The Electoral Commission closed the nomination exercise for Members of Parliament on Friday and now, candidates for which Constituencies are no longer up for guessing.
In Iganga, the biggest attension was as expected drawn towards the Municipality seat which attracted way above 10 contestants, with the ruling NRM, Opposition NUP and FDC leading the fierce fight while incumbent Panadol Mugema also joined the mix on an independent ticket.
Toto Ali Bawazir is the ruling party’s flag bearer after overcoming a number of others including the incumbent Mr Mugema in the party primaries held on August 4.
The outcome of the Aug 4 polls will be an advantage that the Ugandan born of Asian origin will be banking on mainly to finally become the area representative come next year.
Born,raised and studied in the town, accusations of being a foreigner due to his colour have been easy to flush off by Mr Toto, allowing his spotless and scandle free personality to standout heading into the crucial election period.
He will however face a big challenge emanating from the contrasial electoral process that gave him the party flag.
His main rival in the party primaries Mr Mugema, commonly known as Panadol has already been nominated on an independent ticket, which is likely to grossly rule out the possibility of a badly needed internal unity to counter the challenge from opposition forces.
Mugema says there were gross irregularities in the party primaries that provided a fertile ground for his loss.
Speaking shortly after his nomination yesterday,Mugema said he was optimistic he will sit with his challengers to arrive at a compromise that would let him continue representing the area as a way of consolidating the gains achieved during his ten year tenure in the August house.
Though a close ally of a very popular Kadaga in the area, his chances are likely to be greatly affected by the loss of the party flag which will definitely Rob him of valuable allies from his party for they would prefer working with the official flag bearer than him who is an independent.
The other side, Mugema’s arch – rival Me Nasser Mudiobole will be smiling from ear to ear while relishing the prospect of facing his sturbbon rival at his weakest owing to the divisions manifested in the party primaries.
The two have been in a bitter fight on the last two occasions, with Mugema escaping by hair’s width on both.
Although Mudiobole’s chances are thought to have been equally hindered by the internal party problems at Najjanankumbi where he was earlier seen as an ally to departed former party President Mugisha Muntu of ANT,his decision to make peace with the Amuriat administration has since stabilised his position which will be a mega boost.
Unlike in the past,Mudiobole will neither be the exclusive opposition candidate in the race. Kyagulanyi’s National Unity Platform has already endorsed Mr Muganga Francis to fly his flag in the Municipality.
Although seen by some as politically still wanting for being a new comer,the youthful Lawyer has over the past months demonstrated he has all it takes to be a member of Parliament.
His inaugural speech shortly after being nominated on Friday must have silenced many of his naysayers owing to the great oratory expertise exhibited.
” Ladies and gentlemen,I would like to welcome you from this historical exercise. We are now fully nominated but I must now admit that the task a head is far bigger than what we have so far accomplished. This is a struggle for self redemption and we must be ready to stake more before reaching our dream destination,” he roared amidst chants from waiting supporters.
Mr Muganga is also not catastrophe free either. The internal party candidates selection exercise,just like in NRM, failed to achieve a United force after rival Waiswa Denis failed to make peace and proceeded to nominate as an independent. This will certainly divide NUP support in the area to the detriment of Muganga.
Mr Waiswa Paul, a special national mobiliser in the office of the NRM National Chairman says the contest in the Municipality is too close to call but projects the major battle to be between Mr Mugema and Mudiobole as it’s always been in the last two general elections.
He however adds that if people power’s Francis Muganga can resolve their internal differences with his counterpart – Waiswa Denis,the final outcome could still surprise everybody.