Hoima LC V By-Election Campaigns Suspended Amidst Violence and Bribery

Hoima District LC 5 candidates address a joint press briefing at Kolping Hotel in Hoima City on Monday, August 7, 2023. Left is Mr Yunus Mugabe while far right is Mr James Mugenyi Mulindambura. PHOTO/COURTESY

Hoima, Uganda | The Black Examiner — Six out of the seven nominated candidates representing the National Resistance Movement (NRM) in the Hoima District Chairman by-election have taken a unanimous stand to suspend their joint campaigns. Citing alarming levels of violence and bribery, the candidates expressed concerns over the integrity of the election process.

The by-election was triggered by the tragic passing of the former district Chairman, Kadiri Kirungi, in a fatal car crash earlier this year. In the aftermath of his demise, the political landscape in Hoima District has been marked by tension and uncertainty.

During a press conference held at the Hoima Kolping Hotel on the evening of the past Monday, the concerned candidates unveiled their collective decision to halt joint campaigns. These campaigns, they claimed, have been plagued by a surge in violence, primarily orchestrated by unruly individuals hailing from Hoima city. The disturbing trend has cast a dark shadow over the democratic process.

One of the NRM candidates, Mr. Yunus Mugabe, expressed grave apprehension that the pervasive corruption and orchestrated violence might inevitably escalate into a tragic clash. He boldly declared his refusal to participate in further joint campaigns unless stringent measures are put in place to ensure a fair and peaceful electoral exercise.

Echoing Mr. Mugabe’s sentiments, Mr. Jackson Mugenyi Mulindambura urgently appealed for the intervention of the NRM party’s Electoral Commission Chairman, Dr. Tanga Odoi. He highlighted that numerous candidates have been flouting party regulations, undermining the integrity of the campaign process itself.

Drawing attention to the fragile security situation during rallies, another candidate, Mr. Vincent Muhumuza, popularly known as Savanna, voiced his concerns. He pointed out that the violence inflicted by supporters of certain candidates has raised serious safety concerns for all involved. Mr. Muhumuza lamented, “Influential NRM party members from outside Hoima district have unfortunately contributed to destabilizing the joint campaigns, tarnishing the party’s image in the process.”

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In a separate development, Mr. John Kwemara, one of the contenders, took to the airwaves with damning allegations against Mr. Vincent Muhumuza and Mr. Uthuman Mubaraka Mugisha, the late Chairman Kirungi’s son. Kwemara accused them of orchestrating the infiltration of boda-boda riders and intoxicated individuals from Hoima city to disrupt speeches made by rival candidates. Both accused candidates staunchly denied the accusations.

Amidst these tensions, it was revealed that candidates Mr. Moses Mutagwa and Mr. Yunus Mugabe had yet to attend any of the joint campaigns.

The group of candidates competing in this race includes Mr. Jackson Mugenyi Mulindambura, Mr. Vincent Muhumuza, Mr. Yunus Mugabe, Mr. Moses Mutagwa, Mr. John Kwemara, Mr. Uthuman Mubaraka Mugisha, and Mr. Samwiri Byaruhanga, better known as Kyakadongo.

Notably absent from the press conference where the suspension was announced was Mr. Mugisa, raising speculation about his stance on the collective decision.

These candidates, initially granted a mere 23 days for their joint campaigns, encountered a deadlock a mere five days into the process. As the district holds its breath, the outcome of the by-election hangs in the balance, contingent upon a resumption of peaceful and orderly campaigns.


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