The sun will shine on a Mukono South election 2011 without Janat Mukwaya

People wandering around Mukono town

It is interesting that the medi

a reports and commentary have either deliberately or unknowingly steered clear of Janat Mukwaya’s reputation in Mukono South. They have instead, in typical fashion, chosen to applaud her on an involuntary decision to quit – which by the way us lot in Mukono South already new about. Not because Mukwaya told us BUT because the writing was written on the wall.

Seeking re-election in the face of an imminent loss would not only have resulted in disaster for this veteran minister and former bush fighter but also a telling commentary on the friable state of the Museveni government – a gigantic edifice of repression, corruption, ineptitude and malfunction.

People here are so fed up, like no other in this country, of their MP. Mukwaya’s reputation in this, my home constituency, had fallen like a sack of hammers that there was no way back if she dared seek re-election. A look at the previous two elections would certainly tell you why. In the election before the last, she had her nose rubbed in mud by Wasswa Kanakulya, only the latter to be stripped of the seat as his academic qualifications were later found not to fit the bill; a misfortune that meant Mukwaya was in to share the spoils. We all know how she was vehemently wrestled in the most recent election.

Traders in Mukono market

This woman, I respect for her services to constituency and country, had no other option than to quit politics to avoid getting battered in 2011 and no amount of her trademark intimidation and all sorts of election malpractices would have stopped the people of Mukono South to unleash punishment. Oh yes! Mukwaya – like Museveni – is incapable of winning a free and fair election. Particularly the last two elections have been marred in Mukwaya engineered intimidation/threats (and some times, low key violence), and coercion of voters or her opponents.

Most of these things have gone unreported by the mainstream media BUT the are all too common here. Her departure brings a sense of relief BUT it is not the end of coercion here.

Now there is talk of NRM fronting, in 2011, Mrs Sekiziyivu, a woman without any known close ties with Mukono South, although she occupies the district’s women’s seat and lives in Mukono North – migrated here from Kiboga where she was Woman MP, (1992-1996). NRM peer, Bakaluba Mukasa, the man who was at the heart of rigging in the disputed Mukono North election rambles on; may also have a last ditch effort here, in Mukono South, as Nambooze makes Mukono North a no-go zone not for him in 2011. That is not to say we do not have home-grown talent here who may throw their hat in the ring.

I am not so sure whether there are any NRM votes left here. Mr Museveni was here recently and the locals largely snubbed his visit; and it easy to see why most of them stayed away. There is genuine and ever-growing resentment in this resilient corner of arguably the most dynamic district in the country. The president’s continued cajoling of support out of voters here (on promises – which we have heard before in previous campaigns – of the laying of Mukono-Katosi road) has so far fallen on deaf ears. What they did painfully note though was his belittling remark, during his ‘Bonna Bagagawale’ promotional tour, that he didn’t understand “why people ask for power and tarmac roads when they have no incomes”…adding that “you first buy the shoes you will use to walk on the tarmac”. The roads here – all loosely surfaced – are despicably potholed, dusty, largely impassable and accident hotspots in most parts of the year.

Whatever happens, anyway, the sun will shine on a Mukono South election 2011 without Mukwaya.

Kalule Mbowa is a native of resident of Mukono South – Lived and schooled here and will probably die here.


5 Comments so far. Leave a comment below.
  1. ugandansatheart,

    What areas does Mukono South cover? It is true that Hon. Janat Mukwaya is not poular in that area. The alst time around she had lost but bounced back after NRM friendly election officials found some votes for her. She was declared the winner by fewer than 100 votes. So she saw the writting on the wall plus she took a hard line stand on CBS. Yaswala.

    There was some comic drama before YKM when Hon. Bakaluba Mukasa offered to shift to Mukono South only to be told off by Minister Mukwaya that someone who cannot win in Mukono North has no chance in Mukono South.

    NRM is fronting the current women MP to run in Mukono South.

    Now the opposition should pay attention to the recruitment of strong and credible candidates. Priority should go towards homegrown candidates who understand the areas they are seeking to represent.


  2. ugandansatheart,

    On my part am sad that she’s gone because the best way to show such people the way out is via the will of the people. Janet Mukwaya will always be a disgraced politician in my estimation. She was corrupt, arrogant and I feel sorry for the people of Mukono who have had to put up with her all this time. I have no doubt that Mukono and Uganda will be a far better places without her.

