P’PLE POWER MPS WELCOME SIMEO TO BOBI WINE CAMP AS ABID ALAM TURNS TABLES ON HIM PROMPTING KASANDA LC3 BOSSES TO SHUN HIM
By Mulengera Reporters
Leading People Power coordinators (all of them MPs formerly allied to President Museveni) from Greater Mubende-Mityana areas have extended open invitation to their Kasanda South colleague Simeo Nsubuga to join Bobi Wine. The three firebrand MPs (Kasanda North’s Patrick Nsamba, Kasambya’s Mbwatekamwa and Busujju’s David Kalwanga) addressed reporters in Kampala and advised Simeo to collect his guts and publicly divorce NRM. They said in People Power they are ready to receive him with open hands and ensure Bobi Wine uses all his crowd-pulling antics to ensure he bounces back as Kasanda MP in 2021. Gratefully, Simeo has previously addressed his voters at public rallies and cried to them how he was tired of mafias and powerlessness in NRM.
He claimed President Museveni’s Director Legal Affairs at State House Florence Kiconco was among those responsible for his powerlessness when it comes to land matters. In one of the meetings, a tough-talking Simeo cried out saying; “I have done all I can and taken all the risks to defend NRM in this hostile area and I continued to do so even after being abandoned by fellow MPs who no longer speak for NRM but who is Florence Kiconco to undermine me like this?”
Simeo went as far as demanding that Museveni fires his PA Kiconco or else wait for the political consequences in 2021 when he says there is a high likelihood voters might protest by electing PP or any other group but not the ruling NRM which has officially turned its back on them. This, he says, has left them at the mercy of courts and area judicial officers who have often ruled in favor of his adversary tycoon Abid Alam who Col Edith Nakalema sometime back established donated 2 square miles of land to the poor people just to ensure a win-win situation.
According to The Observer newspaper, this was so in case of those NFA had chased from Luwunga Forest Reserve in Kiboga district. In their prolonged battles, Abid Alam has accused Simeo of illegally settling people on huge chunks of land he commercially owns through his two companies namely Mityana Farm Enterprises and Lake Wamala Farm Ltd. Simeo believes Abid Alam has been escaping all the traps he has been laying for him (and remained trusted as a credible investor by the President) because Kiconco uses her powerful office to prop him up. Kiconco, who the President previously tasked to prepare briefs for him on the Kasanda wrangles, recently lost her cool and vowed to sue Simeo for implying she was a member of the Mafia group.
Simeo’s characterization of Kiconco as a mafia actor has continued to give fodder to the People Power coordinators who have continued to argue this is evidence that area residents shouldn’t continue having any hope in the ruling NRM. The same argument was recently made by Mbwatekamwa who called on Simeo to quit NRM and embrace PP because there is no way he can win against the well-entrenched mafias. The three PP MPs have publicly called on Simeo to decamp NRM on grounds that there is no way the ruling party can institutionally support him against land-grabbing. And indeed, Simeo’s public rants have had the effect of demonizing the NRM party whose cross he says he is tired of carrying single-handedly moreover for a party whose top bureaucrats don’t appreciate or even reciprocate his activism in favor of Museveni.
Sometime back, Simeo-backed land claimants (headed by Apollo Semanda & Aron Kwitonda) lost a court battle against Abid Alam and the titles on which they originally based their claim are due for cancellation. This is in line with the findings High Court’s Dr. Joseph Murangira made. This left Simeo, who many believed was a powerful man in the NRM government, speechless, deflated and with not much to do for those who had counted on him for the last two years.
There is also another group that had continued staying on public land in Manyogaseka Sub County and always counted on Simeo who in the end failed to shield them when NFA turned up and proved this was their forest land due to repossession. Some of these people, acting on their MP’s advice, had gone as far as applying to Mubende land office for titles, a request that was rejected on grounds this was public land for NFA. A total of 41 families had applied and none of them succeeded. Some are now disgruntled against their MP for the false hope they had for all this long including being told that Parliament was going to be moved to degazette the NFA forest to legitimize their settlement.
Armed with a favorable court ruling, Abid Alam proceeded to evict thousands of people who the duo’s activism had misled. But still their MP Simeo didn’t abandon them. He got them temporary refuge at Kyanamugera Primary School after security forced them out of Abid Alam’s land on the strength of the court ruling. The MP then led them to Bukoba and later Bukompe under the claim that this was previously Sam Bitangaro’s land (covering villages like Kanyogoga, Kabulengwa, Mirembe and Lwenyange).
As they sheltered there, the President was petitioned resulting into Col Edith Nakalema being dispatched to weigh in and understand what was happening. Later even Lands Minister Betty Amongin got involved and surveying teams were sent to ascertain the extent to which the land belonged to Bitangaro. Ibrahim Magemeso led the surveyors who worked under tight security Nakalema ensured was provided by the RPC and area DPCs. Boundaries were opened and the results weren’t good for the Simeo-backed group. The MP created more disgruntlement when he got into his car and left those who always counted on him without adequate solution and guidance on the way forward.
It had always been expected that using courts and administrative approaches to overcome Abid Alam would consolidate Simeo’s popularity and ease his 2021 reelection. Instead the latest survey findings, disputing the Bitangaro claim, have left thousands of would-be Simeo voters extremely vulnerable and homeless. The latest boundary-opening findings mean even the maize many of them have been cultivating won’t be possible anymore.
It had been hoped the coming together of the Simeo claimants and members of Kiboga Twegatte Cooperative Society would enable the group make a better case against the Indian tycoon which hasn’t happened in the end. Yet the now vulnerable thousands can’t expect much from their MP because he has his own debts to battle with in addition to the fact that previous efforts at doing taxi business in South Sudan too haven’t yielded much as yet.
LC3 BOSS DECAMP
All this comes at a time when the LC3 Chairpersons leading the four Sub Counties making Kasanda South have bitterly fallen out with their MP for whom they vigorously campaigned in 2016. These include Manyogaseka Sub County’s Jotham Tandeka, Kiganda Sub County’s Richard Semiyingo, Simeo’s own Myanzi Sub County’s Joseph Mary Nsubuga and Nalutuntu Sub County’s Peterson Kamulegeya. There are also politically very influential families whose support the incumbent Kasanda South MP has irretrievably lost including that of Myanzi’s Sebugulu, Magata’s Semiyingo, Namuganga village’s Drake family and that of Valence of Kyakatebe. It’s the grievances of these very influential 5 families that have given the greatest ammunition to those seeking to oust Simeo.
Some critics are also referencing on the Mubende dilemma and circumstances under which squatters who had sheltered on Simeo’s family land along Kakumiro Road were forced off to accuse the incumbent of double standards. In Simeo’s native Myanzi Sub County (rapidly urbanizing because of its proximity to Mityana), there is also another huge land wrangle which has alienated Simeo from some people. The wrangling is between a group of Bambejja and a private owner. It’s a huge dilemma that has caused Simeo to lose some significant support. It’s these contradictions that make PP strategists like Patrick Nsamba to imagine they can woo, politically rehabilitate and field Simeo as their candidate in 2021. (For comments on this story, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 0200900416).