By Our Reporters
On Saturday 29th December, Kasambya County MP Gaffa Mbwatekamwa convened a meeting of about 50 diehard supporters forming his innermost circle. Venue was Travelers Hotel in Mubende Municipality. The MP, whose invisibility in the constituency was beginning to irk voters and making them regret ever electing him, told the meeting why he wanted to openly embrace Bobi Wine’s People Power Movement and called for members’ views. Whereas some were excited saying they are tired of NRM corruption and bad governance, majority urged caution. They advised MP Mbwa not to become easily excited with People Power whose appeal remains limited in Mubende. They argued that Kasambya, being largely a rural constituency, Museveni and his NRM was still the thing and getting reelected when openly at loggerheads with him would be a toll order. Mbwa told them if they don’t support his proposals, he was going to leave politics. But the People Power disappointment wasn’t the only thing pushing him onto the cliff.
BIGGER SET BACK
Weeks earlier, Mr. Mbwa had suffered a major setback that irredeemably condemned his 2021 reelection plans to an irreversible disarray. How was this? Kasambya is one of the three constituencies that resulted from the 2011 splitting of Buwekula County famously represented by Kasole Bwerere Lwanga. The other two were Buwekula and Mubende Municipality. Kasambya has 8 sub counties including Kibalinga, Kigando, Bageza, Nabingola, Lubimbiri and Kasambya Town Council etc. In partnership with his allies in Mubende district Local Council, Mbwa had backed proposals to split Kasambya into two parliamentary constituencies. This would leave him with three Sub Counties where his support is highest. The truth is his open hostility to Museveni might have excited people in the Kasambya trading centers but the majority rural dwellers became alienated from him because they are uncomfortable seeing him bash Museveni who ironically remains a darling in this multi-ethnic community. Councilor Kayengere (for Nabingola Sub County) had moved the proposal to split the constituency but it was flatly defeated after the Kampala-based Museveni intelligence realized it was a gimmick by Mbwa to bounce back as MP. The move also had support of Mbwa’s allies in Mubende district council but Kampala State Minister Benny Namugwanya (also Mubende woman MP) proved too smart. She is the smooth operator Museveni used to deliver the killer punch in the fateful council meeting. Museveni’s intelligence fears were that splitting the constituency would inspire the emergency of another rebellious MP like Mbwatekamwa and make the situation even more complicated. “Mzee is always very careful and fears gambling with the unknown. That is the reason why areas like Rwemiyaga can’t be split or even Tinkasimire’s Buyaga Constituency,” says a knowledgeable source. “But it’s also true that unlike Sekikubo and Tinkasimire, Mbwatekamwa isn’t sufficiently popular outside the three Sub Counties. This meant the moment the proposal to split the constituency failed, his goose became cooked and the best he could do was to bow out and go in dignity.” During the Travelers Hotel meeting, after reflecting on all the scenarios at hand, Mbwa told his crestfallen supporters “let me go I have after all done my part.” Some opposed this advising that he comes and puts up a fight, a thing majority rejected. The argument of those saying no was that since Museveni was now annoyed, Mbwatekamwa stood no chance winning unless the constituency had been split. One member at the meeting said the best option would be for Mbwa to torn down, look for Museveni and apologize to him “but this is clearly too late because State House-backed David Kabanda has already been marketing himself everywhere with Benny Namugwanya’s backing meaning Museveni now has an alternative.” It was agreed that in the absence of vacuum it was unlikely for Museveni to pardon Mbwa and give him 2nd chance. “The boy [Kabanda] has already been traversing villages and has sunk a lot of money. The only way to undo the damage is to spend thrice more cash than what he has invested so far,” one member submitted at the meeting.
