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Masindi MP Kiiza sleepless, 5 rivals want his seat

Ernest Monday Kiiza Apuuli, the MP Masindi municipality and state minister for Bunyoro affairs

Ernest Monday Kiiza Apuuli, the MP Masindi municipality and state minister for Bunyoro affairs

The race for Masindi municipality Member of Parliament has so far attracted five contenders who are all seeking to unseat the incumbent, Ernest Kiiza.

They are; Kenneth Atugonza, Geoffrey Ijuka Byaruhanga, Rogers Byamukama, Tugume Moses and Mugume Lenox.

Kenneth Atugonza

He was born in Masindi and started my education at Kabalega Primary School.

A married man with three children, hold a Masters’ degree in Finance and a masters’ degree in Business Administration.

He has decided to stand as an independent. He has worked with domestic tax office in UK, local government and currently he is working with finance department in UK.

He wants to ensure that Masindi municipality gets effective representation in Parliament.

Much as he is in UK, he watches television stations and analyse the quality of debates in the house and gets disappointed compared with that of United Kingdom.

To make matters worse, the incumbent MP for Masindi municipality, Ernest Kiiza has never debated in parliament even once and it is on record yet most of the issues of concern elsewhere in the country are the same issues affecting the people of Masindi.

Having stayed in the UK has provided Atugonza a unique advantage because most of Uganda’s and particularly Masindi’s challenges and problems need solutions and ideas that have been tried and tested elsewhere given the fact it is an urban area.

It is also important to note that his involvement in youth football since 2004 has kept him in touch with matters at home and also contributes to the Daily Monitor Business column, writing on different economic issues and commentating on the National Budget.

Atugonza has several talk shows on Radio Kitara in Masindi town something that has enabled him to keep in touch with the voters unlike other people who go into silence after losing.

It is not going to be Atugonza’s first time to contest for Masindi municipality MP seat because he also contested for the same race in 2010 during NRM primaries and lost to Ernest Kiiza but refused to stand as an independent claiming to exhibit loyalty to the party.

What reduces Atugonza’s chances of trouncing other contenders is that he lacks that physical touch with the masses on the ground like talking to them head on something that makes it possible for people to get acclimatized to his face so that they cannot case while ticking ballots most especially those who can’t read the names very well.

Another issue is that, Atugonza does not own a house at home much as he has money.

Kenneth Atugonza, the MP aspirant for Masindi municipality

Kenneth Atugonza, the MP aspirant for Masindi municipality

Though he is among cerebrated people in Masindi, he has spent most of his time in UK and a family house he had started building in Kihande cell stalled.

Though effective representation in parliament may not necessarily require one to have a decent house, to a common man it might not work.

Atugonza has also declared this time round to move out of NRM bandwagon and this decision denies him a chance of boomerang effect enjoyed by the party.

Deciding to stand as independent does not gives him an option to have a leaning side and he will therefore need to work very hard to convince the people that he would be able to lobby for them in parliament.

Geoffrey Ijuka Byaruhanga

He is the son of Phillip Byaruhanga, the former Member of Parliament for Buruli County in Masindi district and Grace Katabarwa, residents of Katasenywa cell in Nyangahya division.

He holds masters’ degree in economics and bachelors’ degree in arts all from Makerere University.

He attained his “O” level from Duhanga secondary school in Hoima district and “A” from Lake Side college in Kampala.

He has been attached to security doing monitoring work in the ministries of water and water and a staunch NRM cadre given the back ground of his farther who is currently serving National medical store.

He is also a close friend to the first son, Brig. Gen. Muhoozi Kainerugaba.

As a young leader within a generation, Ijuka wants to make tangible contribution towards the development of Bunyoro as a sub region and Masindi municipality in particular and being a close friend with first son, makes him able to lobby from the office of the president in case Museveni wins forthcoming general elections.

For a long time, Ijuka has been very instrumental in building religious institutions, mobilizing people to educate their children and promoting agriculture in rural Masindi municipality.

At the age of 36, Ijuka wants to fight for upgrading of Masindi hospital, creation of recreational centers that will develop talents among the youth, fronting for regional interests as Bunyoro most especially on issues concerning oil, exchange visits for local people to other areas; all which feeds into NRM manifesto.

