I am on mission to liberate Kamuli's affirmative action seat – Musumba

By Sam Caleb Opio

How are the campaigns going?
The campaign trail has been very hectic. I have to deal with many unresolved social and political issues and it is a big classroom for me to learn and relearn community work and activity.
But particularly for Kamuli, it is a very sad story of disconnect between the leaders and people they lead; opportunities for the people next to the [River] Nile and capital; a big disconnect in resource allocation.

Why did you zero in on running against the Speaker of Parliament and yet you could have chosen other constituencies?
For starters, we are sisters, friends and proud Busoga girls outside the political realms. [NRM secretary general] Justine Kasule Lumumba and I were ‘Rebecca’s bag girls’ and know a lot about each other, only that we have different egos.

I was MP Bugabula South when I was appointed commissioner in Parliament. I was LC5 for Kamuli with full support from her [Kadaga] and her party president with whom we signed a public pact to work together, which still holds. I contested for Kamuli Municipality [MP seat] against the late Rehema Watongola and lost to her. I could have chosen to stand in Buzaaya where I am married, have a home and children.

Kadaga equally could have opted and shifted to Buzaaya, or the municipality to allow the young girls leverage. To be point blank, she fought me whenever I chose to stand that is why I chose to go for her.

Isn’t this political disrespect for someone you say you were her ‘girl’?
I am one person who has had political fortunes and failures and for anybody who has not tested the contestation of this magnitude and enjoys cult-like deceptive status must be shocked and scared.

This is not disrespect, but shows two things. One, that Busoga does not have political elders after the death of Bishop [Cyprian] Bamwoze. And two, the silence of political arbitrators points to the reality that perhaps they are waving me on having found someone who could bell the cat.

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There is talk that you are on a mission to betray Busoga…
I am on a self-appointed mission to liberate, unblock and redeem the affirmative action seat meant to leverage and groom young girls into leadership, for which she [Ms Kadaga] has refused to relinquish and not allowed political growth anywhere. Everything is about her, for her and with her as the political alpha and omega. This must end.

I have committed no crime in contesting against her because leadership must refresh, or else it hangs up and crashes. So we are in a process called rebooting and reinstalling Windows in the leadership computers of Kamuli.
It is not anyone’s project, but my own and my mission is to stop her in her tracks. She doesn’t appreciate others, she is a sole flier, a political heckler and the biggest stumbling block who uses her position to fail, suffocate and undermine systems, procedures, unity, and everybody else for self-advancement to the detriment of the population.  

You seem to be enjoying support, including from government circles. This is a little unusual of an Opposition candidate…

Yes. I enjoy the campaign trail and people are giving me political support because I am a very thorough person and the voters are relieved that they have a choice. 
There are wild allegations that government, in particular Mr Museveni and ‘the mafia’, are funding me and have already given me Shs10 billion; that security is protecting me instead of tear-gassing and arresting me. Mbu how can a person who has had no job for five years have funds to sustain the campaign of this magnitude? Blah blah blah. 

Yes, there have been attempts to bribe me, not into, but out of the race in her favour. I have been a witness to all political conjuring and trickery, political disasters and opportunities, political fraudsters and tricksters, conjuring to understand the goings on in this place. So I am in the right place at the right time to put all this together and there is no better person than me.
 
There are allegations that you are bribing voters
I am a law-abiding citizen and I do everything within the ambit of the law. In the Parliamentary Elections Act, there is a provision for giving a refreshment to the people you meet. 
I am bribing nobody and have no intentions of bribing anybody. But I am only being a normal human being, talking to people affected by and who are making ends meet.
It is a logistical nightmare to carry water or soda in a lorry, aware that not all are like you. Some fishy fella can spoil the refreshment.

What of the bad roads you didn’t work on…
The campaign rallies are full of propaganda. That I ‘ate’ money for the roads, that we gave ourselves lucrative posts as secretaries for works, and that my successor, a thief, is the campaign manager of another thief. But we are still waiting to be arrested and charged. Anything short of that is classical rumour mongering, brand and password my opponent is known for which is catastrophic.  
This has become the character of politics of the country which has made decent people take leave and run away.

What was your experience as district chairperson and what lessons did you learn?
Most people do not understand the calamity called Local Government and the pains the district chairpersons suffer without resources and power. The chairperson has merely delegated responsibility and the authority is vested in the District Local Council, which makes all decisions.
Actually, the reality is that even as the District Executive Committee, you report to council to take decisions, leaving the chairperson vulnerable.

The Local Government structure we have in place right now under decentralisation is a displacement of district authority and all powers recalled to the centre where they continue derailing systems. So really, all that is said in the campaign times is to show you who these people really are.

You have been accused of running down the district as chairperson
Political machinations, not me. I worked so hard to put things right to the extent of being ranked second best chairperson in the country. But the Speaker was the weakest link of my tenure in office, using council that blocked every motion I brought to be able to look for other resources that would help the district work.

I was failed because I was a lone voice. The rest of the councillors were NRM members who were manipulated in the so-called party caucus to undermine and fail me as Opposition yet in actual sense they were failing the district and the people.
Remember, I had signed a public pact with the President and NRM chairman, Mr Museveni, to work together and implement the NRM Manifesto which public pact has not been withdrawn.
 

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