By Solomon Hamala
The race for Iganga district Local Council Five has attracted 8 candidates.
This website today brings an in-depth analysis of who is who in this tight race.
The eight are Ezra Gabula NRM, Nasser Kongola NUP, Shabiru Isabirye FDC, Peter Isabirye ANT, Sinani Wakinyakali, Sylivia Kateme, Paul Luganda and James Mawanda all independents.
Sinani Wakinyakali, Paul Luganda and James Mawanda had earlier lost in the NRM primaries and decided to contest as independents claiming the voting process was marred by irregularities.
The incumbent LC 5 chairman Iganga district, Patrick Kayemba, this time round opted to contest for the position of Member of Parliament Kigulu South.
Kayemba who contested as an independent after losing in the primaries had in the 2016 polls beaten the former LC 5 chairman Shaban Nkutu by 23,123 votes against 17,331.
Iganga district has a population of 505,405 people, 12 sub counties with majority of the residents being Basoga and Samia.
Factors that normally determine politics in Iganga
Politics in the district is always determined by tribe, religion, economic background and social status.
Voters in Iganga always choose their leaders depending on the manner in which they interact with the people even before starting to canvass support for any elective position.
Most politicians pull out at initial stages upon realizing that voters are criticizing them on the way they behaved before joining politics or after being elected into any political office.
Ezra Gabula a popular NRM mobilizer for Busoga region previously served as vice chairperson LC 5 Iganga for five years.
Gabula a veteran politician also served as district councilor for Nambale Sub County for twenty years before being appointed vice chairperson LC 5 Iganga by former LC 5 chairman, Shaban Nkutu.
However analysts suspect Gabula was appointed after mounting pressure on Nkutu to explain before the district council on several occasions how shillings 150 million meant for construction of a four class room block at Bukoona primary school had been utilized.
Councilors had by then accused Nkutu who also doubled as the secretary for education for having connived with technical personnel to embezzle the funds meant for the construction of the class room block.
Not surprisingly when he was appointed vice chairman LC 5 Gabula became silent and was not vocal like he had been before and it ended the debate on the disappearance of the funds till now.
Gabula has always promised to improve on the education standards in the district by purchasing past papers from Kampala based schools using his own salary.
“Iganga just like any other district has good pupils who can excel just like those in Kampala and other urban areas but our pupils just need that little support,” he has always argued.
He has also promised to lobby investors to set up development projects in the district to provide job opportunities to youths and women.
Being a veteran politician and seasoned NRM moblizer for Busoga region, Gabula stands a high chance of making it unlike his opponents.
A tight race is however between Gabula and the only female contender, Sylvia Kateme, an independent candidate.
His political opponents have used his past background to speak ill of him accusing him of being a corrupt person who cannot hold public office.
While still serving as LC 5 vice chairperson, Gabula was ordered to refund shillings 1.5 million he had earlier taken from a primary teacher promising her to be appointed by the district service commission.
Gabula believes he is the better choice of all his opponents having served in a high position of vice chairperson LC 5.
Patrick Mudungu a resident of Sekabusolo village Nabitende Sub County however said electing Gabula would be a great mistake since he was proved guilty of having received a bribe from a primary teacher in order to influence district service commission.
“How can such a person become a district leader yet he has been proven to be corrupt?” He asked.
Gabula however denies the accusations saying its only courts of law that can prove whether someone is guilty or innocent.
“I know all these accusations are being labeled onto me by some of my political opponents but I personally know I have a clean record,” he said.
According to the complainant, Sarah Nakayiza, Gabula promised to use his position to influence the district service commission to appoint her as a government primary teacher but he failed to do so.
Sylvia Kateme a former manager with a microfinance institution in Kampala has attracted the attention of most youths and women in the district.
Kateme though new in politics has managed to attract the attention of most of her supporters through her superb oratory skills that leave the audience yearning to listen more to her speeches while at any public function.
Kateme has promised to use her accountancy skills to put pressure on district officials to utilize effectively government funds meant to benefit the public, improve on the infrastructure like roads, besides lobby government to construct more health facilities in the district to ensure better health services for the locals.
She believes now is the time for a woman leader to be elected to the position of LC 5 chairman since men have tried before and failed.
“Women can be trusted in terms of holding public funds unlike men,” she argues.
