Rifts are emerging within the Democratic Party (DP) ranks in Kyotera district after the party leadership agreed to a proposal to anoint Fortunate Rose Nantongo to replace her mother, Robina Nakasirye Ssentongo in the 2021 race for Kyotera Woman MP.
Ssentongo died of COVID-19 last Friday at Mulago Hospital and was buried on Sunday at Lwankoni village, Kyotera district at a funeral that risked turning dramatic.
At the funeral, messages from politicians deemed to be against the decision to anoint the deceased MP’s daughter were suffocated as the DP leaders sought to minimize dissent.
“I thought they would invite all of us after burial but they acted hurriedly even before time. I was so surprised to hear them announce the daughter,” a disgruntled DP supporter who preferred not to be named said.
Another one who hoped to run for the seat under the DP card told us that her condolence message and contribution wasn’t readout.
“Never ask why people defect to NRM,” the angry DP member said.
Much as Ssentongo was a key figure in presidential candidate Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu’s People Power movement, the National Unity Platform (NUP) was advised not to cancel his scheduled campaign program in Mbarara and Bushenyi districts after the local NUP detected confusion on the eve of the funeral.
Not even his deputy, Mathias Mpuuga who was next door in Masaka attended the burial.
“I was there on Saturday evening but based on our assessment of the situation, we decided to send representatives,” Mpuuga said.
Kalungu West MP Joseph Ssewungu and his Mityana Municipality counterpart Francis Zaake represented the NUP.
Delivering the NUP message, Zaake urged all political parties to join forces against President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni other than fighting among themselves.
He said fighting fellow opposition candidates creates an opportunity for their common enemy to take advantage of them.
A Uganda Radio Network (URN) correspondent who attended the funeral reports that not even the DP president Norbert Mao who was present was spared of the embarrassment.
Much as he is the party’s presidential candidate, Masaka Woman MP, Mary Babirye Kabanda who is also the party’s national treasurer told him in the face that they are not supportive of his presidential bid.
This, she said, is because Kyagulanyi has proved to be more competent as compared to other presidential contenders.
Mao hit back by likening Babirye to dry leaves, which are blown by the wind off their firm tree, saying that politicians like her always end up in misery for lack of a foundation and true identity.
Mao said that much as Ssentongo helped NUP to get off its feet she remained in her party and supported him, according to the party principals.
He said party members, who do not support him, have no right to weigh his competence because they Know nothing about his capabilities.