    Michael Senyonjo
    UAH forumist

  3. ugandansatheart,

    we should thank Mukwaya for quiting electoral politics other than fabricating stories against her. Next time we shall not get others quiting.
    Ahmed Katerega

  4. Kalule Mbowa,


    I am slightly taken aback by Mr Ahmed Kateregga’s allegation, “…fabricating stories against he [Mukwaya]”.

    I am the author who broke the story, via the New Vision on-line discussion board, that Mukwaya’s announcement of retiring was largely due to her fear of floundering at the 2011 Parliamentary election. This fear stemmed from voters piling pressure on her and their growth into a rock-solid movement that would not be easy to crack by intimidate, as before, at the looming election.

    I can tell you, hand on heart, that there is no fabrication in my package, not in any way, shape or form. Whatever is in it is nothing but factual, some of which was reported by your organisation, The New Vision. The rest was, I think, typically left out; thus my contribution belabours the other side of the story. And I put it as it is not as I want it to be.

    One would have expected the state-owned New Vision (like any other serious, balanced and impartial newspaper) to report this other side of the story. After all, news reporting is all about reporting the world as it is and not as we want it to be.

    Now I, as a local, can give you a bigger picture of my Mukono South and it trouble with politicians.

    There is all the evidence to back up my story. In fact there was no single New Vision Reporter that did any sort of far-reaching investigation whatsoever (about the Mukwaya announcement to retire from active politics) in this constituency; no interviews or polls with the locals, no nothing. The closest we came to seeing a New Vision reporter, I can only suspect, were a few ‘pen-pushers’ that were part of Mr Museveni’s entourage when he came here to apparently promote “Bonna Bagaggawale”.

    And we now know what they reported about Mukwaya’s announcement to retire. It is no more than the usual gibbering we have come to expect of this newspaper.

    I can’t remember seeing those ‘pen-pushers’ leave the president’s milieu to try to engage any gathering addressed by the president – number of local attendees never went beyond a three digit figure, and I must say a great many of these were faces from his own presidential retinue. I only wondered what this big entourage had to do with promoting “Bonna Bagaggawale”.

    If Mukwaya was popular and ‘politically clean’ here her support would have translated into massive turnouts at the Museveni gatherings or ‘rallies’ as you New Vision lot called them.

    Mind you, when the president first came here, way back in the late 80s I was the smallest of ‘midgets’, an innocent soul, a baby to be frank…and the sea of humanity that gathered to see him were incredible; those images are still (almost permanently) implanted on the inside of my eyelids.

    It is also very true that those numbers have since taken a nose-dive. And it is fact that Mukwaya has been gagging voters here not just during elections; dissent during campaigns has been secretly or publicly quashed, some times at gunpoint; and silently we live on. I have all the evidence for this; and I won’t be intimidated to give it when time comes, for I know I am on the people’s side no matter what happens.

    I have grown up with Mr Museveni’s government, I have seen government promises/pledges made and then thrown into the long grass; seen good legislation either selfishly tinkered with or not implemented after all; seen incompetence at local level and at the heart of central government; I, I have seen people’s hopes dashed by the same Museveni that came here when I was a kid, in every sense and meaning of the word.

    And my story is not isolated among us lowly lot although, it may not reverberate among those in high places/corridors of power.

    We have all heard the president cajole and laugh to scorn, at least most of the time, his audiences’ humble and genuine calls for government support and help BUT on this occasion (when he came to Mukono South recently) he excelled himself.

    He confidently disparaged us. It was pouring scorn after scorn after scorn. It was as if he was basing his assertions on conclusive results of a study that has proven that the people of Mukono South do not need tarmac roads because of their being in abject poverty. The president never gave us any reason why we should hang onto life but instead he appeared to seemingly insinuate that we should wrap ourselves in self-pity – something we detest – BUT vote for him and NRM nevertheless.

    He appeared to sneer at our obvious signs of dire poverty-stricken mien, distress, malnutrition, neglect, disease and hopelessness.

    He decried our long-standing and widely known imploration of government for a tarmacadam Mukono – Katosi road and help with electric power distribution in our ‘shacks’ as empty nothingness.

    “I don’t understand why people ask for power and tarmac roads when they have no incomes”, said the Ugandan president. He advised us to first buy shoes that you will use to walk on tarmac before we hype our calls for tarmacadam roads.

    He was unequivocal; in a superficially skillful manner, Mr Museveni lunged at the people of Museveni, and the message was patronizingly clear: Vote for the people I send here otherwise you will walk away with nothing. The people were deeply non-responsive and that is no sign of joy for the president or the out-going MP, Mukwaya.

