Bickering between the state minister for Regional Affairs, Philemon Mateke and the Kisoro Resident District Commissioner (RDC) Capt. Pater Mugisha has reached worrying levels within the ruling Nayional Resistance Movement (NRM) party especially as the two officials continue to trade counter accusations over the party’s declining support in the district.
Mateke, who is also the NRM chairman in Kisoro accuses Mugisha of using foul language and creating animosity among residents, costing the party the enormous support it previously enjoyed in the border district.
President Yoweri Museveni scored a landslide win in Kisoro district with 86,533 votes in the 2016 general election, while his closest challenger Dr Kiiza Besigye got only 9,943 vote, according to results released by the Electoral Commission.
Mateke says that the party’s support has gone down and more people are swinging between the various opposition groups. This forced the party leadership to launch an investigation to ascertain why locals have started hating NRM and found out that Mugisha was the main reason.
Mateke says that he and other NRM leaders appealed before Museveni to transfer Mugisha from Kisoro because he is failing the party in vain.
“We asked the President and all the other relevant authorities to transfer our RDC because he is here to fail the party, but, there are some other people who went and defended him,” Mateke said.
According to Mateke, Mugisha has sabotaged their efforts of recruiting more supporters from the opposition to NRM by intimidating them.
He also accuses Mugisha of usurping the role of the party chairman in the district.
“He is one person who thinks that he can sabotage the NRM in Kisoro but as the chairman of the party in the district, I am not with him. He has suffocated the recruitment of more members into the NRM,” Mateke said.
Mugisha hit back, telling Mateke not claim to love the NRM and Museveni more than him – the RDC, who represents the NRM supremo in the entire district.
Mugisha said that Mateke has a personal issue against him, and further accused the minister of disrespecting his office of as well as undermining his efforts to mobilize support for Museveni.
“Between me and Mateke, who is more NRM than the other? He should respect himself if he wants to be respected. I expect him to conduct himself as a minister, and he should respect the office of the RDC. It is unacceptable for him to fight me for his selfish reasons,” Mugisha said.
Mugisha says that Mateke’s anger stemmed from Museveni’s failure to campaign in Kisoro on December 12 as had been scheduled.
Matters were not helped when the NRM leaders defied Mateke and travelled to Kabale for Museveni’s meeting.
The Kisoro NRM leaders were called to Kabale after Museveni failed to make it to Kisoro but Mateke, unhappy with the decision made a futile attempt to mobilise the leaders to boycott the meeting.