By Solomon Hamala
The race for Iganga Municipality Member of Parliament 2021-2026 is not like any other seen before.
The race has been made tighter by the entrance of a new face as National Resistance Movement (NRM) Party flag bearer, Abdu Rahuman Toto. The incumbent MP and NRM supporter who lost in the primaries, Peter Mugema Panadol has stood as an independent.
eastnews.co.ug brings you who is who in the race for Iganga Municipality Parliamentary seat.
Peter Mugema Panadol (Independent)
Mugema is facing six other people for the position of Member of Parliament Iganga municipality and is the incumbent.
In 2016 after his re-election, Mugema was assured by supporters of getting another term if he fulfilled his campaign promise of renovating Saaza road.
The road that heads to Iganga district headquarters has been in a sorry state for the past twenty years.
Renovation work along the road is underway as his term of office comes to a close. Whether he is responsible for the renovation of the road or not, the fact that it is being worked on may work in his favour.
He has also promised to continue lobbying for the elevation of Iganga main hospital into a referral status if he is re-elected for a third term in office.
“I know which office to demand for something unlike some of my opponents,” he told this reporter.
Mugema said he also needs more time to lobby for the construction of a modern market to reduce overcrowding of traders along Saaza road.
“Construction of modern markets in other areas has already kicked off while others have been completed,” he said.
Rashid Kazingu, a trader along Ngobi road in Iganga Municipality said the area has not benefited much from government because the incumbent Member of Parliament Mugema is engaged in battles with district leaders like the resident district commissioner.
“Instead of presenting issues concerning his electorates before parliament our legislator is busy exchanging bitter words with district leaders,” he said.
Mugema has also been accused of frequently splashing money at youths during public functions instead of setting up development projects that would help provide job opportunities to youths and women.
“Instead of throwing money at members of the public why can’t he use it to either drill boreholes or put up projects that can benefit the people in the long run,” Kazungu said.
Mugema contesting on an independent ticket using the symbol of a table lost in the NRM primaries to Abdu Rahuman Toto but later returned saying the voting process was marred by irregularities like multiple voting and ferrying supporters from other areas.
Teddy Nalumansi, a chips seller opposite Mwana highway hotel said the area needs a leader who can lobby for investment projects to benefit its people instead of splashing money.
“What will one thousand shillings benefit me for the next five years a member of parliament is to stay in office?” She asked.
Panadol who is seeking a third term won the tightly contested 2016 elections with 15,322 votes against his closest rival Abedi Nasser Mudiobole with 12,542 votes.
Mugema has an uphill task of assuring the voters that this time he is determined to serve them and fulfill all his campaign promises.
Iganga municipality is faced with a problem of poor road infrastructure, a rapidly growing population with less housing facilities besides increased unemployment amongst youths and women.
Abedi Nasser Mudiobole FDC
Mudiobole is contesting on the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) ticket for the third time.
Mudiobole a Kampala based lawyer has promised to use his legal skills to convince local leaders from the neighboring sub counties of Nakalama, Nakigo and Bulamagi to allow for the expansion of boundaries of Iganga municipality to ensure it benefits from USMID funds.
“Issues of the municipality need a sober person like me who is in a better position to handle,” he said.
Mudiobole has also promised to set up a fund that will enable youths and women access interest free loans so they can improve on their household incomes.
“People are putting their leaders on pressure demanding money just because they are not financially empowered,” he said.
He has also promised to introduce Barazas at all villages in the municipality to give locals a platform to express their grievances that can be presented to parliament.
“It’s through these Barazas that one can seek solutions to some pressing issues,” he said.
Mudiobole also promises to set up coordination offices at all village levels to ensure the electorates present pressing issues affecting them.
Jacob Bikado, a saloon operator along the main highway accuses Mudiobole of always disappearing after losing elections only to return seeking for support in the next elections.
“People need someone who can always be there during times of sorrow or happiness but not coming at a time when there are campaigns,” he said.
However Mudiobole said he has always had a tight schedule while on duty in Kampala denying him chance to return back home.
Francis Muganga NUP
Muganga a lawyer by profession is a new comer in the local politics of the area.
