Bukenya launches political ‘comeback’

Prof Gilbert Bukenya. Courtesy Photo

Former Vice President Prof Gilbert Balibaseka Bukenya has started on plans to reclaim the Busiro North County parliamentary seat.

In the previous general elections, Prof Bukenya lost the seat to Dennis Ssozi Galabuzi in 2016. He had represented Busiro North since 1996.

After years in the political cold, Bukenya is planning to wrestle the seat from Galabuzi in next year’s elections for which the Electoral Commission has released a road map.

While many would expect Bukenya, who was once the country’s number two, to aim higher, he has settled for a parliamentary seat.

Bukenya, aka Mahogany, had announced a presidential bid in 2015.

But he later shelved his ambition and agreed to campaign for President Yoweri Museveni, the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) candidate.

The 2021 presidential race is already clogged.

Besides his key challenger Dr Kizza Besigye, Museveni will likely face his former army commander Maj Gen (Rtd) Mugisha Muntu and  former security minister Lt Gen (Rtd) Henry Tumukunde.

Singer-turned-MP Bobi Wine and Pastor Joseph Kabuleta have also expressed interest in running.

But the presidential race dominated national focus, Bukenya stole online headlines when he organised a political rally in Busiro.

He had invited at least 600 people to his Kakiri home, according to Uganda Police Force estimates.

Some sources claimed he planned to use these people to foment protests against Covid19 restrictions.

At Masulita and Bukenya’s Kakiri home in Wakiso District, police fired tear gas to disperse Bukenya’s supporters.

Officers also impounded taxis ferrying his supporters.

Police say the gathering contravened presidential guidelines, and was likely to spread the deadly disease.

Bukenya and his supporters could face up to seven years in jail if convicted according to Section 171 of the Penal Code Act.

“Any person who unlawfully or negligently does any act which is and which he or she knows or has reason to believe to be likely to spread the infection of any disease dangerous to life commits an offence and is liable to imprisonment for seven years,” reads the law.

But as police ponders their next move on the matter, Bukenya seems to have got the attention for a comeback.

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