Why the opposition lost to Sematimba in Lubaga

On the just concluded by-elections of Lubaga Division (constituency), a lot must have been talked.Out of a regestered 130,000 voters:

1. 17 000 voted the opposition candiates.

2. 15,000 voted the fomr N.America base diaspola ‘ssenga’ (sex-therapist on CBS)  turned pentecostal pastor of the NRM.This means that the turn-out was 25% of th electorate, which constitutes a MASSIVE BOYCOTT.This means that ssematimba was elected with an 11.5% vote.

1/10. Summary: Every body must fight for principled UNITY, even “of opposites” as they used to teach in philosophy classes.
The DP-FDC rift should not be looked at in clear-cut terms or as a “black-and-white” issue. Why? They have worked together before.
2/10. Iexamples are not few: In the Buyikwe by-election, FDC campaigned for the DP candidate. The young doctor won easily. To trounce the NRM so called “living encyclopaedia” in Bugweri, DP did not put up a candidate.  katuntu went through, causing NRM shem – for a whole deputy PM to loose in his own area.
What is the problem today then?:
3/10. The not so simple answer is “personalitioes” and ‘personalisation of Politics’ and some “poplitical hangover” with  some people.
That is why you have situations where, for example, in the last election,  “Seeya” Ssebagala had to distance himself from DP and ride on the then “besighye factor” [muna-magye y’esobola muna-magye munne – i.e. a soldier (M7) can only be managed by a fellow soldier] – which may have fizzled out now. That is, he read the peoples’ mood and mind better. So did Ms Nabila who even had her party [Social Democratic] but decided to ride on the mentioned factor when it lasted.
4/10. Come places like Lubaga division: The mood and mind of the people were clear for everybody to see. “You either join togethr or we shall not vote”. DP’s bringing in the husband of the late Chair did not help matters: it split the DP core-vote catchment area, to the extent that the Doctor shephard at Lubaga DID NOT support the DP candidate, Mr. Makumbi. He supported, instead, Mr. Ssendikadiwa, a regular perishoner!/member of the Liety.
5/10. Before the media hype by the FM radios and the pentecostal/NRM avalanche swept in, Owek. Joyce Ssebugwaawo was the ‘soul’ candidate [in most peoples’ minds]. After all, had she not been elected fron the RC’s starting 1987 up to the District council before she left to concentrate on Mmengo issues, after the coronation in ’93? [Owek. is short for “owekitibwa” – a tittle for high officials at Mmengo, especially ministers. Alomost like “Honourable”.]
6/10. BUT, but, but: DP considered this Lubaga the ‘cradle’ of the Party and even Owek. an ‘outsider’. The turn of the tide agaist Owek. Joyce Ssebugwaawo is what alarmed the rest of the opposition leaders. The Results were/would be inevitable. The “Man” Ken {Kennedy} Lukyamuzi, President of the Conservative Party cried at the rallies and FM radios almost daily ” People, INITE!!! You are gifting the NRM with an unpopular oition again”. His permanent call fell on the deaf ears of the opposition leaders. Calls for compromise meetings were ignored. the situation became so bad that even the FDC leader predicted the minority NRM’s  victory at one rally, which may also have contributed to the boycott.
7/10. Confusing the electorate: Another of the main causes of the confusion and subsequent boycott was the ‘anti-Joyce’ rhetoric of Beti’s “Federal Alliance”. The tiff between the two ladies Joyce and Beti within FDC board-rooms spilled into Lubaga politics. One voter [first name Francis, a Ssebugwaawo supporter asked, “If the Federal Alliance is for Buganda, how come they are decampaigning Owek. Joyce? I am giving my vote to Owek. but there is no chance with this ‘fratricide’. It’s bad” he concluded. His wife, like many potential opposition voters thus stayed at home.
8/10. So, were “Ssenga” [sextherapist] SEMAT’s votes genuine? Well, he got 11% of the whole voter-roll and that is not something to sing home about. In the last three days, the state macinery came in, in addition to the other preachers and hired youth brigades. Even though some good votes were ‘manufactured’ at Kyadondo road {NRM hqrs}, the media and poster and newspaper advert-campain were so massive that he had to get some votes. In fact, the per-capita cost of Ssematimba’s vote was, may be, 20 times higher than that of all opposition candidates put together.
So, the 11% was not bad, considering the presidential and ministerial ‘man-hours’ invested. The fact though remains, the cost in monetary terms was not justified by the fewer votes he picked, even in view of the wide-boycott.
9/10. Way foward: If the opposition are to have any go at the state next time , they must:
    • Stop being driven by the past: “this is our area’, “this is our nationality”, etc. The NRM uses state resourecs to enter through such flimsy divisions.
    • UNITE. Nothing need be added here. stop egos and selfishness. Indeed, does a house divided aginst itself stand?

10/10. Otherwise, the Uganda citizen-voter will continue to be betrayed by the  the so called ‘political elite’ in Party leaderships. The Lubaga spectacle, like those before it, is an indictiment of the political leaders, for failure to guide the people properly and fo being slfish. The leaders are lucky to escape with a boycott this time around. Next time they may be stoned for failing to do the obvious.

Cry, the beloved Country” – as Allan paton would put it in our stuation today [like he did in the case of 40’s/50’s South aAfrica].

Christopher Muwanga,




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