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INSIDE STORY: HOW & WHY KADAGA GOT TWICE MORE VOTES THAN M7 IN KAMULI

By Mulengera Reporters 

As we all know, by the time the last vote was counted on the evening of Thursday 14.1.2021, Gen Museveni had lost in 8 out of 11 Busoga sub region districts including Speaker Rebecca Kadaga’s Kamuli. Ironically, whereas Museveni badly trailed behind NUP’s Robert Kyagulanyi, his supposed protégé Kadaga had a smooth sail back as Kamuli Woman MP. Defeating FDC’s Salaam Musumba (26,909) & NUP’s Bridget Nabirye (10,787), Kadaga polled 92,840 votes and Museveni only managed 46,000 in Kamuli yet elections were held on the same day.

Briefly this is how we are summarizing what happened that day in favor of Kyagulanyi who won as follows: Bugweri (58%), Kamuli (52%), Namayingo (48%), Mayuge (53%), Iganga (58%), Jinja (59%), Luuka (52%) and SG Kasule Lumumba’s home turf of Bugiri (50%). en Museveni only won Buyende, Namutumba and Kaliro where he scored 59%, 56% and 57% respectively.

Ironically, these are districts which were Gen Museveni’s strongholds in the past rarely giving him less than 75% at all the previous elections since 1996. In absolute terms, Kyagulanyi (who should have scored much more if it wasn’t for voter apathy) received a combined 437,059 votes from the 11 districts against Gen Tibuhaburwa’s 404,862; creating a clear margin of 32,197 votes in favor of the NUP big man.

BACK TO KAMULI

For the case of Kamuli district, many have continued to be intrigued as to how and why Kadaga performed so well yet her supposed boss YK Museveni, voted on the same day, performed so dismally. He actually garnered less than a half of what she polled as Woman MP. In this investigative news feature, Mulengera News explains some of the factors that endeared her to the voters more in this largely rural district than was the case with the H.E.

To understand the voting patterns in the Thursday 14th January 2021 vote, one has to reflect on the very generous key government interventions that came to Kamuli (in the last 5 years) which voters wholly attributed to the individual lobbying efforts of Kadaga regardless of the apparent deprivation suffered in other parts of Busoga. We shall, for the start, reference on the Kasolwe livestock farm which the GoU owns (through NAGRIC) and is located in Kamuli. This farm has received close to Shs50bn in the recent few years and the money has gone into infrastructural rehabilitation and expansion, which has created plenty of jobs and other supplier/money-making opportunities for thousands of Kamuli locals.

This Kasolwe intervention came under Busoga Livelihood Revival Project which Gen Museveni personally supported and insisted had to be rolled out through NAGRIC and be epicentered at Kasolwe Stock Farm. Gen Museveni personally conducted several meetings with livestock experts from NAGRIC to come up with this concept but the resultant political capital exclusively went to Kadaga whose campaigners went around crediting the whole thing to her. Part of the concretization of this livestock intervention occurred at the time Kadaga was hospitalized in Nairobi hospital. In the end, the Kasolwe restoration resulted into a lot of poultry being bred from there with tens of thousands of chicks being distributed to peasant farmers in Kamuli as opposed to the entire Busoga as per Museveni’s original objective to achieve broader transformation.

But as we reported on Saturday, Gen Museveni remains furious that, despite his personal efforts to ensure the relevant funding was prioritized by the Finance Ministry through Entebbe-based NAGRIC (led by Dr. Peter Baine), Kamuli electors didn’t consider him worthy when they went to the ballot box. It’s something Gen Museveni has ordered his teams to inquire into as was reported on this news website last Saturday https://mulengeranews.com/here-is-why-m7-is-angry-at-nagric/.

THE REAL THING

Months to general elections, the OPM was prompted to procure iron sheets for the elderly and vulnerable poor households for the entire Busoga and Kamuli alone (with 76 parishes) took up to 200,000 iron sheets, something over which the beneficiaries naturally worshipped Kadaga. The intervention was delivered under something called Busoga Development Program. Still under the OPM, Gen Museveni conceptualized another intervention through parish-based SACCOs and community development associations. The original idea was to have model parish SACCOs in all districts but still Kamuli, whose giant Kadaga is widely feared by the OPM officials, ended up having a lion’s share of the consequent financial allocations.

Information available to Mulengera News shows that as at polling day, only 4 districts had benefited including Kamuli (76 SACCOs) and then Iganga, Luuka and Kaliro where a total of 15 parish-based SACCOs benefited. The other three districts, besides Kamuli, were able to benefit a bit because they have Ministers hailing from there who the OPM officials desired to please. As was the case in the other 3 districts, Kamuli’s 76 SACCOs were each given Shs30m and all the resultant political capital and credit went to none other than Rebecca Kadaga.

