Kawempe North MP Latif Ssebagala Ssengendo’s recent revelation that he will not stand as a candidate in the race for Kampala City mayor has left many members of the People Power pressure group who had hopes in him cursing.
Months ago, Ssebagala had announced that he will no longer contest in the race for Kawempe North Parliamentary seat but will instead seek to unseat Erias Lukwago, the Kampala Lord Mayor, from office in 2021. Ssebagala, a Democratic Party (DP) leaning member of parliament, had even quickly embraced the People Power wave, and was often seen alongside its leader and Kyadondo East MP Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu aka Bobi Wine, including addressing press conferences with him.
The current Lord Mayor Lukwago is an ally of opposition strongman Dr Kizza Besigye who many like Ssebagala thought would become irrelevant because of Bobi Wine’s popularity. Political observers argue that Ssebagala thought that Bobi Wine would rise above Besigye and make Lukwago (who is Besigye’s deputy president at the People’s Government – PG) less popular among Kampala voters, something he thought would give him a chance in the 2021 mayoral election.
However, Ssebagala seems to have realised that Lukwago may not be as easy to defeat as he had thought and that his ally Dr Besigye was not as weak as some had been made to believe, political observers further argue, adding that it is this realisation that made Ssebagala change his mind and eat his own words, deciding to go back and fight for his seat in Kawempe North instead of risking to be embarrassed in a mayoral election.
In a recent media interview, Ssebagala announced that he has decided to stand for another term as Kawempe North MP. His previous announcement that he will stand for mayor had brought politicians like Councillor Muhammad Segirinya, former deputy lord mayor Sulaiman Kidandala and Shifrah Lukwago among others, into the race to replace him. It was even said that he had endorsed Kidandala as his best successor.
People Power is now hunting for another prominent and seasoned politician to contest with Lukwago in the Kampala elections which will be held next year. Meanwhile, the DP Bloc seems to have settled on singer and former President Yoweri Museveni supporter Joseph Mayanja aka Jose Chameleone who crossed to Democratic Party and was appointed a mobiliser.
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