This website’s Intelligence Team has been on the ground ploughing through archives to try and establish when and why Retired Capt. Mike Mukula, also NRM National Vice Chairperson for Eastern Region and Sanjay Tanna, a business mogul and NRM Mobilizer fell out.
For starters, Sanjay Tanna is former Member of Parliament Tororo Municipality (2011-2016.) He is also a leading businessman with many businesses in Eastern Uganda and contested against Mukula for the NRM National Vice Chairperson for Eastern Region in 2021.
The contest for regional NRM Vice Chair was a grueling one and brought out many undertones with Mukula resorting to the racial card calling Tanna ‘Muyindi’ who should not have any room in the internal politics of Uganda. Despite the racial card, Tanna won by a landslide in Eastern Uganda with his voters celebrating ‘an outright victory’ as early as 5:00 PM that day.
The results for the Eastern Uganda post were eventually the last to be announced 12 hours later with Mukula declared winner against protestations from many who saw it as an ‘outright rigging of results.’
“He (Tanna) alleged that the NRM electoral commission and Mr Mukula doctored the results, releasing them 12 hours after all the rest of the results across the country had been released.” This is an excerpt from Daily Monitor.
Tanna camp and other stakeholders also expressed dissatisfaction after total number of votes cast were much higher than the total number of registered voters .
Many people may therefore believe that the campaigns for the NRM Regional Chair Eastern and declaration of Mukula as winner is genesis of this fallout. To the contrary, Tanna’s decision to contest against Mukula’s position instead of reclaiming his Tororo Municipality seat was the first public show that something terrible had happened to the political love affair between Mukula and Tanna.
Prior to Tanna’s quest for the NRM Regional Chair Eastern Uganda, he had served two terms as member of Parliament from 2006-2016 before his adversaries tempered with his Victory .
While representing Tororo Municipality, Tanna generally sided with the Iteso in their quest for a separate district that would have its headquarters in Tororo Municipality, something that had the Japadhola swearing death.
Incidentally, most meetings called by Iteso leaders to strategize on how the Tororo Iteso could achieve their dreams were chaired by Mukula as the NRM Regional Vice Chairman Eastern and Tanna regularly attended them. In other words, at the time, the two were friends working for the same interests.
Furthermore, during the 2016 race for the regional NRM Vice Chair, Tanna campaigned for his buddy, Mike Mukula against stiff competition from the likes of Balyeku in Namboole. And Mukula won thereby retaining his seat.
So when did the bad blood start?
Shortly after the Namboole elections, general elections followed with Tanna showing interest to retain his Tororo Municipality seat. The politics at Tororo Municipality was so polarized that there was a candidate for the Iteso and another for the Japhadola.
Tanna presented himself as the pro-Iteso candidate and Apollo Yeri Ofwono was fronted as the Japhadola candidate. Here is when Mukula turns against Tanna (Candidate for Iteso) and supports ofwono (Candidate for the Japhadola).
Our Intelligence members from Tororo Municipality say Mukula conspired with Tanga Odoi to rig out Tanna in the NRM Primaries. For that reason, Tanna went ahead to contest as an Independent but NRM leaning candidate.
The events that followed only worked to make the hitherto friendly working relationship between the two worse and bordering irreconcilable limits. This is when Mukula disrupted Tanna’s after nomination rally at Tororo Lions Children Park in the last minute. Tanna had booked and paid for the venue but Mukula, Tanga and company used police to disperse the Tanna crowd and instead brought in Ofwono supporters with Bebe Cool.
In fact that day, Mukula flew in a chopper effectively scattering Tanna procession. The team also discovered that the Mukula team did not stop at disrupting the Children’s Lions Club rally but also frustrated Tanna’s attempts at relocating his rally to St. George 1V Stadium.
“Geoffrey Emokol Opua, the Mayor Tororo Municipality said it was unfair for Ofwono to insist on the same venue knowing very well Tana had cleared all financial requirements for the venue for two days with the Municipal council.
Emokol said he was shocked that Ofwono ‘ s actions were not only provocative but inciting arguing that they were several other venues he could held his rallies such as the municipal stadium, Municipal gardens, police grounds, Elgon view ground among others.” This is an excerpt from the Redpepper of 2010.
From that day, all Mukula’s utterances are against Tanna, needless to say, in his recent attack against the Vice President, Mukula singled out Tanna’s involvement in NRM’s Ariko win in the Soroti City East MP by-election.
Mukula’s obsession with Tanna is premised on his fear that Tanna ‘has become too big.’
ENTER NRM National Vice Chairperson for Eastern Region 2021 Race
Prior to the 2021 general elections, there was high expectation that Tanna was getting back to reclaim his Tororo Municipality Seat and it was not misconceived; Tanna was seen regularly mobilizing and being closer to his voters than before.
However, he made a turnaround after research he carried out indicated that Mukula was very unpopular in the Eastern region including Teso sub region. He was also pushed on by many politicians that Mukula has fought in the region, and he took the decision.
“That decision shook Mukula to the marrow and instead of calling Tanna for a talk, he instead resorted to threatening the latter saying he had been in this ‘thing’ for a long time and would deal with Tanna,” an Insider privy to events shortly before nominations for the CEC members told this team.
Around the same time, the now Minister of State for Fisheries, Hellen Adoa was crying her eyes out saying Mukula was campaigning for and facilitating her opponent, a one independent Woman MP Aspirant, Akiror Irene Suzan.
Adoa then said she evidence that Mukula met her opponent at his Maroon quarters in Senior Quarters Soroti City and gave her Shs7millon.
In Katakwi, Mukula was also not Seeing Eye to eye with Jessica Alupo then contesting to reclaim her seat. Indeed, in what was seen as the internal machinations within the NRM Party, Alupo was denied the NRM Flag but chose to stand as an independent and went through.
“These are people who are either Ministers or were Ministers in the NRM government and therefore fall within the category of the ‘Teso bulls’ something that seems to haunt Mukula.
A closer scrutiny of the Teso Ministers and Members of Parliament who worked closely with H.E Jessica Alupo in canvassing votes for Ariko either have or have had issues with Mukula.
“You see during the election for the National NRM Regional Vice Persons, Mukula lost badly to Tanna in the East which is his constituency and so whenever he sees Tanna around, he knows the real bull is in the kraal” a Senior NRM leader who did not want to be named told this Unit.
Another echoed Tanna’s earlier assertion that Mukula engineered a rigging mechanism that helped him narrowly take the CEC seat.
Tanna insists that votes in Central Uganda were doctored and gives examples of Rubaga where there were 68 registered voters but total number of votes cast were 150, majority of which were in Mukula’s favour.
Other districts where votes were over and above the registered voters are Mpigi, Kalangala and Masaka. This according to Tanna is the reason the declaration of results for the Eastern region was done 12 hours after declaration of all the other regions.
This Team also interrogated the official results as declared by Tanga Odoi and found interesting inconsistencies. It is important to note that the voting by the NRM District delegates for the President, National Vice Chairpersons and the National Regional Vice Persons was done on the same day, same time and by the same delegates.
The system was such that the first booklet was for the President, the Second was for National Vice Chairpersons and the third was for Regional Chairpersons. Ideally the total number of votes cast for all positions are supposed to tally. This however was not case.
The total number of votes for the Second National Vice Chairman was 10,719, Vice Chairman Kampala 9,833, Vice Chairman Central 10,126, Vice Chairman Western 12,543, Vice Chairman Eastern 10,142, Vice Chairman Northern 10,410 and Vice Chairman Karamoja 10,363.
The question that could be haunting Mukula and group is why the discrepancies in totals yet this was a college with the same voters for all positions?