Though Bunyoro as region needs young, vibrant and energetic leaders like Ijuka to make total overhaul, he will face a biggest challenge from competitors who have already describing him as a baby.

Geoffrey Ijuka Byaruhanga

Geoffrey Ijuka Byaruhanga

His oratory ability portrays him as a person who may articulate issues in parliament unlike the incumbent who has failed to speak in parliament.

In fact, Ijuka who is slightly out of the age bracket of the youth may have a big following since he can ably use social media and if the youth can’t support their fellow youth, then their chances of being fought for in parliament will dwindle since they only have a few positions as interest group hence a need to from main stream people like Ijuka.

Ijuka seems to be not ready to stand as independent candidate the moment he does not win the elections for NRM flagship and has always promised to rally behind whoever will win the primary elections.

Much as Ijuka has chances of winning, the biggest challenge if glaring poverty among voters who seems not to take strong stand to vote for people with ideas but money like it happened in 2011 general elections for the same parliamentary seat.

People also have higher expectations from a young man who may not fulfil some of their demands, dirty politicking by the incumbent who has decide to brand all standing against him within the party as pro-Amama Mbabazi.

Rogers Byamukama

He is a resident of Bigando cell, Kigulya division and married with children. He studied from St. Henry’s college Kitovu in Masaka, went to Makerere University for a bachelors’ degree in social science.

He attained MBA in economics from Washington International University in USA and has several qualifications in the field of marketing.

Currently, he is working with Airtel Uganda as head of government SME, bulk and career businesses.

He is also a delegate of Kitara region Federation of Uganda Football Associations (FUFA), a member of FUFA general assembly and the chairman marketing TV and sponsorship committee.

Byamukama worked as assistant minister of project planning and implementation in Bunyoro Kitara kingdom and he is also a grain farmer and a cattle keeper.

Given the above experience Byamukama has, it makes him an effective leader to represent Masindi municipality that needs quicker development within a period of 10 to 20 years to be transformed from semi-urban to pure urban town having good social infrastructure, good health care provision and food value addition chain since most people are small holder farmers.

Byamukama has ability to interact with local people right from the grass root and can easily ascertain the needs of local people for effective representation given his good ability of articulation.

As an agitator of infrastructural development, he catches the glimpse of not only residents of Masindi municipality but the whole of Bunyoro region where everybody wants to see construction of Kigumba-Kyenjojo road tarmacked.

Much as people outside from Masindi municipality may not vote for him, but they can influence the locals to give him votes. People in the region have been yearning for a public university claiming to be spending a lot of money to access university education in Kampala and Gulu which is around four hour drive from Hoima town.

Byamukama seems to have a very strong support from the kingdom that he once served given the fact that he wants government to be clear on royalties the kingdom will get.

This gives him more chances to woo support from the royal family and Iguru’s subjects unlike, Ernest Kiiza who once served as the kingdoms prime minister but since he went to parliament, he has never lobbied anything for the kingdom he once served to the extent that, the current kingdom cabinet minister told him to resign from the position of minister for Bunyoro affairs.

Rogers Byamukama, FUFA boss

Rogers Byamukama, FUFA boss

Byamukama’s joining the race to unseat Kiiza has been long overdue according to some voters who think is going to act as a missing link between the people and the government because Kiiza has never attended any divisional, municipal or district council meeting so that he can be able to know the needs of local people.

Given the fact that Byamukama is a well-known NRM cadre who competed for Buruli County parliamentary seat in 2010 and lost to Professor Zerubaberi Nyiira Mijumbi, the state minster for fisheries, he never stood as an independent candidate, something that portrayed his loyalty to the party.

He is described by many as approachable and empathetic to people’s needs unlike the incumbent who has always neglected people whenever they are attacked by deserters for instance when fire gutted Masindi main market and sugarcane plantations fires in Kinyara that left vendors and farmers grieving in losses.

Much as minister Kiiza has sunk bore holes within the areas of rural division, people have not been appreciative saying his efforts are not sustainable.

