Ibrahim Al-Malik Kitatta shocked guests at his inauguration ceremony as Lwengo district chairman when he named some of the opposition National Unity Platform (NUP) councilors to his district executive committee.
Kitatta won a hotly contested election on January 20, defeating NUP’s Joseph Balikuddembe to replace the controversial George Mutabaazi as the LC-V chairman.
He polled 24,821 votes against Balikuddembe’s 18,614 votes, letting off another fight as Balikuddembe contested the outcome of the elections.
At his inauguration on Tuesday, Kitatta pledged not to let political, tribal and religious biases to compromise any efforts to unite the district.
“We shall do whatever is within our means to unite our district and move as one irrespective of our different religions, tribes, political parties and everything else that may be between us as a people,” Kitatta said.
“In the past, we used to have NRM dominating all political positions in our district but gone are those days. We will be blind if we choose not to listen to the demands of our people who have chosen to have a rainbow district council,” added the youthful NRM activist.
His statements surprised many that attended the inauguration ceremony at the district headquarters given that his record as an ardent NRM supporter who as a member of the ruling party’s youth league got deeply involved in campaigns to slow the progress of opposition parties.
Leading a district is not a party affair, Kitatta reasoned, opening his audience to the fact that voters in Butokoto South did not stop at picking an MP from the opposition party but all the councilors from the three sub-counties in the constituency to the district council belong to NUP.
Bukoto Mid-West and Bukoto West constituencies picked a mixture of independents and NRM councilors.
“The executive must be representative of the thoughts of Lwengo district as a whole if we must move forward,” he said, further telling his audience that even President Yoweri Museveni, despite being the NRM chairman, has always added members of the opposition to his cabinet.
He picked Vincent Birimuye (NRM) as his deputy and secretary for Education and Health, Innocent Kanyesigye (NRM) as secretary for Finance, Planning and Administration, Mary Kampiire (NRM) as secretary for Production, Marketing and Trade and Isa Bukenya (NUP) as secretary for Gender, Labour and Special interest groups. Peregrino Ssenozi (NRM) took the speakership while Bena Nabakka (NUP) is deputy speaker.
He said that sanitizing the politics of Lwengo district especially the office of the district chairman is key on his agenda.
In a veiled attack on his predecessor, Kitatta pledged to “return the due respect of the office of the chairperson of Lwengo district” with none of the district leaders and staff expecting “to hear words that are heard in bad gatherings.”