The GoU had earmarked another Shs6bn for a special program in Busoga where 200 parishes were to be saturated with that money. The actual distribution of the money would depend on population and other demographics but the Luwero Triangle Minister Denis Galabuzi, desirous to appease the powerful lady from Busoga, used his clout in the OPM and directed that the same gets piloted in Kamuli before rolling out to other districts of Busoga where the big man had wanted up to 200 parishes to be covered by January 2021. Gabula, as Luwero Triangle Minister, had been designated by Premier Rugunda to also oversee the Busoga affirmative action initiatives. In the end, all the Kamuli 76 parishes got covered with this money and thereby amplifying the Kadaga political capital.

In order to placate himself against accusations of bias, Galabuzi subsequently reached out to some of the Busoga MPs namely Bulamogi’s Kenneth Lubogo, Hon Ntende, Hon John Bagoole and Bugiri’s Solomon Silwanyi each of whom was asked to submit names of parishes they considered priority in their respective constituencies. The justification was that these are guys who participated in cajoling members of the budgeting committee of Parliament to pass this Shs6bn for Busoga. The other Busoga parishes are to be covered in the first 3 FYs of Gen Museveni’s new term (2021-2026).

Gen Museveni, on getting information that this Shs6bn wasn’t going to register the intended political impact to boost his reelection because of the distortions occasioned by the fearful OPM officials, okayed proposals for the OPM to purchase 50,000 hand hoes and 20,000 iron sheets to impact on areas which had anomalously been omitted on the Shs6bn intervention. When Galabuzi heard about this, as someone overseeing Busoga affirmative action, he once again intervened having seen this as an opportunity to create additional appeasement targeting Hon Kadaga hoping to win her favors in return. Much of this consignment of hoes and iron sheets too ended up being sunk into Kamuli district. Some of it was initially kept or warehoused in a building owned by a one Henry Waiswa who is a very powerful clerk working at Parliament.

In the end, majority beneficiaries were from Kamuli and the resultant political capital and commendation had to go to Kadaga still and thereby consolidating her reelection vote. The parish community associations, through which all these groceries were distributed, turned out to be Kadaga praise singers. The truth is that some of these interventions by the OPM have registered great impact transforming communities except that these new millionaires have continued attributing all this to Kadaga without adequately recognizing Museveni’s role.

When it comes to infrastructure and road maintenance interventions, in just months leading to polling day, not less that Shs5bn was sunk into Kamuli through Uganda Road Fund. And because the URF bosses are desperate to please Kadaga (and nobody else), Kamuli LG (vote 515) always gets up to 90.94% of the budgeted and allocated money released for its roads. Relevant documentation which Mulengera News has seen indicates that in the FY2016/17 alone, Shs814.6m was released for Kamuli road mantainance works even when no actual works were carried out by the district LG that year. In FY2017/18, a total of Shs920m was released to Kamuli LG and Shs1.235bn was released in the FY2018/19.

Yet that isn’t all. In the FY2019/20, Shs703m (78% of the budgeted funds) was released to Kamuli LG. And for FY2020/21, which ends in July, Shs482.8m has so far been released to Kamuli LG under road mantainance works inspite of theCOVID19-related constraints.  Another Shs656m has been released to the same LG in the same 5 year period under emergency releases or funding which is availed outside the budgeted allocations for roads maintenance.

This has had to go into improving the passability of the following infrastructure: Nawantumbi-Tabu Swamp Road (Shs200m), Nawangoma-Bulopa-Namwendwa Road (Shs30m), Nawantumbi-Tabu Swamp (Shs45m), Namisambya-Kiroba-Mbulaamuti Road (Shs80m) Bulunda-Kakindu Road (Shs125m), Kananage-Namasagali/Kawugu Road (Shs125m) and Namisambya-Kiroba-Mbulamuti Road (Shs50m).

The voters, basically very ordinary people, believe there is no other reason why their districts gets favored so generously even when it comes to emergency funding apart from the fact that their daughter is Speaker of Parliament and therefore number 3 in the national hierarchy. This naturally mobilizes them to work even harder to ensure she remains Kamuli Woman MP hence the very high vote scores she registered during the January polling exercise as Gen Museveni trailed behind Bobi Wine not just in Kamuli but the whole of Busoga.

Yet even the 10,000 liters of fuel that KML Sugar donates to Kamuli LG towards road mantainance per quarter is perceived and appreciated by the local residents as something the investor keeps doing simply because of the undisclosed desire to appease Mama Kamuli and remain in her good books. (For comments on this story, call, text or whatsapp us on 0705579994, 0779411734, 0200900416 or email us at mulengera2040@gmail.com).

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