On centrally, voters are appreciating Byamukama’s idea of building government institutions to be able to provide services to the people other than a Member of Parliament doing what he is not supposed to do.

Ernest Kiiza Monday Apuuli

He is the incumbent Member of Parliament for Masindi municipality for the last four years.

Before formation of Masindi municipality, Kiiza contested for Buruli County for several times but was being defeated terribly.

He is an environmentalist who graduated from Makerere University and worked in Mukono for a while as district environmental officer before he quit for business.

Currently, he is the minister for Bunyoro affairs, a position he has held for over three years.

The ministerial responsibility seems to have created more harm to the minister that benefits because the entire Bunyoro over expected a lot from him.

On several occasions, Banyoro have advised the minister to resign if he cannot address their needs like having a university, having KK road tarmacked, pushing for the 12% royalties on oil of the Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom among other things that has failed to materialize to date.

Such issues have not only affected Kiiza’s performance as a minister but as a member of parliament too.

To make matters worse, it is on record that Kiiza has never spoken anything in parliament even once for the time he has been there, something that has not gone down well with his electorates whom he promised several things like power to his neighbouring village of Kabarwana, piped water, among others all which have not been realized.

The issue of zero performance brought Kiiza problems to the extent that he went to courts of law and sued Radio Kitara and Rogers Kanti, a prominent politician in Masindi town for deformation after having discussed about him as a non-performer and dumb MP who does not speak in parliament yet his electorates have several needs.

Kiiza wanted court to impose an injunction on the duo from talking about him but the court declined to do so, something people described as round number one of the loss.

The staff of radio Kitara decided to slap a ban on Kiiza on realizing his need not to be talked about yet in actual sense the minister needs the services of Radio Kitara than his own Radio, Bunyoro Broadcasting Services which has a small audience in Masindi.

In fact even ordinary people looked at Kiiza as an amateur in politics since even the market vendors could wonder how the whole minister sued a case of defamatory yet the president does not do so much as several people have used all ill sorts of words to describe him as a bad person.

Of recent, Kiiza’s political assistant, Peter Wobusobozi resigned and crossed to Rogers Byamuka’s camp along with other 70 mobilizers.

To many, this is seen as a very big loss which the minister has under rated by instead accusing Wobusobozi to be a thief who cheated people as they formed groups to benefit from what he refer to as his program established by OPM for micro enterprise house hold income improvement.

To many he would better find ways of wooing back departed mobilizers that creating more hatred by making attacks.

The OPM program has also created more problems to the minister because very many people have accused him for using his political advisor, Edward Peter Isingoma to identify beneficiary hence taking over the work of community development officers in divisions within the municipality.

Information circulating around is that, Isingoma has always picked Kiiza’s supporters to benefit leaving out would be potential beneficiaries who are in abject poverty.

In fact Kiiza and his team is considered to be very segregate because even when it comes to distributing iron sheets to religious institutions, Moslems have always complained of being side lined and the same thin applies to hoes that are being given out by the minister.

As if that is not enough, the minister is being accused of dividing the NRM party members by forming cliques to the extent of telling people whom to vote instead of hunting for his own votes.

This has not gone down well with other party members and his statements are multiplying a number of his enemies and some of them are most likely going to support opposition candidate even if Kiiza managed to win in primary elections, something that reduces his chances of winning general elections.

Given the fact that Kiiza is just an NRM covert, some party historical have always doubted him. Remember, Kiiza was one of the founders of Reform Agenda that led to the birth of Forum for Democratic Change.

Historical sideline him saying he is not a true cadre since he has blood from two worrying sides.

The legacy left behind the former district chairman, Steven Birija who went to exile in United Kingdom still haunts Kiiza.

People who believed in Birija up to now consider Kiiza as an enemy since he used his Radio to witch hunt and demonize the leader they had entrusted with their power.

Kiiza would have had more chances to win the Masindi municipality MP seat given his financial muscle but the biggest challenge is that people in urban area know what they want and it is very hard to overturn their minds using money.