Muganga also a member of presidential candidate Robert Kyagulanyi legal team came into the lime light when he organized violent protests protesting the bad state of Saaza road in Iganga municipality.
Muganga has promised to lobby investors to set up development projects in the area to provide employment opportunities to youths and women.
He has also promised to lobby government to construct a modern library in the area to provide a reading environment for students and members of the public.
“Up to now a full municipality like ours doesn’t have a library where students and members of the public can go and carry out research or reading,” he said.
Bakali Kiwandangabo, a hawker along Kaliro road said the infighting over the NUP ticket is likely to affect his support during the voting day.
Another NUP supporter who lost the bid to contest on the party ticket later contested as an independent saying he was denied chance because he lacked the money to bribe Party authorizing officials.
Abdu Rahuman Toto NRM
A popular Iganga based businessman was the husband to late Woman Member of Parliament Iganga, Kauda Hailat.
Having been a leader of his former wife’s campaign team, Toto came closer to the people by constantly attending public functions like burials even after the death of his wife.
Toto has promised to use his own salary to buy x ray machines for all the four health centers across the constituency to reduce on the expenses patients use travelling to referral health facilities elsewhere in case he is elected.
He has also promised to lobby government to set up an industrial park in the area to create employment opportunities for youths and women.
Toto enjoys sympathy support having lost his former wife just two years after being elected into office.
He has also managed to purchase balls, sports uniforms besides organizing football and netball tournaments across the constituency during public holidays like Christmas and Idd aduha a move that has helped him come closer to youths and women.
Being the NRM flag bearer puts him at a better chance of making it to parliament since Iganga municipality has a record of electing NRM party flag bearers.
Tony Nabongho a primary teacher at Iganga municipal primary school said most politicians have always been confused by mass crowds of people they think are genuine voters yet they are residents of neighboring sub counties.
“Being a business area many people come around to conduct their businesses here yet they are not full time registered residents,” he said.
Politics in the area is determined by issue of religion, party flag bearers (NRM is always favored) and how one freely interacts with the electorates before and during campaigns.
Denis Waiswa Independent
Denis Waiswa a NUP leaning contender lost the bid to become the official flag bearer and decided to contest as an independent.
Waiswa started his campaigns way back in 2017 by attending public functions, like burials canvassing for support from the electorates.
In fact most of his supporters and members of the public were shocked after NUP party officials turned around and instead handed over the flag to Francis Muganga.
Waiswa has promised to improve on the talents of youths by reviving Iganga football club to compete at national level.
He believes talent of youths can be spotted to play for international teams thus improve on the talents.
Tom Mukwenda Independent
A staunch FDC supporter, Mukwenda formerly served as Iganga municipality councilor representing Nkono parish for ten years before retiring to his own personal business.
Mukwenda has promised to lobby government to tarmac the Igamba to Kaliro market road, and Kaliro road to Kongola market road in case he is elected Member of Parliament.
He has also promised to lobby for the construction of a modern market for traders in Nkono and Igamba zones to create employment opportunities for youths and women.
Mukwenda said now is the time residents elected a member of parliament who can easily articulate issues in the English language.
“Parliament requires a person who can freely speak English because that’s a place for intellectuals,” he said.
However Mukwenda has been criticized for being involved in fights with government officials at Iganga municipal council while still serving as councilor instead of delivering to the electorates.
Juma Ngobi Alias J.J Independent
Juma Ngobi took part in the NRM primaries but lost before contesting as an independent saying the process was characterized by several irregularities.
Ngobi has promised to purchase street lights in all villages within the municipality to reduce on cases of armed thugs who terrorize residents during night hours besides lobby nongovernmental organizations to drill boreholes reduce on the distances locals trek in order to fetch clean drinking water.
Ngobi said he decided to contest for the seat after discovering that the area lacked effective representation in parliament.
“While other areas are benefiting from government programs the incumbent is simply doing his own business in Kampala,” he said.
Analysts believe a tight race is between the incumbent Peter Mugema Panadol and the NRM flag bearer Abdu Rahuman Toto.