As the country prepares for it’s sixth general elections under the 1995 constitution, a number of people have already expressed interest to run for the Presidency and other elective positions.
With the EC reporting recently that over 40 people have so far informed them of their interest to vie for the Presidency, 2021 will most likely present an exciting unprecedented political experience with the nine in the 2016 elections being the highest number on a single presidential ballot since independence.
People Power leader Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu aka Bobi Wine is one of the first people to have declared intention to face off with incumbent Gen. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni next year.
At the start of this year, Kyagulanyi had sought permission from the EC to conduct his nationwide consultations in a bid to prepare for his presidential candidature. He was however blocked by security despite being permitted by the Byabakama – led Commission.
Having realised that reaching out to his voters wouldn’t be an easy task as a true student of past events, Bobi Wine deployed his newly created Walukambe – led National Elections Management Commissioners to storm Busoga with strict instructions to carry out covert operations undetected by the country’s high-handed security agencies.
Led by the Commission’s Vice Chairperson Samuel Lubega Mukaaku who had stood in for Chairperson Mercy Walukamba, the operation began with a meeting in Walukuba in Jinja on Friday 3 with coordinators from all the eleven districts of Busoga sub region and prospecting contestants in next year’s elections.
In the Walukuba meeting the commissioners briefed their delegates on a range of activities that would be carried out during the visit which would continue into all the districts and Constituencies of the subregion.
Hajji Musa Misango, one of the commissioners on the visiting team told his attentive audience that the meeting was part of a wider process through which candidates seeking to get people power’s endorsement in next year’s elections would be identified.
According to Misango,15 member committees were to be formed at the regional and district levels, following which would be similar structures at the Constituency down to the sub counties.
Besides the ten positions that were elected last year, the leadership structures were to be boosted with five new positions for effective mobilisation and election management. These include; Security Officer, political intelligence officer, candidates whip, welfare and entertainment and an elections manager.
District registrars and their Deputies would also be appointed to manage the process of issuing and receiving back expression of interest forms at the district level in the two weeks the exercise will be running. Since the office would run for only two weeks, the same people would be deployed as elections managers after their first appointments are served to expiry on July 17th .
After the Jinja meeting, the group dispersed with a resolution to comb through all the eleven districts of Busoga, starting with Kamuli, Buyende and Kaliro on the first day of the field tour on Saturday 4 where meetings were held in each and every Constituency of the said districts.
In each of the meetings, the Commissioners were greeted by a big number of enthusiastic People Power election aspirants at the different electoral levels and structural leaders.
Areas like Jinja and Iganga were a bit confrontational as there were more than one strong candidate in a number of positions making the process contentious after earlier efforts at dialogue had stalled.
In Iganga for instance, the district PP Coordinator Mr Lulenzi Bamu had earlier given way for Mr. Waiswa Denis and Regional Legal Officer Mr Muganga Francis for the Municipality MP seat, settling to the Mayoral seat in the process.
The two were however joined by another contender Mr. Kisubi Ezra in the same race which further complicated the efforts towards reconciliation. They were however given up to a week to reach an agreement or else a decision would be made at the secretariat in Kampala.
In both Kigulu North and South Constituencies, the process was calm with Mr Eddy Lugwiire and Ronald Kagyerero looked almost certain to get endorsement for their respective Constituencies.
The activities went on unhindered throughout the region save for Iganga where security had received intelligence about the meeting ahead and swung into action at a venue where the leaders were to converge. It was however moved to a different location and deliberations went on as earlier programmed.
In Bugweri, the work had been eased for the commissioners thanks to the able organised leadership of the EC chief Mercy Walukamba who is also set to contest for the district woman MP seat next year.
Tensions between Mr Mercelino Egesa Mangeni and Mr Abubakar Lyavaala for the Bugiri LCV seat seemed to have subsided as the two had reportedly held round table talks with an amicable resolution eminent.
By close of the constituency visits,15 member leadership structures had been put in place from regional to Constituency level in all the districts. The district structures were tasked to oversee the election of similar structures at the sub county level conjunction with the constituency people power leadership within two weeks.
The sub county structures would then oversee the formation of election protection committees at both ward/ parish and village levels which would be charged with grassroot mobilisation and vote protection.
The tour was concluded with a review meeting in Jinja where an assessment was done about the committee’s findings from all the districts of the region.
In his closing remarks, the People Power EC chairperson Mrs Mercy Teefe Walukamba hailed the activists for their untiring efforts towards the struggle and appealed to them to take a center stage in the struggle since the Principal – Robert Kyagulanyi has already demonstrated his good intentions for the people of Busoga by appointing many Basoga in big positions in the struggle such as Bugiri Municipality MP Asuman Basalirwa, Bigirwa, Commissioner Musa Misango and herself as EC chief.
She vowed to work hand in hand with the new structures to make sure that victory in next year’s elections would go to People Power to realise the much needed political change in Uganda.
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