FORMER State Minister for Tourism and Wildlife Antiquites Ssalongo Godfrey Kiwanda Ssuubi is today Friday set to overwhelmingly win NRM Primaries for the EALA by elections after President Museveni’s endorsement.
The ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) members of Parliament will today Friday convene at Kololo Airstrip to elect their flag bearer in the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) by election.
By today morning, all NRM members of Parliament have been still getting calls from the Deputy Speaker of Parliament Anita Among, Prime minister Robinah Nabbanja and Government chiefwhip Thomas Tayebwa ordering them to vote for Kiwanda because, “He is President Museveni’s choice for this job.”
The whole of yesterday, NRM MPs privately met at the Pearl of Africa Hotel in Kampala to be briefed on what to do if the election hour comes.
MPs we talked to confirmed being given brown envelopes as transport refund ahead of today’s Kiwanda elections.
On Tuesday, NRM Secretary General Richard Todwong released a final list of six party members who presented themselves to contest for this seat.
They include: Kabula man James Kakooza, Kiwanda Ssuubi, Kenneth Nsubuga Sebayunga, Umar Lule Mawiya, Abbas Mutumba and Nakato Kyabangi.
How the number dropped from 26 to 6 contestants, we shall come back to this later
WHY M7 ENDORSED KIWANDA
After the sudden death of EALA MP Mathias Kasamba who doubled as Director Mobilization at the NRM Secretariat, his MP seat fell vacant and had to be filled since there is still a year for the expiration of this term.
Kiwanda was last year forced to pull out of the Mityana North MP race for Moses Kibedi Nsegumire since he was contesting for NRM Vice chairman Buganda region was promised a ministerial position in the 2021 cabinet.
However, instead, President Museveni dropped him and many think, this was because of the allegations of an intelligence report against Kiwanda on how he frustrated NRM leaders in greater Mityana like Judith Nabakooba who lost to NUP gal Joyce Bagala.
On losing the ministerial job, Opposition leaders like Mukono Municipality MP Betty Nambooze Bakireke turned Kiwanda into a laughing stock calling him a political rejectee used and dumped by President Museveni.
Kiwanda felt disappointed by his government whose trumpet he has been blowing on different media platforms.
He believed was being fought by mafias in government who wanted him sent into early retirement. In fact no one expected Kiwanda to miss out on the new cabinet due to how he had driven and scored highly in the Tourism ministry.
We are reliably informed, a crestfallen Kiwanda approached party leaders like Ruth Nankabirwa asking them to plead for him before president Museveni if he had errored any where, to be forgiven.
When EALA called for a by election, Kiwanda was quick to show interest and found his way to President Museveni for endorsement.
Insiders say, Kiwanda cried before Museveni to the extent that his shirt became wet, begging the party chairman to allow him go and serve the party in EALA.
With a parental heart, Museveni said, “Ok Kiwanda, we shall see what to do.”
This is when rumours started making rounds on social media that CEC had endorsed Kiwanda.
Museveni wanted it done Kadaga-Oulanyah way but party legal brains advised Muzeeyi not to give chance to such an illegality, that the due process must be followed to have Primaries, which the big man okayed.
It was opened to all party members with qualifications and this is how 26 aspirants picked papers from the party EC headquarters.
TUESDAY MEETING @ STATE HOUSE
President Museveni invited all the 26 candidates for briefing. When he started addressing them, he said this position was for Buganda.
“Those who are not from Buganda, please step aside, NRM will find for you something else to do.” Ruled Party Chairman.
While selecting EALA representatives, NRM normally considers Regional Balance, Gender and Sheds of opinion.
The current first four EALA MPs out of Nine (9) were elected on Regional Balance.
These are: Hon. Paul Musamali (East), Hon. Denis Namala (Western), Hon.Odongo (Northern) and late Hon. Mathias Kasamba (Buganda). On Gender balance they had Hon. Mary Mugyenyi and Jon. Rose Akol. The other two MPS Fred Mukasa Mbidde and Chris Opoka represents opposition political parties while Suzan Nakawuki is for independents.
So this time the Region whose member died was Buganda Region.
It is on this ground that President Museveni asked contestants from other regions to leave this slot for Buganda candidates.
BUGANDA’S 13 CANDIDATES
After candidates for other regions pulled down, race remained with 13 candidates. President Museveni asked them to get one candidate to quickien the process.
Given a break to sort out themselves, leaders (names withheld) sweet talked some of these candidates to leave for Kiwanda.
“Muzeeyi has not been open to you but the truth is, his choice is Hon. Kiwanda. Please don’t complicate this process, just pull out he will definitely deploy you somewhere.” Top party bosses told other candidates.
At the end of the break, Seven (7) of the 13 candidates declared how they had lost interest in the EALA by election.
Hon. John Bosco Lubyayi (former Mawokota South MP) was the first to speak. He said, “Mr. President, with due respect and for the good of our party, I and other six (6) candidates have agreed to step down. Like you said Chairman, we will serve our party in other deployments as you wish.”
A happy Museveni thanked Lubyayi for making his work easy.
The six other candidates, none was ready to step aside.
However, writing on all walls shows Museveni wants Kiwanda and by the end of today, he will be the official party flag bearer for EALA.
By press time, we are told of the six candidates, some had already tipped on leaving for Kiwanda.
If Kiwanda goes through as expected, it will be a walk over in Parliament since NRM has the majority meaning, it’s a sure deal, he will beat hands down any other contestant.