Uganda: How Six Unopposed MP Candidates Emerged Victorious

19 October 2020

Six candidates from different constituencies, who emerged unopposed at the end of the nomination exercise for MPs, have narrated reasons behind their victory ahead of the forthcoming General Election.

They include Mr Emely Kugonza, who is the NRM flag bearer for Buyanja East, Kibaale District, Mr Pius Wakabi (NRM), Bugahya County in Hoima District, Mr Hilary Lokwang (NRM), Ik County, Kaabong District.

Others are Ms Lillian Papalu Obiale (NRM) Woman Representative to Parliament, Arua District, Mr Enock Nyongore (NRM), Nakaseke North, Nakaseke District and Gyavira Ssemwanga (NRM) Buyamba County, Rakai District.

The constituencies are part of 530 seats in the 11th Parliament, in which the Electoral Commission (EC) conducted nomination for the aspirants during a two-day exercise, which started on October 15 and ended the following day.

In Rakai, Mr Ssemwanga, who defeated the incumbent MP, Mr Amos Mandera in the NRM primaries, was declared unopposed for the Buyamba Constituency by the Rakai assistant district registrar, Ms Sarah Nabukeera.

He attributed his victory to his works of empowering community Savings and Credit Cooperative Organisations (Saccos) in order to fight household poverty, since 2017.

"As a businessman, I linked up with the electorate since 2017, supporting them to grow their Saccos. This endeared me to them," he said.

Mr Ssemwanga said in order to improve healthcare, he donated an ambulance to help transport pregnant mothers and other sick people to access health centres and hospitals.

"My people appreciated my effort to improve their conditions of living and decided to give me an opportunity to serve them in the capacity of their representative in Parliament," he said.

Mr Ssemwanga, who holds a Bachelor's degree in Development Studies from Makerere University, said he has been able to achieve his dreams due to hard work and dedication.

"As an orphan, after the death of my parents to the HIV/Aids that ravaged Rakai, my future nearly came to a crushing point because of the lack of school fees that often kept me out of school but I hustled to find money through doing different odd jobs," he said.

In the recently created Nakaseke North Constituency, which was curved out of the Nakaseke North, Mr Nyongore, was also declared unopposed by the district registrar, Mr Mike Jjuuko.

Mr Nyongole, who formerly served as district councillor for Ngoma Sub-county and district council speaker between 2006 and 2015, attributed his victory to his pro- people leadership.

"I did not even imagine that I would go through unopposed because some of the people that I defeated in the NRM primaries had expressed interest to run against me as independents but they pulled out," he said.

"When I got confirmation from the district registrar that I had been declared unopposed, my heart was thrilled," Mr Nyongore said.

Mr Lokwang, the incumbent MP for IK county, also went unopposed.

Mr Lokwang made history after he became the first man in the IK community to hold a diploma in social works and social administration.

When Parliament gazetted the county, Mr Lokwang being the only person, who met the academic qualifications, became area MP in 2016.

There are about 11,000 people in the Ik community who live on the mountains of Mt Molungole in Kaabong District.

Mr Lokwang has since lobbied and supported construction of schools and health facilities in his community.

However, Daily Monitor learnt that other contenders for the seat pulled out of the race due to lack of acquired academic requirements for the position.

In the newly created constituency of Buyanja East,Mr Kugonza was declared unopposed.

Buyanja East constituency was created by Parliament this year.

Mr Kugonza, formerly served as the chairperson board, Uganda Investment authority, applauded the electorate for interesting him with leadership to represent them in parliament.

"I thank my voters for entrusting me with this kind of responsibility. I will continue to work for the people to ensure development for all," he said.

Mr Wakabi has also retained his seat after being declared unopposed.

Asked why he has been elected unopposed for the second time, Mr Wakabi said during his tenure in Parliament, he has been addressing pertinent issues that affect Bunyoro without fear.

"I have raised the need for a public university in Bunyoro, land grabbing in Bugahya County, insecurity concerns of fishermen along Lake Albert who are terrorised by Congolese Militia and failure by some tobacco companies to pay their contracted farmers," he said.

Mr Wakabi said he has been supporting grassroot projects that improve the welfare of the ordinary people.

"I have skilled more than 1,000 school dropouts who have attained skills in tailoring, weaving, construction and hair dressing," he said.

Mr Wakabi's grandfather, Dr James Rujumba, was on the team that negotiated for Uganda's independence and the return of the counties of Buyaga and Bugangaizi to Bunyoro that had been annexed to Buganda following the 1900 Buganda agreement.

His father, Mr Kiiza Erifaz Rujumba also served as Hoima vice chairman and also district NRM administrator.

Compiled by Fred Wambede, Dan Wandera, Steven Ariong, Ambrose Musasizi, Alex Ashaba, Francis Mugerwa

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