Away from the heartbreaking withdrawal from the Kampala City Lord Mayor race just days after being endorsed by the National Unity Platform party recently, Kawempe North MP Latif Sebaggala’s political controversies do not seem to be ending soon.
Although it’s the withdrawal that irked NUP fanatics to their marrows, it’s his constant shifting of goal posts that ought to have opened the eyes of party Electoral Commission before entrusting him with the party flag for Kampala ahead of a more committed and loyal Joseph Mayanja.
Prior to the shameful incident, Latif had on more than three times declared this would be his last term as a Member of Parliament and thus made it clear his attention would be drawn towards City Hall in next year’s election.
He would keep on changing positions on a regular basis with 5 October being the latest time he had announced that he will be running for Kawempe North seat again.
Prior, he had surprisingly appeared for the vetting exercise and was controversially declared winner for Kampala Lord Mayor flag amid protests from his closest rival Joseph Mayanja aka Chameleone who alleged unfairness from the Elections Management Committee.
With the announcement that he had quit the Mayoral race, it had became very clear that the NUP flag for Kawempe was out of reach. And indeed, comic politician Muhammad Ssegirinya emerged the eventual winner after defeating former Deputy Kampala City Mayor Sulaiman Kidandala.
Latif’s next move had for quite a time left many guessing with some projecting that the four time Kawempe North MP would opt to give active politics a break so as to plan his next move while in a political sabbatical leave.
Others had believed that Mr Sebaggala could have been eyeing the East African Legislative Assembly slot which they strongly believe he would be able to scoop being the non confrontational opposition politician he has been throughout his 20 years in Parliament. This would give him important allies from the ruling side for the slot in EALA.
Whereas negotiating a truce with NUP for support when the time comes was still a possibility, Sebaggala’s decision to pull out of the Kampala Mayorship race must have won him invaluable allies from the opposition Forum for Democratic Change who too would consider repaying him for saving their new member Erias Lukwago from a possible eviction from City Hall.
His unbecoming conduct at the burial of his brother – the fallen former City Mayor Nasser Ntege Sebaggala however didn’t serve him any good for the EALA purposes.
Ssebagala was in the limelight for blocking President Yoweri Museveni’s envoy Ambassador Abbey Walusimbi, Moses Ali and Kirunda Kivejinja from speaking at Seya’s burial eventhough he very well knew that the deceased had enjoyed a good working relationship with the ruling establishment where he served as a Presidential Advisor for quite some time.
Some analysts have argued that desperate for a political stage to erase his Mayoral incident of betrayal, Sebaggala’s unusual conduct might have been intended to appease NUP members whom he strongly believes he will need for his next course of action.
The move could have however boomeranged as it seemingly fell short of serving it’s intended purpose while also scaring away any sympathisers from NRM who won’t easily forgive him for the humiliation caused.
Unfortunately, all those were just speculations. Sebaggala would not see things from that angle and unexpectedly, he announced through a presser on Monday 5 that he would contest to retain his seat on an independent ticket.
Eventhough he made it known that NUP’s presidential candidate Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu will be his candidate of choice, it still seems insufficient to convince the aggrieved urban voters to change their minds in his favor.
As things remain now, Sebaggala’s glorious 2 decades of representation seem headed for a crashing end at the hands of Ssegirinya.
To avoid the humiliation it would come with, it would be wise for the DP defector to pull out of the race for Kawempe and instead negotiate a deal with NUP to secure their support for the EALA come next year.
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