Secondly, Masindi district NGO forum is doing intensive voter education within four districts of Bunyoro that is Masindi, Kiryandongo, Bullisa and Hoima where people are being told day and night to eat the money but vote leaders who will serve their needs.

The two strong points make money less relevant for Kiiza to be comfortable to win elections.

Kiiza however his unchallenged strength might be having a radio station of his own to enable him do serious mobilization.

This is though not 100% since their other radio stations that can be used by his competitors to do mobilization.

Dr.Kirungi Moses

He is a resident of Kijura in central division of Masindi municipality. He was born on 20th January 1966 and is married with six children.

He has bachelors of Science in public health from Mountains of the moon university.

Dr.Kirungi Moses

Dr.Kirungi Moses

Kirungi has served as senior ophthalmic officer with Masindi district local government for over 20 years.

He is also the president of allied health professionals in Masindi district and a member of synod of Masindi Kitara diocese.

Kirungi retired without any bad record at work place and he has charismatic leadership skill and is good at mobilization.

He is a staunch NRM carder and lobbied for carder course training for students of Mountain of the moon University from the office of the president by the time he was serving as guild president.

Voters like Kirungi for behaving almost like a comedian whenever he is seeking for support most especially in the churches, mosques, at fundraising functions, burial functions and parties that he attends regularly to the extent of kneeling down before a common man that he describes as his boss.

He has always boosted for having been trained to deal with human beings unlike the incumbent he says was trained to deal with trees that forms forests where he should redirect his concentration to preserve them.

Much as Kirungi boosts of having dime, the savings he has made for the years he has been serving are merger compared to the rest of the contenders who have been or are holding juicy positions.

In fact out of the six candidates, it is only Kirungi and Lenox Mugume who do not have strong financial muscles.

The biggest challenge Kirungi has is means of transport since he cruises on a Bajaj motorcycle in his quest for votes.

Mugume Lenox

He has been serving as the chairperson Masindi district NGO forum until he resigned recently to pursue for his political ambitions.

Mugume Lenox

Mugume Lenox

He declared to stand as an independent candidate for Masindi municipality Member of Parliament race early this month.

Mugume says currently, the area member of parliament has not done anything to address the needs of the voters.

A few month back, Mugume who is also the chairman of Act Christ Ministries championed for a fundraising drive to have a road from that stretches from Masindi hospital gate to the theatre and other wards tarmacked reasoning that it was not convenient for the patients since it has several potholes.

Tugume Moses

He is a lawyer by profession who is currently practicing with Tugume Byensi and company advocates.

He aspired for the seat with minister Kiiza in 2011 general elections.

Tugume is an FDC stalwart holding the position of general secretary at district level and is vying for secretary legal affairs at the national level for which he was nominated and hopes to go through when elections of flag bearer are held on 2nd September 2015.

Tugume has a block of votes for FDC members and the other opposition parties who have not yet come out to front any candidate.

He has higher chances of becoming TDA candidate for Masindi municipality parliamentary seat.

In 2011 elections, Kiiza got 16,395 but Tugume gave him hard time given the fact that he is a good orator compared to the incumbent who has always relied on the party manifesto forgetting that people in different localities have mottled problems.

In case Kiiza takes the NRM flag given the fact that he has dived party members into different cliques, the aggrieved side may decide to vote Tugume since the incumbent has not delivered to the people’s expectations for the last four years he has been in office.

Moses Tugume

Moses Tugume

Tugume also planted FDC supporters to register as NRM party members with the intent of disorganizing Kiiza during the time of electing party flag bearer.

In fact, the FDC supporters who are in the NRM register are supposed to de-campaign Kiiza within the party and vote his competitors so that he is kicked out at the level of NRM primaries.

This will leave Tugume a chance to compete with a weak NRM candidate other than competing with Kiiza who is an incumbent.

The biggest challenge Tugume has is the blue colour of FDC party something that is attributed to his loss in 2011.

Most of the people say if Tugume can stand as an independent candidate, he can easily trounce Kiiza and he has an uphill task of explaining to the voters about the issue of FDC party.

Some people also hate Tugume because he has always stood in courts of law to roast them without any mercy since he has clients to represent and that issue has always tainted his political carrier.

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