Former Bugabula North Lawmaker Proscovia Salaamu Musumba has in a twist of events announced she will be taking on the Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Alitwaala Kadaga in the race for Kamuli Woman MP seat come next year.
The Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) second Vice President for Eastern Uganda who has since returned her expression of interest forms to Najjanankumbi will now wait for a decision from Najjanankumbi to confirm whether she will be the one to take on Kadaga – the arguably most feared politician in the country after President Museveni on behalf of Uganda’s main opposition political party.
In a telephone conversation with this news website last night, Musumba confirmed the reports of her interest in Kadaga’s seat but downplayed allegations of political rivalry between her and the speaker stressing that she has opted to run for the office simply because her views and those of the speaker are different.
“Its true I am interested in the seat and I have already expressed my interest for the position within my party. It still remains a decision of the party to take but if they say yes, then i will certainly go all the way to the ballot, she said.
” Rivalry! Me and Kadaga! No. Everyone know how close we have been. We have enjoyed a very friendly relationship and i feel that has not changed up to now. My decision is not based on emotions but rather a difference in beliefs and methods of work between me and my elder sister. To be precise, i have no issues with Rebecca[Kadaga] as a person. I only have a different dream about the Kamuli i wish to see.” She continued in response to allegations of rivalry between the two.
The Speaker of Parliament has already made her intent of pushing her reign in Kamuli for another 5 years having represented the same constituency since 1996. That means that by the time elections are held next year, Kadaga will have been a Member of Parliament for Kamuli for 25 years.
Kadaga had also served in the post NRA bush war government as a Minister since 1989 before she was voted to the Constituent Assembly in 1994 – 95.
On most of the occasions since 1996, Kadaga had always had soft paths back to the house often brushing off relatively mediocre challenges from mainly Naigaga Kalikwani in the early 2000s and FDC’s Proscivia Naikoba Kanakutanda.
2021 will however be an unprecedented challenge for the woman who has enjoyed political untouchability for decades both in Kamuli and Busoga alike, a fact that must by now be running in Kadaga’s mind now for a number of reasons.
Firstly, being a Member of Parliament for 25 years is quite a long time. This implies that Musumba has tactically waited and struck at just the right time. The people of Kamuli must naturally be tired of having to see the same face for generations at the expense of others who seem to have been suffocated by Kadaga’s insatiable appetite for power.
Unlike the other opponents that have challenged Kadaga in the past, Musumba is an experienced political leader with a voice that is heard in all the corners of the district. As the first female to head a district local council in the country, Musumba set a record with her impeccable transparency and unquestionable service delivery which made her a darling of the people of Kamuli. She is credited for having fearlessly fought for a fair compensation for the people whose land was taken for the construction of the Isimba power dam where over 10000 residents were affected.
Musumba is also credited for having effectively put to use the donor funds that were used to build a wonderful tarmac road Network, making Kamuli town one of the most tarmacked towns in the country.
Besides, Musumba’s glorious days in the 7th Parliament has been making Kamuli residents thirsting for more from the most powerful woman in the opposition FDC.
As a young legislator, Musumba turned down the chance to eat big in Museveni’s cabinet – an opportunity that Kadaga held onto and the rest is now history. In the process, the eternal Museveni critic whose democratic values couldn’t be compromised went in league with Col Kizza Besigye on a liberation journey that has spanned on for nearly two decades.
To many, her’s is a character worthy cherishing. As such, Kamuli voters saw it deserving that she gets rewarded with the district chairperson’s office in 2011, a position that had been a rare preserve for men in the country.
Throughout her reign, Kadaga has fought and won many wars on the political front, a fit that has awarded her an indomitable status at both the regional and national level. She however faces Musumba at her weakest. Kadaga has fought many wars which will certainly make her vulnerable before a challenger of Musumba’s stature. Musumba is a proven political strategist whose prior closeness to Kadaga will definitely place her in an advantageous position before an enemy whose strategies she has studied to perfection over the years.
Besides, the speaker has earned lots of political rivals in Busoga which will most likely gift Musumba with incidental allies ahead of the conquest. Kadaga’s public antagonism with Minister Namuganza in 2018 left behind a divided population in Busoga. Besides Namuganza, the Speaker’s relationship with NRM Secretary General Justine Kasule Lumumba has been a frosty one yet Musumba has enjoyed a commendable closeness to the former, only divided along political lines.
Naturally, Lumumba would be comfortable with a friendly Musumba from the opposition than a hostile Kadaga though she is from NRM – the party she serves as administrative head. It will therefore not be a surprise to see Kasule directly or indirectly rooting for Musumba to have Kadaga ejected.
Musumba, just like Kadaga is a true Kyabazinga loyalist. She is on record for having been an invaluable force behind the coronation of the current Busoga King “Isebantu” Wilberforce Gabula Nadiope IV. For this, Kyabazinga loyalists who have always waited for an opportunity to reward the FDC strongwoman might see this as an heaven sent one at the expense of Kadaga who many feel has been rewarded enough.
Musumba should however not take anything for granted. Kadaga has always a queen of the political game, often shocking naysayers by turning her fortunes at such times when odds seem against her. Her victory over perennial rivals – Hajji Ahammed Kaugu Mugaino and Minister Ali Kirunda Kivejinja are live example she ought to revisit. That shows that there is a lot of work to be done if she is to finally realise her dream of kicking Busoga’s longest serving Member of Parliament.
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