Last week, People Power spokesperson Joel Ssenyonyi announced an extension of the candidates’ expression of interest exercise for another one week.
Ssenyonyi said the postponement was intended to give an opportunity to those that still wished to seek the pressure group’s endorsement for next year’s elections but were potentially locked out by time.
People Power principal Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu must have received the news with relief pending a big decision that will have to be made in choosing his pole bearer for the City Lord Mayorship.
But that relief will last for a brief moment.
In the ongoing candidates’ identification exercise, former Kampala mayor Nasser Ntege Sebbagala and singer Joseph Mayanja aka Jose Chameleone have expressed interest in the mayoral position.
People’s Government deputy president Erias Lukwago currently occupies the seat.
Although Sebbagala boasts of a wealth of experience in the field of politics, having served in the same capacity years ago, his announcement seemed abrupt.
Sebbagala has previously made an attempt at running for president but dropped out of the race to back President Yoweri Museveni.
He also missed out on a ministerial appointment due to lack of requisite academic qualifications.
Chameleone, on the other hand, has been with the Kamwokya outfit for sometime since denouncing Museveni’s National Resistance Movement (NRM).
Ever Democratic Party (DP) unveiled by him as a mobilizer last year, Chameleone made his political intentions publicly known.
He had first aimed for a parliamentary slot in Masaka before finally opting for the lord mayor seat.
Some people have however argued that the singer is still politically inadequate to challenge the incumbent for the same office.
Lukwago is a senior politician whom many believe would only shaken by a strong and more experienced individual but not Chameleone, a political novice.
Bobi Wine must have realised that but remains tied by the youthful singer’s loyalty to the cause.
Chameleone is also viewed by many as the perfect choice going by Bobi Wine’s talk of empowering the current generation to manage its own affairs.
On a flip side, Chameleone’s chances seem reduced by scandals he has been into over the years of his celebrity life.
He was accused of being under the influence of drugs when he returned home with fractured limbs from Kenya in the early 2000s, although he claimed that he had been shot accidentally.
Chamileon prosecuted for murder over the death of a person at his Seguku mansion.
The deceased, Robert Karamagi, was reportedly burnt by the singer and his mates after they accused him of trespassing.
Those are just some of the skeletons in Chameleone’s cupboard which have left many questions lingering on whether Mr Mayanja could indeed be the perfect choice to face off with a more politically acceptable Lukwago.
Seya, on the other hand, is credited for his historical role in endorsing the two-decade opposition kingpin Dr Kizza Besigye for the Presidency in 2001.
The phrase “Hajji alagidde” still reverberates in the minds of many who were mature enough to take note of the events of the time.
Many have since believed that Sebbagala was Besigye’s magic tonic that made him a darling of many for the years that followed.
Besides, Sebbagala’s historical command of Kamapala in years past is what anybody seeking to take over the country like Bobi Wine would wish to have in their political arsenal.
Even when Ssebagala may not be looked at as someone who can still pull his old political mobilization mastery now, some within people power believe he could pass his notes on to some able-bodied young men within the establishment.
As such, they are skeptical of annoying him by rejecting candidature.
People Power has also been labeled a political group for the young people by virtue of its leadership both at national and grass root levels.
Even when Mrs Lina Waru Zedriga, 56, was appointed to deputize Kyagulanyi, the top leadership still remains predominantly occupied by relatively young people.
This makes many believe that they might consider the veteran politician ahead of his youthful counterpart as a way of striking a badly-needed balance.
But Sebbagala has been accused of backstabbing the struggle by going to bed with those in power, emerging on the Cabinet list at one time and going on to serve as a presidential advisor.
Many seem not to have forgotten and forgiven him for it even when he denounced NRM and pledged never to decamp the forces of change.
As such, his political career had conclusively been declared ‘over,’ with some proposing that he instead takes on an advisory role.
Yet even his counterpart, Mayanja, is not politically clean either. Chameleon became the subject of ridicule over his role in Museveni’s re-election in 2016.
He joined fellow musicians to sing the popular “Tubonga naawe” song which became a campaign anthem for the ruling side.
To show their disappointment, the public vetted their anger upon the group by vowing to blacklist the participants in the song at all the concerts they would take part in.
Others who sang alongside him have since officially joined the ruling side. They include Moses Ssali aka Bebe Cool and Catherine Kusasira.
All that said, the only problem faced by Wine is that he has two popular candidates vying for the group’s flag for the same position.
Despite their past political dealings and integrity records, the two would help People Power if Bobi Wine convinced one to step aside for the other, then fronted the other for another contest.
Dropping one and not giving the other a viable option could expose him to ‘NRM fishers of politicians’ like Capt Mike Mukula who recently claimed he had convinced over 500 FDC members to defect to the ruling party.
Like all positions which have attracted more than one candidate for the pressure group’s flag, the Chameleone-Sebbagala contest will be tough for Bobi and People Power to make — but make it they must.