Kateme has an advantage being a born of an influential Kateme family in Nabitende Sub County that always determines the politics of the district.
However she has been criticized for always spending most of her time canvassing for support at public functions instead of moving door to door like her opponents.
Jane Namaganda, a fish trader in Iganga central market said Kateme is a soft spoken person who cannot manage to run the district.
“We need someone who can boldly stand up and say no to any corruption tendencies at the district,” Namaganda argued.
Kateme said being a soft spoken person does not mean she cannot react in case there was something not going the way she felt.
“How can someone run a bank as manager for over seven years and you think she is weak?” She asked.
Paul Luganda, the district councilor for Nawaningi Sub County declared his intentions to contest for the seat of LC 5 chairman way back in 2017.
Luganda who has been critical of the current leadership of Kayemba before council for failing to address the problem of corruption a move he claims has led to loss of tax payers’ money.
Luganda said his first task upon being elected will be to rid out all corrupt district officials besides ensure all those found guilty of having embezzled government funds are charged before courts of law and ensure they refund the money.
He has also promised to improve on the welfare of teachers through construction of staff quarters in all government aided schools as a way of improving on the academic performance.
“Most of our pupils are performing badly especially in primary leaving examinations because teachers take long to report for lessons,” he claims.
He believes Iganga municipality is not eligible to access USMID funds from government because the current district and municipality leaders’ have failed to sensitize chairpersons from neighboring sub counties on the benefits of expanding boundaries.
Nasser Kongola, the NUP flag bearer is a new comer in active politics.
He came into the lime light when he always mobilized youths to welcome Robert Kyagulanyi along the main highway whenever he passed by heading to the direction of Mbale or Busia.
Kongola who enjoys majority support amongst youths has promised to lobby from government and nongovernmental organizations for the installation of x ray machines in all the health facilities in the district to reduce on the cost patients incur travelling to referral hospitals.
“All these small things can be handled by a district leader who is determined to serve the people who voted him into office,” he said.
He said it’s through his continuous mobilization of youths to protest the bad state of Saza road in Iganga municipality that forced the President to recently commission for its tarmacking of the 2 kilometer stretch.
“If it was not for our protests, nobody would have known that we are in need of a better road,” he said.
Yakuti Bazalanki, a saloon operator along the main Iganga to Jinja highway said Kongola has the advantage that most youths who are the majority voters have this time round picked interest in voting and likely to turn up in big numbers to cast their ballot in his favor.
Wakinyankali earlier this year resigned his position as member of the district service commission in order to take part in elective politics.
After losing in the NRM primaries where he came second with 23,456 votes against those of the party flag bearer Ezra Gabula with 45,231 votes he decided to contest as an independent using the symbol of a bicycle.
Wakinyankali has promised to lobby government to inject more funds into women and youth projects to ensure they are financially empowered.
Having served in previous positions as education officer, member of the district service commission, Wakinyankali believes he is the only capable leader to steer the district to development in case he is elected.
Shabiru Isabirye, a prominent businessman based in Iganga is contesting on the FDC ticket.
Isabirye has previously held different positions on the FDC party leadership for Iganga and took advantage to become flag bearer following the split of the district to create Bugweri.
Baker Musobya who previously contested for the same position of LC 5 Iganga for three consecutive terms this time round opted to contest for LC 5 Bugweri district.
Isabirye when contacted said he wants to air out the views of the ordinary people in case he is elected into the position.
He promised to lobby for construction of at least three government aided secondary schools in each sub county to reduce on the expenses parents incur to transport their children to better schools elsewhere.
Peter Isabirye is the ANT flag bearer for LC 5 Iganga district.
The former primary teacher is a new comer in elective politics.
Isabirye said he has made all the ground work to ensure he wins the LC 5 polls.
Being a professional teacher, Isabirye said he wants to improve on the education system by providing a conducive environment for teachers to conduct their duties through construction of staff quarters.
He has also promised to ensure the road connecting Iganga to Mayuge via Bugabwe is tarmacked to enable farmers transport their produce easily unlike in the past where vehicles plying the route always get stuck due to the bad nature of the stretch.
James Magoola a resident of Bukyaye village Nakalama Sub County said most politicians tend to forget fulfilling their campaign promises and instead focus on seeking ways of making money to pay back debts they incurred during campaigns.