Minister Babalanda Faces Backlash for NRM Day Remarks on Region’s Voting Behavior

Minister Milly Babirye Babalanda
Minister Milly Babirye Babalanda and the President of Uganda. HE Yoweri Kaguta Museveni. PHOTO/FILE

Summary:

  • Minister Milly Babirye Babalanda faced backlash in Busoga for apologizing on behalf of the region’s voters during the 38th NRM Liberation Day. Critics demanded clarification on the alleged apology, while locals urged the Minister to apologize for what they deemed “reckless statements.” Pastor Muwanguzi explained that Busoga’s vote for change in 2021 was a response to economic challenges.

The Minister for Presidency, Milly Babirye Babalanda, has faced significant backlash from the people of Busoga following her expression of regret on behalf of the region. At the 38th NRM Liberation Day celebrations held at Wakitaka play ground, Babalanda apologized for Busoga’s disappointing performance in the 2021 elections.

In her address, she conveyed, “Mr. President, the people of Busoga have tasked me with extending their apologies for their actions in the previous elections. We sincerely regret what transpired, and they have assured that there will be a positive change in 2026.”

This statement elicited criticism from a portion of the public, prompting them to voice their concerns on social media and local radio stations. Callers on radio shows demanded an explanation from the Minister, questioning who presided over the meeting where the people of Busoga allegedly apologized for their voting choices in 2021.

Local residents are now urging Babalanda, a native of the region, to apologize to them for what they perceive as “reckless statements.” Pastor Andrew Muwanguzi, the head of training and theology at the National Unity Platform, emphasized that the people of Busoga voted overwhelmingly for Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, viewing him as their potential savior due to economic challenges.

Muwanguzi highlighted issues such as the decline in sugarcane prices, politicization of the region’s leading cash crop, displacement from wetlands, and restricted access to the lake, which adversely affected their livelihoods. He stated that the decision to vote for change in 2021 was a response to these challenges and emphasized that there is no apology for it.

Furthermore, Muwanguzi predicted a worsening situation in 2026 due to the persistence of these issues. In the 2021 presidential election, Kyagulanyi won in nine out of the 11 districts in Busoga subregion, surprising NRM leaders and supporters who were accustomed to President Museveni securing majority votes in the area.

Despite the National Unity Platform’s strong showing in the presidential elections, the party only secured one Member of Parliament, Manjeri Kyabakuttika, the Woman MP for Jinja City, and two mayors, including Peter Kasolo of Jinja City and Bamu Lulenzi of Iganga Municipality. President Museveni, in his remarks during the NRM day in Jinja, mentioned plans for a regional tour in Busoga subregion.

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