Exposed: Dirty Secrets Behind NUP’s Recent Fall Out With Prominent Political Leaders & Celebrities

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Exposed: Dirty Secrets Behind NUP's Recent Fall Out With Prominent Political Leaders & Celebrities
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The fallout among individuals who are competing for endorsement by the National Unity Platform (NUP) party in the forthcoming general election is sharp, and the accusations they throw at one another are serious.

In Rubaga North, for instance, Mr Moses Kasibante, the incumbent Member of Parliament, has printed posters with the inscription “Rubaga North is not for sale”.
He accuses his rival, Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) speaker Abubaker Kawalya, of pouring money into the constituency to lure voters to his side.

Mr Kawalya was elected to KCCA on the ticket of the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) but he fell out with his former party when he was denied endorsement to run for the speaker position last year.

FDC favoured Ms Doreen Nyanjura for the position, but Mr Kawalya mobilised and defeated her. Allegations flew that Mr Kwalya had allied with the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) party councillors, and the deal entailed Mr Bruhan Byaruhanga of NRM being elected deputy speaker of KCCA while Mr Kawalya took the speaker slot.

Bobi Wine on the spot over “fraudulent” acquisition of NUP - Nile Post

Mr Kawalya would later cross from FDC to Mr Kyagulanyi’s camp.The allegations have continued. Mr Kasibante has branded Mr Kawalya a fifth columnist, who he says is embedded within the Opposition to work for the ruling party. Mr Kasibante’s campaign pitch is that he faces two NRM candidates in Rubaga North – Lands Minister Beti Kamya who holds the ruling party ticket and Mr Kawalya, who Mr Kasibante accuses of being the “covert” NRM candidate.

“Voters have to be sophisticated and understand that NRM has this time set an overt trap, who is Kamya, and a covert one who is Kawalya. They are free to receive the State money these two will bring but should continue to side with the forces of change which I represent,” Mr Kasibante said.
Rubaga North is one of those  constituencies which were stood over by the vetting committee of NUP, and another committee sat on Thursday to reconsider the matter.

A final decision on who would represent NUP in Rubaga North and the other constituencies over which decisions regarding flagbearers were deferred, was expected to be announced by the end of yesterday after the sitting of the party’s executive committee. Mr Kasibante, being an incumbent MP, is one of those who are said to have joined NUP having agreed with Mr Kyagulanyi that they would be the party’s flag bearers in their respective constituencies.

This suspected arrangement is already causing unease within the party and unsettling Mr Kyagulanyi’s wider support.
For the case of Rubaga North, for instance, Mr Makolo Kavuma, a regular caller into Luganda radio talk shows and supporter of Mr Kyagulanyi, took to Facebook to complain about what he saw as a plot by some players – he named Busiro East MP Medard Lubega Sseggona, Butambala MP Muhammad Muwanga Kivumbi and

Masaka Municipality’s Mathias Mpuuga and accused them of trying to influence matters so that Mr Kasibante gets the NUP ticket.
Mr Kavuma claimed that Mr Kasibante has not stamped his authority on the constituency and Mr Kawalya has greater appeal and stands a better chance of winning the constituency for NUP.

Meal Card Politics Defacing Uganda's Multi-Party Democracy – Red Pepper  Uganda - TDBN

Mr Sseggona and Mr Mpuuga plunged into national politics in 2011. Before then they were officials serving in the Kabaka’s government at Mengo, the seat of Buganda Kingdom.

The duo is part of a group of Baganda politicians who came together under a pressure group they named Ssuubi 2011 and competed in different electoral areas as they backed Dr Kizza Besigye’s bid for the presidency under a certain arrangement.

The agreement they entered with Dr Besigye, who was the presidential candidate for FDC, was believed to have given Ssuubi 2011 the right to determine candidates for Parliament and local governments within Buganda region, who Dr Besigye would back.

That is when Mr Kasibante emerged as the Ssuubi 2011 candidate for Rubaga North, and he was considered the favourite Opposition candidate for the position even when Mr John Kikonyogo, a member of FDC, was also running in the same constituency.