MBWA’S BAD PAST
At this point, the incumbent told the meeting he was broke and not prepared to go on a spending spree in order to undo Sam Kutesa’s PA David Kabanda. He told members “I don’t want to be like my predecessors Edward Kasole and Patrick Mulindwa who fell on hard times and became paupers after losing their MP Seats. That is why I want to use the remaining two years to save whatever I can to secure my future outside Parliament. Please I’m done with this and kindly don’t invite me to fundraising functions again,” he reportedly told the meeting. Mulengera news has separately established that whereas Kasole lost his City school to money lender Sudhir Ruparelia because of election-related debts, Mulindwa now vends merchandize on the streets of Mubende Municipality, something Mbwa told supporters he isn’t prepared to endure after 2021. Mbwa also reflected on his economic past whereby he used to survive on very little salary as a political talk show host on Dr. Kayihurankuba’s Tropical fm Radio in Mubende. “I have come from very far my dear friends if you remember well. I have now transformed and become somebody. I wouldn’t want to go back to that poverty that I lived before 2016 simply because I’m clinging on well knowing what is in store for me,” he told them.
PATRRICK NSAMBA NEXT
After politically finishing off Mbwatekamwa (in favor of David Kabanda), Benny Namugwanya (who Museveni has trusted with the assignment to ensure NRM remains strong in Mubende) will be going for Kasanda North MP Patrick Nsamba who has lately coordinating People Power activities in greater Mubende. Not only did Nsamba vote against the scrapping of age limit in the Constitution December 2017 but has also been working with others to ensure NRM doesn’t win seats in the impending elections for the newly created Kasanda district. This has made him a legitimate target for the President through his agent Benny Namugwanya who continues to be under pressure to totally pacify Mubende. “The annihilation of Mbwatekamwa leaves Benny Namugwanya with a lessened political burden because the political resources will now be fully concentrated on Kasanda North to totally exorcist the Kawukumi Patrick Nsamba has been epitomizing and the job is now going to be pretty easier,” says a political intelligence source close to the matter. “In fact people in Nsamba’s group had pleaded with Mbwatekamwa to at least delay his pronouncement so that Namugwanya’s fire-fighting efforts remain scattered in two constituencies but Mbwatekamwa refused saying guys you have no idea what I’m going through. He had been away too long from the constituency and re-launching himself was going to be very expensive.”
KUTESA PA SHINES
Mbwatekamwa’s exit puts David Kabanda’s 2021 Kasambya political ambitions in a much clearer position. Indeed his supporters now say he is only waiting swearing in and inauguration in May 2021 as its very unlikely the Namugwanya-led NRM political machinery will find someone more suitable than him. Joining Parliament in 2021 will be the climax of Kabanda’s political career that started in youth activism. In 2014/15, Museveni faced the unexpected JPAM challenge which saw NRM youth denounce him like never before. They operated as NRM poor youth network and backed JPAM, leaving Museveni demonized. Kabanda was among those who organized to counter the JPAM group that at some point had captured the NRM youth league. He led efforts to threaten ousting YL Chairman Dennis Namara until he openly declared support for Museveni while denouncing JPAM. Kabanda undertook many State House assignments supervised by Afande Edith Nakalema who remains his backer up to this day. Earlier on, Kabanda had served as UNSA Publicity Secretary and it’s in that capacity that his outspokenness at the national level started manifesting. He went on to run for NYC chairperson position which he narrowly lost to Lillian Aber who had the backing of State House officials opposed to his mentor Nakalema. Kabanda has lately grown in stature to the extent of being regularly invited for national TV and radio talk shows to defend the President and NRM. Media has for long been his thing having started out as manager of Sam Kutesa’s Mbabule fm in Sembabule. Mubende shares border with Sembabule and Kabanda’s birth place is Lwegula village Kasambya Sub County which has increased his voter acceptability to replace Mbwatekamwa in 2021. His parents (Grandfather Anthony Muganzi Nturo and father Aloysius Bugingo Kayira) are all buried in Lwegula village Mubende district. A Buganda kingdom enthusiast, Kabanda belongs to Mbogo clan and voters fondly call him muzzukulu wa Kayira. Kabanda is also heavily connected in the NRM and SG Kasule Lumumba is one of his closest allies and mentors. For comments, call, text or whatsapp us on 0703164755.