The ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) risks losing the Bukimbiri County constituency by-election due to internal intrigue and in-fighting manifesting as the Electoral Commission (EC) continues to nominate other candidates.
By the end of business yesterday, Monday 1st August 2022, two candidates Turyagyenda Asigario, an NRM-leaning independent aspirant and Forum for Democratic Change (FDC)’s James Owebeyi had been duly nominated by Daniel Nayebare, the Kisoro district Returning Officer.
The NRM preferred candidate, Eddie Kwizera Wagahungu is expected to be nominated today, 2nd August 2022. He is also the incumbent. His election in 2021 was cancelled by the court after petitioners complained of irregularities on the 2021 ballot paper.
The Bukimbiri County by-election comes barely a week after the tumultuous Soroti City East by-election that pitied NRM against their archrivals FDC.
While the EC announced NRM the winners, FDC feel their candidate was the people’s choice but was robbed of his victory through ‘grave irregularities massive ballot stuffing, voter bribery, intimidation and imprisonment.’
Bukimbiri County by-election presents the two political rivals a moment to settle a score only that this time, internal fights threaten to weaken the ruling party. The first fight NRM must win is to settle squabbles between Turyagyenda and Kwizera.
This will be hard though. Shortly after nomination, Turyagyenda, an NRM stalwart, told journalists that he is not intimated even if his party forsakes him. “I don’t care whether my party has forsaken me but I am ready to work for my people,” Turyagyenda is quoted by New Vision.
Reports from Kisoro say the NRM vice chairperson Alhajji Moses Kigongo is not happy with this split and has condemned it. He has reportedly lashed out at some of the Members of Parliament from Kisoro who have chosen to support Turyagyenda even when the party officially endorsed Kwizera.
Some of the NRM MPs campaigning against Kwizera, according to ChimpReports, include Nizeyimana Kamara (Bufumbira North), Dr James Nsaba Buturo (Bufumbira East and Paul Kwizera Bucyana (Kisoro Municipality).
Nizeyimana and Bucyana escorted Turyagyenda for nominations at the Municipal head offices in Kisoro district.
The Vice Chairman underscored that the Bukimbiri poll is not about individual candidates to earn NRM party victory. “Errant members will be summoned by the party disciplinary committee and those found culpable shall face punitive measures as a deterrence to other members,” Alhajji Kigongo said.
He added: “The people of Bukimbiri County voted Mr. Kwizera to carry their flag and went on to win the general election. The movement therefore cannot tolerate any one who threatens to divide the party by contravening our ideologies and core principles.
After the Soroti City East by-elections, the NRM leadership has vowed to win every by-election to consolidate their countrywide support and further tighten the grip on the country’s leadership and rule.
According to the Electoral Commission, the nominated candidates will conduct campaign meetings for seven days, that is, from Wednesday 3rd August till Tuesday 9th August 2022. The polling and tallying of results will be conducted on Thursday 11th August 2022.