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If the enthusiasm exhibited by residents and politicians in Jinja is anything that can be translated into a practical reality, then Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Alitwala Kadaga is destined to bounce back to Parliament in 2021.

During a ground-breaking ceremony of a 2.4km road to be renovated under the Uganda Support to Municipal Infrastructure Development (USMID) in Jinja, the Alidina Village LC1 chairman Veem Lawrence Ssemaganda forgot his duty of welcoming the guests and veered off into political campaigning.

Ssemaganda, speaking amidst ululations from a visibly excited crowd went on his knees to give a litany of the great things the woman from Mbulamuti subcounty has done.

He asked the audience, comprising civil servants, politicians and youths, not to allow any person to contest against Kadaga in the general elections due next year.

“Your efforts and achievements for the growth and development of Busoga and Uganda speak for themselves, so why should we subject you to the hurdles of election campaigns?” wondered Ssemaganda, setting the pace for other speakers to heap praises on the Speaker, commonly referred to as “Mama” and “the light of Busoga.”

“We stand solidly behind you, we want you back in the next parliament to continue serving mother nation Uganda, but particularly Busoga,” pleaded Jinja Mayor Majid Batambuze.

As if to justify his point, Batambuze urged Kadaga to prevail over MPs who have dragged their feet to pass the cabinet resolution to elevate Jinja, among other municipalities, to a city status. 

Batambuze, who is also seeking another term, further asked government to consider Jinja Municipal Council, which has a road network of 200km, for affirmative action.

“It is ironical that the roads leading to high revenue-paying companies like BIDCO Uganda, Tasco Ltd, Nileply Woods Ltd, Sunbelt Garments and Madhvani Steel, among others, are in a bad state,” he said.

State Minister for Lands Dr Chris Baryomunsi also joined the chorus of those rallying support for Kadaga whom she kept referring to as ‘my sister’ for her outstanding services.

“Although I am from Kanungu, I want to assure you that I will go and pitch camp in Kamuli to ensure that Kadaga is back in parliament; we cannot afford to lose her,” promised Baryomunsi during the Friday event.

And when she stepped on the podium, Kadaga took a swipe at some politicians who use her name to win shoddy contract deals.

“I use my brain; I have no time for deals, so ignore or report any such persons who always want to drag my name into the mud just for selfish ends, that’s not me,” said Kadaga, applause greeting her.

Citing the Shs28bn ADB-funded Jinja Central Market Project which was meant to have four levels but ended up with three, the Kamuli Woman MP further warned against corruption “which compromises the quality of work.”

“I raised the matter one time and the suspected thieves who ate our one floor sent political mercenaries to decampaign me in Kamuli during the 2016 general election but I won,” she revealed.

The Speaker also assured residents that Jinja will attain the much-awaited city status, saying it delayed because the matter came to Parliament when legislators were participating in the East African Community (EAC) Games in December last year.

“Don’t fear. The matter will be sorted because first of all much as I am a Ugandan, the first [identity] is that I am a Musoga; so, Jinja becoming a city excites me a lot,” she said.

She congratulated Stirling Engineering Ltd on winning the road contract but challenged the company to ensure value for money since the company has always been synonymous with quality.

Company Managing Director Gennaro Sirgiovanni assured officials that they will complete the Shs16.65bn project within a record period of one year instead of the official 15 months.

“We are prepared and we have the capacity and the resolve to ensure quality and superior work early enough before the signed 15 months; so, rely on us and trust us,” said Sirgiovanni.



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