In what has now been clearly interpreted by the world, as revenge against the top organ of the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) Central Executive Committee (CEC)’s decision to ring-fence East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) by-election, majority of the party’s members of parliament on Friday dumped former minister of state for Tourism, Godfrey Kiwanda, while others absconded from the voting exercise.
According to the earlier opinion polls, NRM’s Ambrose Murangira was leading the race after several Mps claimed they had opted to supporting him given his credibility, exposure, steadfastness and experience in international affairs.
CEC declared Friday July 16 as the date for EALA by-elections at Kololo Independence Ground in Kampala after it trimmed 20 people from the list of 26 candidates that had expressed interest in the position which went vacant in April this year after the death of Hon. Matthias Kasamba who was also the NRM Director of Mobilization and Training, the position that was given to the former Wakiso district Woman Member of Parliament Rosemary Sseninde last night.
Among those barred is Murangira, after a group behind Kiwanda was reportedly pushing to have weaker contenders, but they were politically slaughtered when majority Mps voted for former MP for Kabula County, Mr. James Kakooza as many of their colleagues abstained from the voting exercise.
Although Muarangira will be contesting for the slot reserved for independents next year currently occupied by Suzan Nakawuki who is serving her last term, this website has been told that in what has been termed a protest by over 80 NRM MPs who favored the former abstained from voting while 93 elected Kakooza , giving Kiwanda a Political knockout.
‘’The reasons we wanted Murangira are clear .As a ruling party we not only need young Turks but hardworking and competent leaders .Most of us were disappointed that’s why out of about 318 Mps only 237 turned up. And those who voted decided to dump Kiwanda because his group thought they would block stronger opponents and leave weaker contenders to give him a safe landing which we couldn’t allow. If NRM is to stay here, we need democracy for all’’, said one of the female Mps from Teso sub-region.
Another male MP from Nakasongla District opened to this reporter that a group of legislators were disappointed when CEC ring-fenced the by –election.
‘’We couldn’t step at Kololo when Murangira was not on the ballot paper .Not all CEC members supported the ring fencing of this by election they had to follow the majority. Mzee has been known as a champion of Nationalism and Pan-Africanism .This mistake to ring fence the EALA by election was against what he has been fighting ‘’, a legislator who preferred anonymity said.
Unconfirmed reports indicate that Kiwanda had confidence in CEC to just hand pick him but to avoid legal implications, the organ binned this move.
‘’CEC and Kiwanda then focused on preventing the most popular candidate Ambrose Murangira who has been living in Wakiso for over 20yrs. Ambrose who actually registered as a Wakiso residence was told that it can’t make him a Muganda. This also happened to Prof. Kagonyera who protested that he has been living in Buganda and paying all respects to the King even before some of other ‘Baganda’ were born’’, alleged a source.
Some Mps also were angered Kiwanda group misinformed the country through radios, TVs and newspapers declaring himself as a CEC endorsed candidate.
‘’In his campaign, he told some voters (MPs) that President M7 personally called him to go to EALA. This didn’t go well with voters who argued that CEC errored in ring-fencing the by-election. Majority MPs were angered after knowing that their preferred candidate was kicked out of EALA unfairly. They recalled how his victory in 2017 was stolen and elections repeated. Some MPs were heard in Kololo that they would do a protest vote – vote by backing either Kakooza or Mutumba Abbas. Other MPs had confidence to call a section of CEC members against their decision’’, intimated a source.
Some Political onlookers argue that this should be a lesson for CEC to leave issues of voters to voters otherwise they loss respect in future if they continue to play these kind of politics.
When Contacted, Murangira who was hesitant to speak to us said, ”I accept CEC decision though it contravened four ideals of NRM party;patriotism ,Pan Africanism ,socio-economic transformation and Democracy”, he summarily said .
Other candidates that contested the race include; Mawuye Lule (Former MP Kalungu East County), Nakato Kyabangi (former Gombe Woman MP), and Abas Mutumba (former political assistant to the late Kasamba).
This was the 3rd time Murangira was contesting for EALA MP. In 2017 NRM EALA primaries he won the first round of voting but when the process was cancelled and repeated, he lost and emerged the first runner-up (7th best candidate) narrowly missing the 6th position by about 15 votes.
A renowned activist for disability, gender and old age, Murangira, 39, holds a PGD in Countering Terrorism and Radicalization from the University of Zurich. He holds bachelor degree of Social Work and Social Administration; Masters in Social Sector Planning and Management all from Makerere University.
Prior to this, he was Chairperson of Ibanda District NRM Youth League (2000-2015). During his tenure, they ensured that all NRM flag bearers from village council to President won with the highest margin in the area.
He was also a member of the National Campaign Task Team in 2011 and 2016 headed by H.E Specioza Wandira Kazibwe and Hon. Janat Mukwaya respectively
Other members elected to the NRM Parliamentary Caucus Executive Committee are;Vice Chairperson Hon Kinobere Herbert the Member of Parliament for Kibuku, Secretary General Hon Dr Lilian Aber the Woman Member of Parliament for Kitgum, Treasurer Hon Nakut Faith the Woman Member of Parliament for Nepak and Publicity Secretary Hon Alex Brandon Kintu the Member of Parliament for Kagoma County.