By Our Reporters
Since defeating Pereza Ahabwe in 2011, Rubanda East MP Henry Musasizi has always kept his seat very easily. But latest developments show that the honey moon is over and that 2021 is going to be totally a different game altogether. He is facing two strong challengers whose political might isn’t similar to anything he has encountered before. First to declare and to begin actively antagonizing him was Rubanda district LC5 Chairman the belligerent Kenneth Jogo Biryabarema who Musasizi has been battling for months now. Then more recently, NGO Nature Uganda CEO Achilles Byaruhanga declared his bid and began actively canvassing for support. Byaruhanga makes things much more complicated for Musasizi for a number of reasons including the fact that he is a fellow Catholic. Religion plays a big part in determining who wins elections in this part of the world and being the only Catholic has always assured the incumbent of a block vote and initial political capital to start with on nominations day. Byaruhanga (an ex-Seminarian) isn’t only Catholic but is actually more Catholic than Musasizi. The two men have similar NRM credentials meaning there is no way the Musasizi camp can demonize them as being antagonistic Museveni who remains a popular figure in rural Kigezi.
Being district chairman has given Kenneth Jogo proximity and more time with the voters, a thing that has made Musasizi sleepless and having to frequent the constituency like never before. Consequently the two have regularly met at public functions and traded accusations. A few examples will illustrate the ugly confrontational moments the two have been having. A fortnight ago, there was a health camp at Rubanda district headquarters at which Musasizi was guest of honor. Jogo showed much contempt and uneaseness towards him when he violently walked out as the guest of honor was beginning his speech. To voters this was clear indication of how deeply the rift has grown. Then came the issue of a Seed Secondary School the MoES granted for Ruhiza Sub County. Seed schools are a government project aimed at building a secondary school for Sub Counties which don’t have any. The two political leaders bickered about the place where this school should be located. Being a Catholic, Musasizi favored a place near Bwindi that would be favorable to the Catholic community. Under Jogo’s leadership, the Rubanda district council elected to have the school at Nyarweru, a location favoring the Protestant community. Jogo gained upper hand when he travelled to Kampala and got Premier Rugunda to favor Nyarweru. In the end, the project went to Nyarweru where Musasizi recently sought to revenge seeking to humiliate Jogo during a sports day at the same school. As guest of honor, Musasizi (who has lately gone on spending spree) belittled Jogo by telling the gathering the LC5 Chairman was a liar. Not one to go down without a fight, Jogo grabbed the microphone and showed displayed to the crowd correspondences he had exchanged with Rugunda and the MoES about the same matter. “You can all see who of us made the most effort to get this seed school for the community here,” Jogo said as Musasizi’s supporters heckled. Musasizi contemptuously responded thus: “This is just the beginning. We shall defeat and send them back to Amashamara [carpentry] to sell furniture.” This was in reference to the Kampala furniture workshop Jogo operated before becoming LC5 Chairman.
To understand their feud one has to reflect on the fact that in 2017 when Rubanda district became effective, Musasizi didn’t support Jogo. In fact he resisted him even after becoming the NRM flag bearer prompting President Museveni to use his Bubare Sub County rally to try and reconcile them. Jogo informed the H.E. that Musasizi was using his clout as incumbent MP to undermine him. He recommended disciplinary proceedings against Musasizi whose unsuccessful candidate was Stephen Kashaba. “Your Excellence the matter is so complicated there is no way we can resolve it at this rally,” is all Musasizi (who is rumored to be potential for ministerial appointment) told the President at Jogo’s final rally.
The feud between the two hasn’t spared Rubanda district council with some councilors backing Musasizi and others sticking to Jogo. There is plenty of suspicion which recently prompted Jogo to fire his deputy Silver Baguma accusing him of disloyalty. Baguma has since reciprocated the knifing by openly embracing Musasizi confirming Jogo’s long held suspicion that he was always a 5th columnist fighting from within. Jogo replaced Baguma with former Musasizi ally Pascal Twinomuhangi (who lost to him the 2017 NRM primaries). Back then Pascal had Musasizi’s active backing but they now don’t talk. Baguma has so far managed to convince 4 other councilors to openly rebel against Jogo in favor of Musasizi and the Rubanda council will clearly never have cohesion again because Jogo sees the four Musasizi proxies as sabotuers who are out to get him for any wrong however slight. Baguma’s dropping was a sudden reshuffle that even Pascal was shocked at the appointment.
On hearing his mole Baguma had been knifed from the executive, Musasizi drove to Nyarweru SS and donated 100 bags of cement and Shs4m as contribution towards a construction project. It’s politically a very influential Sub County (with majority voters being Anglicans) and Musasizi strategically made this donation to isolate and emotionally disorganize Jogo. The former AMREF accountant is these days common in the constituency where he camps from Thursday to Monday in order to beat off the Jogo threat. Since ascension in 2011 when he overcame (Hope Mwesigye’s camp) Pereza Ahabwe, Musasizi has always been a strong politician to the extent that his NRM party has kept him chair of very important House Committees back in Kampala. It’s that profile that his supporters want to preserve to increase Rubanda East’s chances to regain cabinet position which Ahabwe enjoyed before being annihilated in the anti-Hope Mwesigye conspiracy that comprised of the likes of Shem Bageine, Fr. Gaetano Batanyenda, David Bahati, Henry Banyenzaki, Wilfred Niwagaba, Rona Ninsiima and others.
2021 will indeed be a year of great reckoning for Musasizi because as he was getting used to the Jogo-related sleepless nights, more formidable Achilles Byaruhanga entered into the fray and has commenced serious campaigning already. He is the founder and CEO for NGO Nature Uganda which employs a lot of people doing conservation work in Bwindi forest. He is a Catholic with deeper roots in the Church network being an ex-Seminarian who also chairs St. Paul Seminary Alumni Association to which Musasizi belongs too. Byaruhanga’s supporters accuse Musasizi of arrogance claiming he keeps telling people he can’t regret or be apologetic about being loaded. Reflecting on his past cold war with David Bahati, they also accuse Musasizi of being a complicated character who occasionally engages in intrigue against colleagues yet Bahati initially was his mentor. There are people who have never understood where Musasizi got the guts to compete with more senior Bahati for the position of NRM Chairman Greater Kabale sometime back. Bahati in the end prevailed and reconciliation occurred but Musasizi’s key supporters have never stopped vindictively saying: “we can forgive but will never forget what the Bahati camp did to us.” For comments, call, text or whatsapp us on 0703164755.