Mr Kasibante was deemed to have won the election but a series of dramatic acts led NRM’s Katongole Singh to be declared winner, although the courts later reinstated Mr Kasibante as winner and sent him to Parliament without a by-election.

Ssuubi 2011, whose patron was former Buganda Kingdom Katikkiro Mulwanyammuli Ssemwogerere, also included Kira Municipality MP Ibrahim Ssemujju, Mukono Municipality MP Betty Nambooze, Butambala’s Kivumbi, and Kampala Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago, among others.

Those who accuse Mr Sseggona, Mr Kivumbi and Mr Mpuuga of trying to impose Mr Kasibante as the NUP candidate for Lubaga North say the group is doing whatever they are doing paying more attention to the interests of their Ssuubi 2011 group and not necessarily the interests of NUP.

The members of Ssuubi 2011 are spread across different political parties, particularly NUP and FDC, and knowledgeable sources say this too is a source of discomfort within the ranks of NUP.

One point of potential fallout is Mr Lukwago, who is running to retain his Lord Mayor position in Kampala.
Mr Lukwago recently joined FDC as he finally removed doubt as to whether he would return to DP, having run as an Independent candidate on two previous occasions. NUP has nominated Kampala Woman MP Nabilah Naggayi Sempala to also compete for the Lord Mayor position. Ms Naggayi is into her third term in the MP position, having won on all three occasions standing on the ticket of FDC.

She has had a number of showdowns with FDC over the years, and their relationship was terminated just over a week ago when she joined NUP.
Before that, she had tried to run for Lord Mayor on FDC ticket but was rebuffed, with the party saying she returned her nomination papers after the nominations had elapsed. But it had most probably more to do with trust issues than not observing the set deadline.

With Ms Nabilah set to face off with Mr Lukwago for the Lord Mayor position, some NUP members, most notably Mr Kasibante and Ms Nambooze, have made it clear that they will back Mr Lukwago despite not being a member of their party.

It is also difficult to see Mr Mpuuga, who is NUP’s vice president for Buganda, and Mr Sseggona, backing Ms Nabilah over Mr Lukwago.
Sources say when Mr Kasibante appeared before the NUP vetting committee for the first time, he was quizzed about who he would back for the Lord Mayor position, and that he responded with a straight face that he would back Mr Lukwago.

Mr Kawalya, who is competing against Mr Kasibante for the NUP ticket, fell out with Mr Lukwago over the KCCA speaker job, which Mr Lukwago wanted to go to FDC’s Nyanjura, who multiple sources say he considers more loyal to the Opposition’s cause. When Mr Kawalya, in alliance with some Opposition and NRM councillors, defeated Ms Nyanjura to the Speaker position, Mr Lukwago appointed Ms Nyanjura as the secretary in charge Finance and Administration at KCCA.
But things were to get even more complicated. Mr Lukwago’s then deputy, Ms Sarah Kanyike, was appointed by President Museveni as a director for Gender, subject to passing an interview by the Public Service Commission.

Ms Kanyike, however, did not qualify for the position of director at KCCA, the commission would later find, because she did not have an advanced degree. When the commission notified the President of that development, the head of state appointed Ms Kanyike State minister for the Elderly and Disabled in the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development, which  position she took up.

Sources say that Ms Kanyike, despite being prodded by Mr Lukwago to nominate Ms Nyanjura for the position of Speaker, actually preferred Mr Kawalya, for whom she secretly campaigned among the councillors.
Sources say it was during the times of brokering the alliance between Mr Kawalya and the NRM councillors that it was agreed that Ms Kanyike would take up an appointment from Mr Museveni.

Mr Lukwago filled the Deputy Lord Mayor position which Ms Kanyike vacated with Ms Nyanjura.
The fallout between Mr Kasibante and Mr Kawalya, therefore, is deeper since Mr Kasibante is seen as being too close to Mr Lukwago. It appears that whoever of the two NUP chooses, the other will run as an Independent.

