Hoima Elects its First Female Mayor

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The political opposition is counting its loss today as Forum for Democratic Change strongman, Francis Atungonza, sees the end of his reign at the helm of municipal politics in Hoima town. Results from elections in Hoima indicate that Atugonza, one of the only opposition mayors in the entire western Uganda, has been defeated by Grace Mary Mugasa of the National Resistance Movement. The win makes Mugasa the only female mayor in the entire country. Mugasa fought a tough war to win the Hoima mayoral race. She faced stiff opposition from Atugonza who was the acting mayor and David Maxwell Kaboyo, the chairperson of the NRM in Hoima Municipality. During the early vote count on Wednesday, Atugonza was in the lead. His supporters mainly comprised of young men, celebrated through the streets of Hoima. They were shocked when the district returning officer, Erasmus Kimbowa, announced that Mary Mugasa had won the vote. Mugasa, a former secretary for education and health in the Hoima municipal executive committee, trounced Atugonza and Kaboyo in the rural divisions of Mparo, Busiisi and Bujumbura to secure her win. The tally gave her 46 percent of the votes, while Atugonza managed 36 percent of the votes cast. Kaboyo, who served as LC3 chairman of Hoima Town Council between 1996 and 2006, obtained 17 percent of the votes. By the time the results were announced, the votes of only one polling station had not been counted. The returning officer said it was likely that this would not affect the outcome of the election. The victory by NRM in Hoima municipality deals a strong blow to the opposition in Bunyoro. Atugonza's position in the municipality had been a springboard for the FDC to launch its campaign in the region. His loss implies that the opposition parties have lost all key parliamentary and local council elections. Robert Byaruhanga, one of Mugasa's campaign coordinators, says he isn't surprised by her victory. He says she enjoys considerable support on the ground. The FDC offices in Duhaga were deserted last night. None of the party officials was willing to speak to the media about the elections. ###