Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga’s rival Deborah Mugerwa Mwesigwa has shelved her decision to stand as an independent after she lost to the incumbent in the September 04 ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) primary election.
According to official poll results, Kadaga garnered 118,487 votes against her rival Mwesigwa’s 7,243.
Until October 09, Mwesigwa had insisted she would stand as an independent.
But following negotiations mediated by Busoga King Kyabazinga William Wilberforce Kadhumbula Gabula Nadiope IV.
Days to October 15-16 parliamentary nominations, Mwesigwa announced she had pulled out of the race to rally behind the Speaker.
So, what does Mwesigwa’s decision mean for the race?
Kadaga can now breathe a sigh of relief, and hope to have Mwesigwa’s voters back her bid.
But beyond that, the dynamics of the race, one of those projected to be the toughest in 2021, remain.
As we reported in July, the race between Kadaga and FDC strongwoman Proscovia Salaamu Musumba is one that will shake Busoga.
For more on what will shape the race, besides Mwesigwa’s withdrawal in favour of Kadaga, here is part of what our Analysis Desk think could determine the outcome:
Unlike the other opponents that have challenged Kadaga in the past, Musumba is an experienced political leader with a voice that is heard in all the corners of the district and beyond.
The first female to head a district local council in the country, Musumba set a record with her impeccable transparency and unquestionable service delivery.
She became a darling of the people of Kamuli.
Musumba is also praised for fearlessly fighting for fair compensation for the over 10,000 people whose land was taken for the construction of the Isimba Power Dam.
Musumba is also credited for effectively putting to use the donor funds that were used to build a superb tarmac road network, making Kamuli Town one of the most tarmacked towns in the country.
Besides, Musumba’s glorious days in the seventh Parliament left Kamuli residents thirsting for more from the most powerful woman in the opposition FDC.
As a young legislator, Musumba turned down the chance to eat big in Museveni’s cabinet – an opportunity that Kadaga held onto and the rest is now history.
In the process, the eternal Museveni critic whose democratic values couldn’t be compromised went in league with Col Kizza Besigye on a liberation journey that is still ongoing almost two decades later.
To many, hers is a character worthy cherishing.
As such, Kamuli voters saw it deserving that she gets rewarded with the district chairperson’s office in 2011, a position that had been a rare preserve for men in the country.
Throughout her reign, Kadaga has fought and won many wars on the political front, a fit that has awarded her an indomitable status at both the regional and national level.
She however faces Musumba at her weakest. Kadaga has fought many wars which will certainly make her vulnerable before a challenger of Musumba’s stature.
Musumba is a proven political strategist whose prior closeness to Kadaga will definitely place her in an advantageous position before an enemy whose strategies she has studied to perfection over the years.
Besides, the speaker has earned lots of political rivals in Busoga which will most likely gift Musumba with incidental allies ahead of the conquest.
Kadaga’s public antagonism with Minister Persis Namuganza in 2018 left behind a divided population in Busoga.
Besides Namuganza, the Speaker’s relationship with Justine Kasule Lumumba has been a frosty one yet Musumba has enjoyed a commendable closeness to NRM Secretary General (SG), only divided along political lines.
Naturally, Lumumba would be more comfortable with a friendly Musumba from the opposition than a hostile Kadaga though she is from NRM – the party she serves as administrative head.
It will therefore not be a surprise to see SG Lumumba directly or indirectly rooting for Musumba to have Kadaga ejected.
Musumba, just like Kadaga, is a true Kyabazinga loyalist.
She is on record for having been an invaluable force behind the coronation of the current Busoga King “Isebantu” Wilberforce Gabula Nadiope IV.
For this, Kyabazinga loyalists who have always waited for an opportunity to reward the FDC strongwoman might see this as a heaven sent one at the expense of Kadaga who many feel has been rewarded enough.
Musumba should however not take anything for granted. Kadaga has always been a queen of the political game, often shocking naysayers by turning her fortunes at such times when odds seem against her.
Her victories over perennial rivals Hajji Ahammed Kaugu Mugaino and Minister Ali Kirunda Kivejinja contain vital lessons she ought to revisit.
Musumba might be a tough challenger for Kadaga but there is a lot of work to be done if she is to finally realise her dream of kicking Busoga’s longest serving Member of Parliament out of the House she superintends over.