This would require one to wind the clock back to 2017. Mr Muwada Nkunyingi, a lawyer, was jostling for the FDC ticket for Kyadondo East after the Court of Appeal threw Apollo Kantinti, still of the FDC, out of Parliament. The grounds of Mr Kantinti’s eviction from Parliament were that the Electoral Commission (EC) had disfranchised a number of voters when it failed to tabulate a number of ballot papers cast, which apparently affected the outcome in a substantial manner. FDC rejected Mr Nkunyingi and stuck with Mr Kantinti, citing party rules which provide that a flagbearer holds the flag for five years.

Mr Robert Kyagulanyi, aka Bobi Wine, too, who was taking baby steps into politics, had the backing of Kasangati Town Council Mayor Tonny Kiyimba Sempebwa.
He approached a number of parties for support in his election bid, including FDC and the Democratic Party (DP).
FDC declined to support Mr Kyagulanyi, saying it would be unfair to Mr Kantinti, in addition to it being unfair to Mr Kantinti.

Mr Kyagulanyi competed for the seat as an Independent and won by a landslide. He headlined the need for empowering the power of the people, triggering the formation of the People Power movement. Three years down the road, Mr Nkunyingi has discarded FDC, joined Mr Kyagulanyi’s People Power and later NUP, and has been selected by the new party as its flagbearer for Kyadondo East, the constituency Mr Kyagulanyi represents. This came at the expense of Mr Sempebwa, who had positioned himself as the heir apparent from the moment Mr Kyagulanyi declared that he would run for president in 2021.

The decision has left a wedge between people who supported Mr Kyagulanyi in his constituency, like Mr Sempebwa, and those who joined him later, like Mr Nkunyingi.
“Well, many of the people who started here in Kyadondo East have been discarded. Most of the people who were on the president’s [Kyagulanyi] election committee have been dumped,” Mr Sempebwa said.

He added: “But we are here and I will run as an independent. Just like we won with Kyagulanyi in 2017 without the support of any party, I will do it even this time.   I will not disturb people in NUP because I know I’m very firm on the ground. I will win.” Mr Sempebwa was until recently a member of DP. He was an ally of Dr Besigye and was instrumental during the 2011 walk -to -work protests.

He moved on to support Mr Kyagulanyi for the presidency once Dr Besigye said he would not run in 2021, and now accuses NUP’s elections management committee of not only corruption but also denying him a fair hearing.
“Not getting the party ticket never came as a surprise to me. I heard that Nkunyingi paid a lot of money to get that ticket, but as you know I don’t have that money. I have to fix roads for my people. And by the way they never called me for the vetting so I don’t know the yardstick they used to say Nkunyingi is better,” Mr Sempebwa said.

Mr Nkunyingi denied buying the ticket. “Anybody who says that should know that I will sue them and they will answer,” the lawyer, who recently asked the Electoral Commission to avail him with President Museveni’s academic documents, threatened.  “I was vetted and I think the committee found me to be very articulate and strong in the constituency.”

Mr Jeremiah Keeya Mwanje, the secretary to NUP’s elections management committee, in a phone interview admitted to not being part of the vetting process of the Kyadondo East parliamentary candidates, but insisted Mr Ssempebwa was invited for vetting.
“My role was mainly to provide logistics but I’m sure Mr Sempebwa was invited and it was up to him to turn up or not to,” Mr Mwanje said.
Other allies cry out

Another person who feels he has been thrown under the bus despite supporting Mr Kyagulanyi since 2017 is Samuel Walter Lubega Mukaaku, a former presidential candidate who is eyeing Rubaga South constituency.

His opponent, Aloysius Mukasa, has also been accused of doling out cash to secure the ticket. In August, Mr Mukaaku was sacked by Mr Kyagulanyi from NUP’s electoral body and the declared reason was that he was a candidate and would not impartially decide on the fate of other candidates.

But Mr Mukaaku wondered why it was only him who was removed from the vetting committee while some other members who were also candidates stayed put.
Mr Mukaaku has now sided with a group of politicians who aren’t amused with the way NUP has handled the candidate selection process, and he has thrown his weight behind musician Joseph Mayanja, alias Jose Chameleone, for the Lord Mayor position.

