By Andrew Baba Buluba
Without any doubt, Salongo Erias Lukwago has been an outstanding leader by Kampala standards.
His uncompromising resolve to defend the interests of his voters even when it puts his life and personal interests at risk are all that have made him emerge a darling of the people over the nearly 15 years he has been in active politics.
Nonetheless, Lukwago will most certainly be facing his career’s fiercest challenge in his bid to seek a third consecutive five year term at the helm of the country’s capital in next year’s elections.
Legendary musician Joseph Mayanja aka Jose Chameleon yesterday picked endorsement forms from People Power Headquarters in Kamwokya, seeking to challenge man from Wakaliga and resultantly occupy the much coveted City Hall Chambers for himself.
Also threatening enough is Kampala Woman MP Nabbila Ssempala who after falling bellow contravasial former Makerere University Don Stella Nyanzi in the FDC race for the flag bearer has opted to try out Lukwago’s seat.
Some political watchful eyes have opined that the move by Nabilah could be a direct attempt to punish her parent FDC party for betraying her over a decade long loyalty by bypassing her in favor of Nyanzi who joined the party recently.
As such, the pro Muntu FDC legislator feels that antagonizing Lukwago, a sworn Besigye and FDC ally standing against whom was outrightly outlawed in the previous general elections by the decision makers at Najjanankumbi would make them regret their actions.
Chameleon on the other hand could be boosted by the highly popular Bobi Wine should he be given the group’s endorsement which is very likely. His musical background is also expected to flip the coin in his favor as he will certainly be pulling crowds which will injure the morale of those in the opposite camps while boosting his at the same time.
The “Basiima Ogenze” star’s chances have however variously been quashed by pundits who have argued that the singer’s life has been marred by countless scandals that have left him with unforgettable spots which could expose his mayoral bid to acute scrutiny.
Moments like the constant bar fights, a drug use history, the murder of a one Karamagi who was reportedly torched at his home and most recently his court summons for tax evasion are all that could come back to haunt swaggeric Mayanja family member.
His role in the 2016 Museveni campaign song “Tubonga naawe” is another crime for which many Kamapala voters seem not yet ready to forgive Me Mayanja. He has been variously accused of mobilising his fellow artistes to feature in the famed song which the incumbent used to solicit for votes around the country. As such, the opposition dominated Kamapala has often branded him an NRM sympathiser, with others going an extra mile to allege that the singer is a regime spy deployed to report opposition secrets to government intelligence agencies, an accusation he has outrightly denied on a number of occasions.
Important to consider also is Dr Besigye’s political magic that has always seen him bounce back at a time when many have written him off in the past. Picking a leaf from the 2016 experience, the four time Presidential aspirant had been overshadowed by former Museveni Premier John Patrick Amama Mbabazi whom many believed to be the future of opposition back then. By the start of the campaigns however, Mbabazi had been swept away by the storm and crowds again followed Besigye. In Kmapala forinstance, whoever had risked to fight Besigye’s ally Lukwago was punished by being thrown in the political dustbin- with many resultantly getting voted into offices they themselves weren’t sure were meant for.
If the experienced former Museveni physician pulls the same trick again and overshadows Bobi Wine come next year, Lukwago’s reelection will certainly become a foregone conclusion.