    Is it just about right that people of Mukono chose demand for at least one tarmac road in the entire constituency? Just one, we beg the government. Not because it is fashionable to have one; Mukono – Katosi road is the heart of our economy. It is even much more important to us as we attempt to re-invigorate agriculture and help diversify a previously, largely fishing-oriented local economy in some parts (thanks to the second dam at Jinja that has seen L.Victoria waters dwindle to a record low level thus stifling fish reproduction in the face of overfishing).

    We are undoubtedly resilient, work hard everyday, feel each other’s pain, hang onto one another in the hope that things will one day get better. We detest Mr Museveni’s continued patronage and attempts to choose our leaders. If he and Mukwaya cajoled a blank cheque out of us in the past, we immune to that now.

    We do not ask for much, just a dependable road to help us commute, deliver our produce to the markets where it is much need, we are the country’s biggest and pioneering producers of vanilla…it is a painfully delicate process to its maturity and we dread to see it perish on farms because the roads are impassable. It is a simple as that. These are just efforts to fight poverty here; acknowledged by the president himself. “Am happy that in Mukono, there are strong efforts by the people to fight poverty”, he pointed out.

    We are no meaningless ‘wafflers’. We are just normal, ordinary Ugandans trying to make the most of the God-given one life we all have…and our story is not isolated in today’s Uganda

    Mukono South? This is a Kalule Mbowa country; I perambulate it from Koome islands to the heart of the biggest town in it, Mukono; form Bule to Ntenjeru, Nkokonjeru to Kisoga and Nakisunga; from Ggonve, Katutu, Nsanja to Mpunge, Mivvo-Kojja; Ntanzi to Mpumu and Kibanga port, you name it. During my travels, as an inquisitive local trying to make meaning of our existence here and attempt to find ways of us lot helping ourselves, I talk to people and they narrate their problems, fears, they express their anguish at Mukwaya and Museveni government BUT they also highlight their frustration with a weak opposition. I share their problems, plight and experiences. I call this place home and no one would know a place better than someone who calls it home.

    There is no fabrication of stories about Mukwaya or Museveni here, for your info Kateregga. And even if one here were tempted to fabricate stories, they would not have much success, if any, because the truth lies here and it is all visible.

    In any case, I would, like many other Ugandans, be sceptical about Newsmen who sit in offices in their shining city and put pen on paper without even getting the facts on the ground. I know this because I cut my teeth with some of them. You would blame me either for my cynicism aroused by incompetency of politicians seated on a rapidly sinking ship, will you, Kateregga?

    For sure I would blame myself if I praised Honourable Janat Mukwaya for not seeking a new term because I know there was no way back for her. I know the truth because I have seen and I have lived it.

    Additionally, the lack of any voices (not even cacophony of some sort – isolated or staged – from here in Mukono South or even Nakasero) calling upon her to reconsider her declared position is a telling vindication of my side of the story and Mukwaya’s incredibly diminishing role in ‘class ’86.’

    While all issues will receive some attention during the looming campaign (election 2011), the people’s composite view of the Mukwaya/Museveni leadership (and how it has affected most lives here over the last 23 years) will have a more significant impact on the outcome.

    Kalule Mbowa is a native of Mukono South, from where he contibuted this comment.

  5. Mike Ssegawa,

    Kalule Mbowa
    I have read your notes on Mukono South. I also appreciate the fact that you’ve walked the dirty roads (if you want to call them that, but they are worse than dirty) of this part of Buganda.

    I was raised in Kitebe, Seeta Nazigo Parish in Nakisunga sub-county. I understand your frustration with Museveni and Mukwaya. When I am going home, my prayer is, it doesn’t rain a day before,because the road from Kisoga to Kirondo/Kitebe, is one of the worst I have seen.

    Secondly, people down not only struggle to make a living off their gardens and farms, but they are being cheated by middlemen.

    Our leaders have made no deliberate plans to ensure these households earn something…people have no money even to spend on basic needs like medicine, kerosene, soap, etc…

    However, Mr Kalulu, I implore you to empower our people…to pressure them into offering services. Why is there no one to call upon LC II and LCIII leaders to explain whether there is money for this and that services. Why can’t citizens learn to move into the offices of LC5 chairmen, like this so called Mukoome’s office, to ask whether he has sent money to the sub-county…and how much….and for what purpose?

    We have to learn to hold our leaders responsible…and because those guys we elect use those office to earn a living for their families.

    I think I have typed too much, but I would like to get in touch with you and see how best we can help our community.

    Mike Ssegawa

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