The ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) is seeing an opportunity in the endless wrangling within the opposition Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) to flip Rukungiri district from the opposition hands.
Rukungiri, home to FDC strongman, Dr Col. Kizza Besigye is an FDC stronghold, with three of the four MPs from the district belonging to the opposition party.
Fred Turyamuhweza trounced NRM’s Maj. Gen. Jim Muhwezi Katugugu for the Rujumbura county seat while in Rukungiri Municipality, Roland Mugume Kaginda defeated NRM’s Dr Elisa Rutahigwa as Winfred Matsiko lost the Woman MP seat to FDC’s Betty Bamukwasa Muzanira.
In the presidential poll, Besigye carried the district garnering 58,883 votes against the NRM candidate, Yoweri Museveni’s 56,425 votes.
The FDC is however currently locked in internal wrangles following last August’s party primaries which saw senior party officials – Ingrid Turinawe Kamateneti (national mobilizer), Darius Tweyambe and Winnie Babihuga contest as independents.
The trio was later expelled from the party for contesting for breach of the party rules which left the FDC supporters in the district sharply divided.
Turinawe’s supporters violently clashed with her rival Dr Warren Nuwagaba’s supporters during the FDC presidential candidate Patrick Amuriat Oboi’s visit to Rukungiri last November for his campaigns.
For the NRM leaders, the internal wrangles in FDC are working to their advantage, and are taking them as as an opportunity to strengthen the NRM support.
Geoffrey Tindarwesire Kenzigye, the NRM candidate for the Rukungiri Municipality mayoral race sees a likelihood that the FDC flag bearers and FDC-leaning independent candidates will all share the votes of the opposition while NRM supporters will remain united and emerge victorious.
Ambrose Kibuuka Tumwesigye, the coordinator of Rukungiri District Team 1 (YKM) Sevolution, a pressure group mobilizing support for Museveni says that the wrangles have started yielding positive results to NRM party.
According to Kibuuka, in the last three months, more than 200 members of FDC have defected to the NRM.
Esau Rwamitooma, a voter from Mitooma village in Nyakagyeme Sub County says that NRM currently has one challenge in Rubabo county where FDC flag bearer Naboth Namanya who has no competition from the opposition is out-competing NRM’s Mary Paula Turyahikayo Bebirungi.
However Virginia Kyarugahe, the FDC chairperson in the district argued that much as there are FDC-leaning independent candidates, the party has solid support and its candidates will emerge victorious.
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