The Observer (Kampala)

Uganda: Kamuli Poll - Kadaga a Major Power Broker

The electoral commission (EC) will tomorrow hold its last briefing ahead of the by-election to pick the next district chairperson for Kamuli due on November 29, 2012.

However, back in Kamuli the slugfest is turning into a fight for Speaker Rebecca Kadaga's stamp of approval. The major candidates in the campaign are NRM's Thomas Kategere and FDC's Proscovia Salaamu Musumba. And their backers are closely watching the speaker for pointers to her leaning.

President Museveni:

The NRM chairman, President Museveni is reportedly worried that Salaamu Musumba could win this election. During a meeting with councillors from Kamuli on November 6, 2012 at State House, Museveni is reported to have said: "Musumba is still dangerous, but she is not as poisonous as she was then."

He made an early pitch for Kategere.

Rebecca Kadaga:

Apart from being Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga is also the district Woman MP. Kadaga and Kategere have been at loggerheads since the latter joined politics. In the last electoral battle between Ahmed Kawooya Kawugu Mugaino and Musumba, the speaker was reportedly hurt that Kategere supported the eventual winner - Mugaino.

However, in a bid to mend fences, Kategere recently knelt down and apologized to Rebecca Kadaga in public for the "wrongs" he committed. However, Kadaga, who was chief guest at the Independence day celebrations at Bulopa, did not respond to any of Kategere's pleas, an act that left many puzzled. By contrast, Kadaga and Salaamu Musumba have for long moved together at parties and fundraising events.

Asuman Kiyingi:

The state minister for regional affairs has twice had a bitter contest with Salaamu Musumba for Bugabula South constituency. In 2006, Musumba lost to Asuman Kiyingi, then a new entrant onto the political scene. In 2011, Kiyingi again won the battle. So, Kiyingi is now fighting tooth-and-nail for Kategere.

Martin Muzaale Mugabi Kisuule:

Muzaale is the current MP for Buzaaya county after trouncing Isaac Musumba, who had been the area MP since 1995. Musumba is the husband to Proscovia Salaamu Musumba and is reportedly worried that a win for Salaamu Musumba would give her husband a toe hold for a comeback in 2016.

Thomas Kategere:

Like Musumba, the former district councillor for Kitayunjwa sub-county is known to speak his mind freely. This has earned Kategere the nickname "people's dog" for speaking out against corruption in Kamuli. At his campaign rallies, Kategere has vowed to fight corrupt civil servants. In the process, Kategere has been criticized for verbal attacks against some NRM bigwigs.

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