Dr. Sarah Muwonge Nkonge’s nearly 15-year-political marriage to President Yoweri Museveni Tibuhaburwa’s National Resistance Movement (NRM) has come to a shocking end.
The former senior presidential advisor on Land matters announced her support for Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu’s presidential bid at the weekend to the chagrin of NRM mobilisers who knew her as part of them.
Nkonge, an independent candidate for the Lwengo Woman parliamentary seat announced her defection on Saturday as she canvassed for support in Kingo sub-county.
She first dropped the shocker at Kabwaami A village where she appeared with a host of National Unity Platform (NUP) and People Power coordinators before she sang praises for Kyagulanyi, the NUP leader.
“I regret why I joined NRM… while others who were cheated in the NRM primaries have been listened to, no one has picked interest in listening to me. Some have been compensated, others have been given job placements while I continuously get treated as an outcast,” she said.
Nkonge has twice lost the NRM primaries to the sitting Lwengo Woman MP, Cissy Diniozio Namujju, allegedly unfairly, and has on both occasions stood as an independent.
After losing the September 2020 NRM primary poll, Nkonge made a futile attempt to move the High Court in Masaka to block Namujju’s nomination as a parliamentary candidate on grounds that she lacks the requisite academic credentials.
Many looked at her an NRM-leaning independent candidate much as her campaign posters until the yellow background they had, disappeared completely.
Joseph Bukenya, the NUP candidate for Kingo sub-county LC-V councillor said that despite his party having an official candidate – Elizabeth Nakasagga in the race, he is backing Nkonge because “she stands a better chance.”
“The most important thing is that she is not shy about her support for my president [Kyagulanyi],” Bukenya said.
Mathias Mpuuga, the NUP deputy president in charge of Buganda said that Nkonge had not formally communicated to the party leadership.
“Maybe she wants to seize opportunity to get support since we enjoy wide support in the district. We will wait to see how she plays her cards,” Mpuuga said.
Bukenya said that several NUP/people power campaigners are already working for her and are waiting for Kyagulanyi to visit the district to formally introduce her to him.
Nkonge joined the NRM in 2005 as Museveni sought to defuse the growing influence of the newly formed Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) as the country transited to multi-party democracy.
Although she originally subscribed to the Democratic Party (DP), Nkonge became a key figure in Dr. Kizza Besigye’s Reform Agenda pressure group under which he first challenged Museveni to the presidency during the 2001 elections.
At the time, Nkonge held the portfolio of Kampala deputy mayor under the late Al-Hajji Nasser Ntege Ssebaggala.
After Ssebaggala threw his weight behind Besigye’s presidential bid, Nkonge nicknamed herself ‘Nanyondo’ to match Besigye’s ‘Ssenyondo’ nickname he had picked from Kyotera where mechanics gave him a symbolic hammer to drive Museveni out of power.