29 November 2012

Uganda: Musumba Takes On NRM in Kamuli By-Election

Kamuli — Candidates for Kamuli seat have cast their vote with Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) vice president Salaamu Musumba and NRM flag-bearer Thomas Kategere as clear favorites.

The other six vying for the key position are Kaloli Dhizaala, Michael Kifubangabo, Charles Isanga, Fred Kamaniro, Fred Bamutiire and Ibrahim Mbadhi.

President Museveni on Tuesday campaigned for Thomas Kategere, addressing a series of rallies in Kamuli district, where he cautioned residents against voting for the opposition.

Museveni addressed rallies in Namasagali sub-county, at Naminage and in Kasambira township on the Kamuli-Jinja highway.

Speaking at Kavule Primary School in Namasagali, he said electing Musumba would be a blunder for Kamuli, whose district council has over 90% NRM councillors.

He also described as misleading, claims that some NRM members had vowed to vote 'independently' by voting against Kategere.

Musumba hopes to resurrect her political career that has been in a lull, so to speak.

The last time the once very vocal Musumba participated in an election was when her party was electing a flag bearer for the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) slot.

The party had three slots for the take, but opposition bickering over the small number of seats as compared to the six of the ruling NRM caused them to abscond from the process.

The opposition then forged an alliance to boycott the EALA election, but it did not hold, as Uganda People's Congress and Democratic Party defied the alliance and sent their representatives.

Back at FDC, Musumba cried foul as she claimed the process was flawed to eliminate her. FDC secretary general Alice Alaso taunted her, wondering how she, at the level of a party VP, could run for what she termed a small post.

Anita Among took the female slot while former IGG Augustine Ruzindana took the other. Musumba then claimed the process, which turned out the be chaotic, was flawed in favour of Among.

Today Musumba hopes to bounce back into an active office at the beckoning of her electorates, according to her. Musumba's political clout started to wane when she lost her parliamentary seat in 2006.

She contested and lost the Bugabula South seat twice to Asuman Kiyingi, the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs in Charge of Regional Cooperation.

The Kamuli LCV seat fell vacant last year when court nullified the election of Kawugu Kawooya over the lack of academic qualifications.

Meanwhile, the Police have beefed up security in Kamuli district ahead of the byelection.

On Wednesday, the Police ferried personnel from neighbouring Busoga districts such as Jinja, Iganga, Namutumba, Luuka and Buyende to reinforce manpower to oversee security during the polls.

The force has pitched camp at Kamuli Township Primary School adjacent to Kamuli Central Police Station in Kamuli town from where the Police director of operations and assistant inspector general of Police, Grace Turyagumanawe, briefed them about the exercise on Tuesday morning.

The briefing was attended by the South Eastern regional Police commander, Ben Mubangizi, the South Eastern Police spokesperson, Samson Lubega and Jinja district Police commander Jonathan Musinguzi.

Turyagumanawe said they had deployed personnel from the Criminal Intelligence and Investigations Directorate, and those charged with public order and management.

He added that patrols have been enhanced throughout Kamuli town and other sub-counties, while speedboats have been improvised on Lake Kyoga and River Nile to check wrong elements who could use the water bodies to sneak into the district and disrupt the voting exercise.

"We would like to have a peaceful exercise free of violence, intimidation and bribery of voters. We have enough personnel to cover all the 13 sub-counties," he said.

Meanwhile, two people from the FDC camp on Tuesday night raided CIBEAT Hotel in Kamuli town targeting the NRM electoral commission chairman, Prof Elijah Mushemeza, who they accused of keeping some electoral material

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