, threatened. “I was vetted and I think the committee found me to be very articulate and strong in the constituency.”
Mr Jeremiah Keeya Mwanje, the secretary to NUP’s elections management committee, in a phone interview admitted to not being part of the vetting process of the Kyadondo East parliamentary candidates, but insisted Mr Ssempebwa was invited for vetting. “My role was mainly to provide logistics but I’m sure Mr Sempebwa was invited and it was up to him to turn up or not to,” Mr Mwanje said.
Another person who feels he has been thrown under the bus despite supporting Mr Kyagulanyi since 2017 is Samuel Walter Lubega Mukaaku, a former presidential candidate who is eyeing Rubaga South constituency. His opponent, Aloysius Mukasa, has also been accused of doling out cash to secure the ticket.
In August, Mr Mukaaku was sacked by Mr Kyagulanyi from NUP’s electoral body and the declared reason was that he was a candidate and would not impartially decide on the fate of other candidates. But Mr Mukaaku wondered why it was only him who was removed from the vetting committee while some other members who were also candidates stayed put.
Mr Mukaaku has now sided with a group of politicians who aren’t amused with the way NUP has handled the candidate selection process, and he has thrown his weight behind musician Joseph Mayanja, alias Jose Chameleone, for the Lord Mayor position.
Chameleon was nominated this week to run for the position as an Independent, having been denied the NUP ticket. Mr Mukaaku is now said to be a permanent fixture at Chameleone’s office on Balintuma Road, in Mengo, Kampala. He said he will run for Rubaga South MP as in an Independent.
Another NUP dissident, Michael Mabikke, fell short of describing the party that he has just joined, as an NRM butt, and he said the entire vetting process in which he was outwitted by Derrick Nyeko, for the Makindye East slot, was riddled with corruption and tribalism.
“There are people who wear red during the day and go for NRM meetings at night. My opponent, for example, who took the flag, is NRM,” Mr Mabikke said of Mr Nyeko while appearing on NBS TV on Wednesday. “He has been distributing Youth Livelihood funds…” Mr Nyeko is a councillor at KCCA, elected on NRM ticket, but defected to NUP.
Another headache is playing out in the battle of the newly created Nakawa West constituency, which was formed earlier this year after Nakawa Division was cut up into two – with Nakawa East being the other constituency.
The first headache for NUP leaders was when Ronald Balimwezo, the Nakawa Division mayor, decided to run in Nakawa West, putting him on a coalition path with NUP’s mouth piece Joel Ssenyonyi. who is seen as Kyagulanyi’s blue-eyed boy, who was eyeing the seat.
Kyagulanyi intervened and after several meetings, Balimwezo capitulated and agreed to contest in Nakawa East. No sooner was the deal was done than Kenneth Paul Kakande, who has been contesting and losing in Nakawa since 2006 joined NUP as a party member, discarding his DP card.
Kakande sensing that sooner or later the constituency would be divided had started mobilising in Nakawa West, and now having joined NUP, the party yet again was back to square one. This time there was no compromise: Mr. Kakande wasn’t willing to drop out, and neither was Mr. Ssenyonyi. And as per results released by the party on Tuesday night, Mr. Ssenyonyi was the victor.
Mr Kakande has responded by writing a petition poking holes in the decision to give Mr Ssenyonyi the party ticket. According to Mr Kakande, the three yardsticks NUP’s committee used when determining who will be candidate are experience in politics, education levels, and how long a person has been with People Power movement which has now metamorphosed into NUP.
“I have over 20 years’ experience in the struggle of causing change, I have three degrees and many diplomas and I have been with People Power from Kyadondo East, to Jinja [ Jinja East by- election], to Bugiri[ Bugiri Municipality by-election], to Arua [ Arua Municipality by-election],” Mr Kakande said.
“So they are yet to show me how much I scored but I know I was better than my rival.” He added: “I will petition but if they press on with their decision then I will stand as an Independent and the people will decide. This is a young party with several challenges and I won’t disturb them further.” Mr Kakande’s account was disputed by Mr Mwanje, who said that the vetting benchmarks went beyond that.
“We also questioned if the person understood the NUP ideology, we also sent a team of professors from universities to various constituencies to find out who is more popular and the results favoured Ssenyonyi,” Mr Mwanje said without revealing the names of the professors. As if that isn’t enough, NUP is yet to decide over 15 constituencies that once in Buganda but it’s expected the verdict is made it will spark off a storm.
With many of his allies bound to run as Independents in the coming election, Bobi Wine is left with a difficult choice. It is a problem that those who have travelled a similar path in the past have treaded.
Dr Besigye nearly always had allies rivaling for the same constituencies in many of the areas. As a strategy, he would always introduce all the rivals on his side who were standing for the same position and invite voters to pick the best.
Then there was Hajj Nasser Ntege Sebaggala, who died a week ago. In the days he was kingmaker in Kampala, he would always pick one candidate and endorse that one, and would communicate his decision to the voters. It remains to be seen whether Mr Kyagulanyi will adopt the Besigye or Sebaggala approach in dealing with the massive fallout he faces.
Kawempe North constituency is another bother. NUP’s organising secretary Suleiman Kidandala and Kawempe North councillor Muhammad Ssegirinya have nothing to separate them. Kidandala is believed to be more eloquent while Ssegirinya is one of NUP’s biggest mobilisers. They are all hell bent on standing, no matter what NUP’s honchos decide.