After months of intensive campaigns, Medard Segona Kalyamagwa , the Democratic party candidate of Busiro East constituency in Wakiso District and Moses Kasibante, the Suubi/IPC candidate for Rubaga North are the official Parliamentary representatives of their respective constituencies. This was after a highly contested race which had more than just casting the vote. Ssegona’s main challenger was NRM’s Tumwiine Sekitoleko while the deputy treasurer of the NRM party, Katongole Singh was Kasibante’s main challenger.
Personally I was interested in the outcome of these two isolated cases were the Buganda vote and the Monarchy factor were highly at play. It is not because of my belief in Monarchism but this is a logical endorsement of why these two individuals carried the day. The Rubaga North constituency is special. It accommodates the Kabaka’s Lubiri, The Bulange, the Kabaka’s administrative seat, The Kasubi Tombs and other prime establishments like Muteesa 1 University among others. The incumbent Betty Kamya had decided to contest for Presidency under the Uganda Federal alliance ticket. On declaring his intention to contest in this area, Katongole Singh was highly the favorite to win the vote. He represented the ruling party NRM, and as a Ugandan of Indian origin, he had more incentives at his disposal including cash to dish out to voters. His campaign trail was so sophisticated with hundreds of Boda boda riders and an ambulance he was to donate to one of the big hospitals in the constituency after campaigns. Plastic chairs for those attending his rally and a bottle of mineral water to each person in the crowd. Kasibante is a radio reporter, a member of the Democratic Party under Suubi, a Buganda pressure group and in league with the likes of Nambooze, Erias Lukwago and more. He definitely could not march the standards of his challenger. His campaign logistical support was minimal with friends and colleagues coming in to help financially and or in kind.
Kasibante’s predicament has a parallel semblance to that of Segona. The incumbent MP of Busiro East, Susan Nakwuki , abandoned the constituency in favor of Masaka Municipality which she lost to former Buganda Youth Minister, Mathius Mpuuga. Seggona’s main challenger and NRM flag bearer, Tumwiine Sekitooleko, had an upper hand as far as funding from the party and Government officials like VP Bukenya is concerned. His continuous support of small women groups and other organizations ignited his support in the region. However, against all this background, why did the two NRM flag bearers loose the vote?
Although Katongole Singh has established himself close enough to the powers that be, his Indian origin was definitely a disservice to his ambitions. Katongole is not the first “Muyindi” to contest for parliament in Uganda. Sanjey Tana (Tororo) and the Late Tana (Mbale) are examples. In my view, the residents of Rubaga North could not stomach the fact that a Ugandan of Indian origin could eventually be their representative of choice in parliament. This was not a case of leverage, or whether the candidate could actually deliver for the area. This was identity and not social or economic issues at play. The people of Rubaga North preferred having one of their own, even though not as financially and well connected as Singh. They vividly voted for a person who has on numerous occasions professed his allegiance to the Kabaka (because he was not the only Muganda standing) and has the monarchy at heart. This was a Buganda vote. The same applies to Busiro East constituency. Tumwiine Sekitoleko had an identity crisis. He is “Tumwiine” and at the same time “Sekitoleko”. In fact during one of the NRM presidential rallies at Nsangi, President Museveni could not understand how somebody can be “Tumwiine” and at the same time “Sekitooleko”. Being one of the voters in this constituency, a few sections of the people witnessing the vote count at Namusera Umea polling center where open about the identity crisis with sentiments such as “ agende yesimbe ewaabwe” meaning “ let him go stand in his home village”. Seggona, being a former deputy minister of information in Kabaka’s government was more popular than Tumwiine. He was one of the Buganda officials arrested by security agents for being outspoken about the controversial Land ammendiment bill in early 2008. This was another Buganda vote.