Bunyoro Voters Weigh Campaign Rally Speeches

1231 Views Hoima, Uganda
An informed voter is a smart voter, so goes the saying in political communication. This is already gaining ground in Bunyoro region, where the voters there are beginning to weigh the messages by opposition presidential candidates. Inter-party cooperation presidential candidate, Kizza Besigye and his UPC counterpart, Olara Otunnu, were last week in Bunyoro, both with the same mission - "Give me your Vote, I will bring change". Bunyoro did not feature significantly as a battleground for votes during the 2006 campaigns, but the story has changed. The discovery of oil there has given the candidates a rallying point. Both Besigye and Otunnu pledged to grant Bunyoro a share from the oil revenue and to improve the road infrastructure. Both criticized the ruling NRM party of running down Bunyoro, rendering it one of the most impoverished regions in Uganda. But the voters in Bunyoro say they want a strong change. Joshua Kasangaki, a social worker, says Besigye is using the Oil pitch to woo voters. He doubts Besigye's ability to alter the terms of the exploration agreements, of which he was not part of. John Atuhairwe, Chairman Hoima Drivers Forum, argues that the presidential candidates should not even rally behind the oil exploration, because commitments made now could backfire. Many other voters however argue that the attacks on the incumbent president, should not feature in any campaign message. They want concrete messages that can help them make an informed decision to effect the change they cherish. John Byenkya, a businessman in Hoima however says that he agrees with all plans by the opposition candidates. He claims that the NRM government has not benefited Bunyoro as manifested through the poor infrastructure and poverty. Byenkya argues that his measurement of poverty, by the number of people that turn up at his shop has remained constant and his hope lies in the opposition candidates who have promised change. The businessman wants a Tarmacked road that entirely benefits Bunyoro, citing the Kyenjojo-Kigumba-Masindi road. The opposition in Bunyoro is walking with their heads high. Omuhereza Ayebale Kanyarutoke, the Kibaale FD C Chairman Besigye was overwhelmed by the support accorded to him. Kanyarutoke says Bunyoro is not happy with the current government's failure to grant its oil share and the way it has dealt with the ethnic divisions in Kibaale and Buliisa districts. He predicts a 50% win for the IPC in Bunyoro in the next elections. But for the ruling NRM there is little to worry about. Yunus Mugabe, the Hoima NRM general secretary says NRM is strong in the region saying it would win 90% in Bunyoro. Mugabe accuses Besigye of copying the NRM programs especially on road infrastructure. He says the NRM government plans to tarmac the Kaiso-Tonya and Kyenjojo-Kigumba-Masindi roads and has already tarmacked the Hoima-Busunju road. He warns UPC's Otunnu against what he calls reckless comments on Oil exploration in Bunyoro.


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