Kampala. As campaigns heat up in Arua Municipality, NRM AND Forum for Democratic Change bigwigs, including President Museveni and Dr Kiiza Besigye, have pitched camp in the area to drum up support for their candidates ahead of the Wednesday parliamentary by-election.
In what has become a political culture of both the Opposition and the ruling NRM, leaders of both parties are garnering support for their flag bearers ahead of the by-election on August 15.
While FDC party president Patrick Amuriat, Dr Besigye, Mr Nandala Mafabi and other party leaders are campaigning for the flag bearer, Mr Musema Bruce, Kyadondo East MP Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, also known as Bobi Wine, has opted to campaign for Mr Kassiano Wadri, an Independent.
Bobi Wine acknowledged that it was a tough decision to make because their candidates are good.
“It took me a lot of time to think carefully on who to support.
The five candidates that we have on Independent ticket are all good. But Wadri is better because he has all the qualities and has been loyal to FDC,” he said.
He added: “We are on a mission to take President Museveni out of power. And so the people of Arua lead us into this if you vote for Wadri. Let us remain united because the twist in support does not mean that we are not together in the party.”
At a rally in Arua Town, Mr Wadri said he opted to contest as an Independent because of the rigidity in the party constitution and intrigue among members.
He added that he would ensure there is skilling of youth in carpentry, mechanics, hairdressing and technology so that they become economically independent.
The team from NRM that includes deputy secretary general Richard Todwong and State minister for Housing Sam Engola have been holding meetings with some party supporters in Arua Town.
Mr Museveni is today scheduled to address garner support for party flag bearer Nusura Tiperu. According to the NRM communications officer, Mr Rogers Mulindwa, the President will address two rallies in River Oli and Arua Hill divisions.
Aruu South County MP Odonga Otto, an FDC member, is campaigning for Mr Robert Ejiku (Independent). Mr Odonga commands support among the youth and women.
The Wednesday race is tight as most of the candidates have capacity to win in a free and fair election.
Meanwhile, Mr Amuriat yesterday said Mr Wadri is a greedy politician who does not deserve to be elected.
The FDC party president said he spent 15 years with Mr Wadri in Parliament and wonders what new issues he will bring that he did not put forward then.
“Wadri is a very dishonest person. We were with him and other FDC members who agreed that the incumbent party candidate should serve for five years. When a by-election comes up within that period, the person automatically becomes the candidates,” he said while campaigning for Mr Musema.
Dr Besigye said the party nurtures leaders and gives chance for the young ones to mature through. He said Mr Wadri had made his contribution and should have left the municipality seat for the younger Musema.
“Musema’s victory was stolen in 2016. He went to the High Court that did not offer him justice. He then went to the Court of Appeal and instead offering him justice, the court ordered him to pay the people who stole his victory.
Mr Wadri should have been the person to come and wipe away the tears of the young man instead of coming to confront him in his constituency,” he said.
The candidates in the race. The candidates include Ms Nusura Tiperu (NRM), Mr Bruce Musema (FDC), Mr Jaffar Alekua (Jeema) and Mr Kennedy Madira (DP).
The others are Independents Kassiano Wadri, Francis Elton Nyero, Sunday Anguandia, Alfred Nyakuni, Jackson Atima, Simon Avutia,
Safi Bavuga and Robert Ejiku.