Uganda: Nup Candidate Pulls Out of Bundibugyo Woman MP Race

4 December 2020

By Longino Muhindo

The National Unity Platform Bundibugyo Woman Member of Parliament candidate, Ms Harriet Musumba, this week pulled out of the competition, leaving two candidates in the race.

The candidates include the incumbent, Ms Josephine Babungi (NRM), and former Bundibugyo Woman MP Harriet Ntabazi (Independent).

The Electoral Commission district returning officer, Mr Robert Kunihira, confirmed to Daily Monitor that he received a letter about Ms Musumba's withdrawal.

He said it was delivered by the NUP district chairperson, Mr Franklin Muhindo.

Commenting on her withdraw, Ms Musumba said elders from her clan had requested her to pull out of the race. "They thought my candidature might trigger another round of violence like it was the case in 2016," she said.

Ms Musumba did not elaborate on how her candidature would culminate into violence but the voting pattern in Bundibugyo has been influenced by ethnic patterns in the past.

"Although I have withdrawn from the race, I still remain a member and supporter of my party (NUP) and lam still mobilising support for it," she added.

Ms Ntabazi, who was woman MP between 2011 and 2016, was in the past defeated thrice by Ms Babungi in the party primaries of 2015 and 2020 and in the 2016 General Election.

Previously, the seat was held by Ms Aidah Bikorwenda from 1996 to 2001 and 2001 to 2006 before Ms Jane Alisemera came in between 2006 to 2011 but lost to Ms Ntabazi in a hotly contested race in 2011.

WHAT ANALYSTS SAY

Mr Ibrahim Baluku, an opinion leader, says Ms Musumba's withdrawal gives Ms Babungi an advantage in the race because Ms Musumba comes from the Bakonjo community which is a block vote for Ms Babungi and Musumba's candidature would tilt the ground in favour of Ms Ntabazi. But Ms Babungi refuted the claims saying: "That version is not true because in the NRM primaries, I defeated five candidates who included Bonabana Rosemary Mbambu also a Mukonjo from Bughendera. She had 2.5 per cent while I had more than 50 per cent."

Prof Swizen Kyomuhendo, an elder and analyst of Bundibugyo politics saId the voting pattern is no longer about party affiliation but basically a multifaceted divide between the lowland and upland communities.

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