Kawempe North MP Latif Sengendo Ssebagala has announced his withdrawal from the race for the position of Kampala Lord Mayor currently held by Erias Lukwago.
At the weekend, the National Unity Platform (NUP) chose Ssebagala as its flag bearer for the mayoral race.
The NUP Elections Management Committee, whose chair is Mercy Walukamba, rejected singer Joseph Mayanja aka Jose Chameleone.
Earlier reports had indicated that NUP refused to give Chameleone the party flag because he is a Catholic yet he would be competing against Lukwago (the incumbent), a Muslim.
But party spokesperson Joel Ssenyonyi had refuted the claims that the former Democratic Party (DP) mobiliser lost the NUP flag on religious grounds.
After he was given the NUP flag, Ssebagala called on Chameleone to join him.
“My brother and comrade in NUP Mr. Joseph Mayanja, let us work together,” said Ssebagala in a statement issued September 21.
He also promised to shortly announce his campaign program.
But now, Ssebagala has declared he has quit the race.
“I have taken this decision to withdraw from the mayoral race of Kampala in the best interest of wider opposition, and also given the fact that we have many conflicting interests within NUP,” he announced.
He was also concerned that there was disunity in the party, with members supporting different candidates – including outside NUP, “which may cost us the city.”
This revelation is being interpreted by some commentators to mean that Ssebagala has stood down for Lukwago, the official candidate of main opposition party Forum for Democratic Change (FDC).
When he launched his bid for the 2021 mayoral race at his home in Wakaliga, some people from Bobi’s NUP expressed their support for him.
One of these was Mukono Municipality MP Betty Nambooze, one of the DP members who weeks ago joined the Kamwokya-based party. Nambooze emphasized that the opposition needed Lukwago in Kampala for strategic reasons.
Aware that his decision would anger NUP supporters, Ssebagala also apologized to the party’s administration and its supporters for quitting the race.
“I remain a member of the National Unity Platform (NUP) and will still give all my support to Hon. Robert Kyagulanyi Sentamu for the presidency,” he added.