Does NUP stand a chance in NRM Strongholds?

NUP candidate William Musisi campaigning in Magoma trading center in Nakaseke district

William Musisi broke the barriers when he got nominated as the first opposition candidate for the Nakaseke LC-V Chairperson, a seat that has been held by the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM’s) Ignatius Koomu Kiwanuka since 2006.

Musisi is the flag bearer for the opposition National Unity Platform (NUP), and being that Nakaseke is in the epicenter of the bush-war that thrust the NRM to power 34 years ago, some political commentators see this opposition politician as having an uphill task to make inroads in the NRM stronghold.

NRM has dominated the Nakaseke politics since the district’s creation in 2005, the same year the country switched to multiparty democracy.

In 2016, Koomu sailed through unopposed since there was no competitor to challenge him. The district also gave the NRM presidential candidate, Yoweri Museveni 76.2 percent support.

Musisi has unveiled his 10 point program manifesto with the hope of wooing voters and win the seat for his party.

The manifesto largely focuses on improving agricultural services, protecting land rights, job opportunities for youths, better health and education services among others.

He has already set out to meet voters in 441 villages that make up Nakaseke district to tell them about how NRM has forgotten them when it comes to service delivery despite their contribution to the bush war that ushered it in power.

Some voters in Nakaseke central constituency have welcomed Musisi’s manifesto as good, saying it’s time to vote for opposition candidates because of disappointments by NRM leaders.

Muhamadi Lubwama, a resident of Magoma trading center in Kikamulo Sub County, says that several people are unhappy with the NRM government over the delayed compensation of veterans and rehabilitation on installations that were destroyed during the NRA war of 1981-1986.

Some of the residents complained of the delayed tarmacking of Luwero-Kiwoko-Ngoma road and several other unfulfilled pledges.

But will Musisi campaign in Nakaseke North, a constituency known not to tolerate opposition politics? The constituency has a large voting population because of its densely populated Ngoma, Kinyogogga, Wakyato, Kinoni sub-counties and Ngoma Town Council that any candidate would want to get its support.
In previous electoral seasons, opposition candidates including the four-times presidential contender, Dr. Kizza Besigye were rudely welcomed to the area. At some of their campaign venues, they found empty seats because state operatives and NRM leaders had allegedly warned locals against attending the opposition meetings.

In 2011, the FDC candidate in the constituency, Moses Kabalema was attacked and his vehicles put on fire over his support for the opposition. Since then, no other opposition candidate has contested in the area.

Last week, NRM’s Enock Nyongore was declared unopposed for the parliamentary seat. Nyongore chest thumped saying that voters in the area only vote for NRM candidate, and is confident that Koomu, the NRM candidate for the LC-V seat will receive overwhelming support.

Nyongore is Koomu’s chief campaigner in the constituency where NRM and particularly Museveni, mysteriously score 100 percent at some polling stations.

Musisi said that he is battle-hardened and downplayed the hostility fears in Nakaseke North saying that the residents there are also ready for change.

Musisi might share the same challenges with DP’s Esther Nakawooya and NUP’s Violet Nakalema who are competing with NRM’s Sarah Najjuma for the Woman MP seat.

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