Uganda: Rakai Leaders Clash Over Museveni's Cancelled Visit

25 January 2019

A row has erupted among politicians in Rakai District over President Museveni's cancelled visit to the area about a fortnight ago.

Mr Museveni was expected to visit Rakai on January 17 but he never showed up.

A day before, information reached district leaders of how the President was not going to visit the area, a move that saw leaders and the organisers start trading blame of who could have frustrated the President's visit.

Some politicians in the district, mainly from the ruling National Resistance Movement, blamed the cancelation on infighting among the local politicians.

The Rakai District chairperson, Mr Benon Mugabi, is currently at loggerheads with area MPs including; Mr Amos Mandela (Buyamba County), Mr Boaz Kasirabo (Kooki County) and Ms Juliet Ssuubi Kinyamatama (Woman MP), who he accuses of not supporting the district development programmes.

On the other hand, the legislators are accusing Mr Mugabi of fronting rival politicians to contest against them in the 2021 parliamentary elections.

According to Mr Charles Mubiru, the Resident District Commissioner, there were earlier preparations to host the President in the district but said he needed to contact Mr Mugabi to know what exactly went wrong.

"We held a security meeting today [Wednesday] and I expected Mr Mugabi to explain to us what exactly went wrong because it's through him that we got information that the President was coming. It's unfortunate that he did not attend," he said.

Mr Gyaviira Ssemwanga, a political activist in Kagamba Sub-county, said the President's visit was frustrated by MPs who feared that the district chairperson could 'steal the show'.

"We are just two years to the general elections and the MPs fear that if Mugabi brings the President here, he will gain popularity," he said during an interview on Wednesday with this newspaper


However, Mr Mandela rubbished Mr Gyaviira's assertion, saying reports about President Museveni's visit to the district were a creation of Mr Mugabi's camp to hoodwink residents that he was bringing development projects to the area, which was not the case.

"As area MPs, we could have got firsthand information if indeed the President was to come. Whoever spreads such rumours, had his own selfish motives," Mr Mandela said.

When contacted, Mr Mugabi said the President's visit was postponed to March due to his busy schedule.

"We wrote to the President in November last year, inviting him to celebrate with us the social and economic development day in Rakai. He [President] accepted and the State House team confirmed. But due to his busy schedule, the visit has since been postponed to March," he explained.

During last year's Independence celebrations at Kasasa grounds in the neighbouring Kyotera District, Mr Mugabi was one of the people, Mr Museveni accorded a golden jubilee medal.

The disagreements between the area MPs and the district chairperson, have since spilled over to councillors and sub-county chairpersons.

Mr Don Wanyama, the Senior Presidential Press secretary when contacted, explained that he is not aware of any planned Rakai visit.

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