Jose Chameleone Joins Fellow Veteran Musician Bobi Wine's NUP Political  Party | Chano8

Chameleon was nominated this week to run for the position as an Independent, having been denied the NUP ticket. Mr Mukaaku is now said to be a permanent fixture at Chameleone’s office on Balintuma Road, in Mengo, Kampala. He said he will run for Rubaga South MP as in an Independent.

Another NUP dissident, Michael Mabikke, fell short of describing the party that he has just joined, as an NRM butt, and he said the entire vetting process in which he was outwitted by Derrick Nyeko, for the Makindye East slot, was riddled with corruption and tribalism.

“There are people who wear red during the day and go for NRM meetings at night. My opponent, for example, who took the flag, is NRM,” Mr Mabikke said of Mr Nyeko while appearing on NBS TV on Wednesday.  “He has been distributing Youth Livelihood funds…”

Mr Nyeko is a councillor at KCCA, elected on NRM ticket, but defected to NUP.
Another headache is playing out in the battle of the newly created Nakawa West constituency, which was formed earlier this year after Nakawa Division was cut up into two – with Nakawa East being the other constituency.

The first headache for NUP leaders was when Ronald Balimwezo, the Nakawa Division mayor, decided to run in Nakawa West, putting him on a coalition path with NUP’s mouth piece Joel Ssenyonyi. who is seen as Kyagulanyi’s blue-eyed boy, who was eyeing the seat. Kyagulanyi intervened and after several meetings, Balimwezo capitulated and agreed to contest in Nakawa East.

No sooner was the deal done than Kenneth Paul Kakande, who has been contesting and losing in Nakawa since 2006 joined NUP as a party member, discarding his DP card.
Kakande sensing that sooner or later the constituency would be divided had started mobilising in Nakawa West, and now having joined NUP, the party yet again was back to square one.

This time there was no compromise:  Mr Kakande wasn’t willing to drop out, and neither was Mr Ssenyonyi. And as per results released by the party on Tuesday night, Mr Ssenyonyi was the victor, triggering anger.

Mr Kakande has responded by writing a petition poking holes in the decision to give Mr Ssenyonyi the party ticket.
According to Mr Kakande, the three yardsticks NUP’s committee used when determining who will be candidate are  experience in politics, education levels, and how long a person has been with People Power movement which has now metamorphosed into NUP.

“I have over 20 years’ experience in the struggle of causing change, I have three degrees and many diplomas and I have been with People Power from Kyadondo East, to Jinja [ Jinja East by- election], to Bugiri[ Bugiri Municipality by-election], to Arua [ Arua Municipality by-election],”  Mr Kakande said.
“So they are yet to show me how much I scored but I know I was better than my rival.”

He added: “I will petition but if they press on with their decision then I will stand as an Independent and the people will decide. This is a young party with several challenges and I won’t disturb them further.” Mr Kakande’s account was disputed by Mr Mwanje, who said that the vetting benchmarks went beyond that.

With many of his allies bound to run as Independents in the coming election, Bobi Wine is left with a difficult choice. It is a problem that those who have traveled a similar path in the past have treadled.

Dr Besigye nearly always had allies rivaling for the same constituencies in many of the areas. As a strategy, he would always introduce all the rivals on his side who were standing for the same position and invite voters to pick the best.

Then there was Hajj Nasser Ntege Sebaggala, who died a week ago. In the days he was kingmaker in Kampala, he would always pick one candidate and endorse that one, and would communicate his decision to the voters.
It remains to be seen whether Mr Kyagulanyi will adopt the Besigye or Sebaggala approach in dealing with the massive fallout he faces.

Kawempe North constituency is another bother. NUP’s organizing secretary Suleiman Kidandala and Kawempe North councillor Muhammad Ssegirinya have nothing to separate them. Kidandala is believed to be more eloquent while Ssegirinya is one of NUP’s biggest mobilisers. They are all hell bent on standing, no matter what NUP’s honchos decide.

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