Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) party candidate, Winnie Kiiza emerged winner of the elections when she polled 97,669 votes, while her closest rival Rehema Muhindo of the NRM polled 59,946 votes. The NRM support in the district appears to have declined since the February 2011 elections in which the same candidate got 90,624 against Kiiza’s 92,108 votes.
National Resistance Movement—NRM supporters in Kasese district have spoken out on what could have been the reasons for the ruling party’s poor show in Wednesday’s parliamentary by-election.
Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) party candidate, Winnie Kiiza emerged winner of the elections when she polled 97,669 votes, while her closest rival Rehema Muhindo of the NRM polled 59,946 votes.
The NRM support in the district appears to have declined since the February 2011 elections in which the same candidate got 90,624 against Kiiza’s 92,108 votes.
Supporters are now blaming the district NRM officials for the loss.
George Masereka, a former campaign agent of Muhindo, says that the party officials were silent on the ethnic conflicts between the Basongora and the Bakonzo, which was interpreted to mean that they were siding with the Basongora community.
He says that when the Basongora installed their own cultural leader, Ivan Rutakirwa Bwebale on July 1, some NRM party officials like James Mbahimba, the Kasese Municipality mayor publicly congratulated the Basongora, a move that angered the Bakonzo, who are the majority in the district.
He says that the installation of Rutakirwa was a threat to the Bakonzo culture and the Bakonzo decided to unite.
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David Makanika blames the Defense Minister Crispus Kiyonga, whom he accused of not doing his work as NRM District chairperson. He says that Kiyonga is supposed to do mobilization of NRM party supporters and also address problems affecting the party, which he hasn’t done.
According to Makanika, Kiyonga first opposed the recognition of the Bakonzo cultural institution, but then later supported it. However, Makanika says that Kiyonga didn’t come out to support the Bakonzo, when the Basongora installed their cultural leader.
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On Monday, at the last campaign rally of Muhindo at Nyakasanga playground, President Museveni told NRM supporters to put aside their differences with Kiyonga, and vote for the NRM party candidate. Museveni promised to address the grievances the voters have against Kiyonga.
Beatrice Mbambu, an NRM supporter, says that the party leadership in the district should be overhauled, because they are incompetent.
Mbambu also says that religion helped Winnie emerge winner. She says that since Kiiza is a catholic and they are the majority in the district, they decided to vote for her.
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Uganda Radio Network failed to get a comment from Kiyonga or any other district NRM party official. Their phones were switched off, while the party offices located in Kasese town were also closed.