President Yoweri Museveni has always enjoyed commanding support in Sembabule district but results from last week’s presidential elections as declared by the Electoral Commission (EC) show a sharp decline in the National Resistance Movement (NRM’s) performance in the district as compared to the previous elections.
In Sembabule, it has almost been an abomination for anyone to identify with the opposition until this year’s presidential and parliamentary elections when the National Unity Platform (NUP) broke the dominance.
Museveni’s tally from the January 14 presidential poll fell to 44, 442 votes representing 56.8 percent – a 13.47 percent decline in performance as compared to the 2016 elections.
In the 2016 general elections, Museveni garnered 51, 749 votes representing 70.27 per cent.
Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, the NUP candidate, polled 32, 776 votes representing 41.9 percent, according to results announced last week by the EC.
There are however reports of the results having been manipulated to put Museveni ahead of Kyagulanyi.
A presiding officer who preferred not to be named for security reasons told The Witness that armed men raided her polling station and stuffed the presidential ballot box with pre-ticked ballots.
“The presidential results of my polling station don’t tally with the numbers from the parliamentary elections, if someone time to match the numbers, they will discover the mismatch,” the polling official said.
Nonetheless, NUP is celebrating Goretti Namugga’s victory. The Mawogola MP-elect is the first opposition politician to win an elective position in Sembabule since 1986 when Museveni captured state power.
Robert Baine, the Sembabule district returning officer declared the former Masaka Municipal Council procurement officer winner with 9,783 votes beating her closest rival and National Resistance Movement (NRM) candidate, Dez Oswaldo Byuma who polled 8,418 votes.
Namugga’s constituency was once represented by Foreign Affairs Minister, Sam Kahamba Kuteesa, before it was split to create two more constituencies – Mawogola North and Mawogola West.
She has assigned herself the task of ending NRM dominance of the Sembabule politics.
She says that majority of the voters in the area have been longing for a change in political leadership and have been missing out on dependable candidates who have the audacity to withstand all sorts of pressure exerted opposition candidates who attempted to contest in the area.
“We now have a task to liberate this district such that our people can get the leadership they deserve and can make them better,” Namugga said.
Namugga is optimistic that on top of the parliamentary and local government positions, the opposition can equally defeat President Yoweri Museveni in the district.
The NRM spokesman in the district, Patrick Nkalubo downplayed Namugga’s threat, arguing that his party is still strong in the area.
To Nkalubo, the NUP politician benefited from fights among NRM leaders which left members disunited.
Additional reporting by URN