Buikwe South constituency in Mukono district and Lubaga South
in Kampala are very far apart. Last week, however, one would
have easily mistaken parts of Lubaga to be part of Buikwe.
Ululations and celebrations rocked the area around midnight,
moments after news filtered through that the Democratic
Party candidate, Dr. Lulume Bayiga, had won the Buikwe South
Some DP die-hards in Lubaga celebrated the win by spending
more hours in pubs, drinking to the doctor’s victory.
Chants of “egumire, egumire” could be heard
throughout the night.
An old friend stormed my place with a huge smile that matched
her fat cheeks, which one would think had been transplanted
from those of well fed “past leaders” (pigs).
She warned that come the year 2011, DP would be a force
to reckon with. According to her, the party had finally
discovered how it had all along been cheated.
Well, this Bayiga victory has somehow brought new life
to DP supporters here following a string of disappointments
that included the defeat of Mukasa Mbidde and others in
by-elections held earlier. There is now hope that the
party will win more forthcoming by-elections.
For starters, Lubaga Division has in the past (read the
eighties) been a bad hunting ground for non-DP candidates.
This is where DP has always enjoyed maximum support. In
most polling centres here, the difference in votes between
DP candidates and their rivals was so alarming that wherever
election time came the outcome would be very predictable.
Things started changing with the coming of the NRM and
later FDC parties in Ugandan politics. The two have over
they last couple of years fought and managed to win the
love of some wananchi residing here. This has been helped
by squabbles in the party that saw the departure of heavy
weights such as ministers Kagimu Kiwanuka and Maria Mutagamba.
As a result, today the situation is somehow different.
You can find a family where the husband is a DP supporter,
the wife an FDC die-hard, and the children NRM. In the past
every member of the family would sing “egumire”
The 2006 presidential elections show how much things have
changed; in most polling centres here, DP’s Ssebaana
Kizito came third, after Yoweri Museveni and Kizza Besigye.
Despite this, many still hold the view that with order
in their house, DP is still the party to beat here.
Dr. Bayiga’s victory is thus timely and has once
again helped to prove that DP can still triumph over other
parties without necessarily resorting to cowardly tactics.
In some areas the party has caught a hereditary disease,
turning party affairs into a family issue. They have resorted
to “mwana wani” (whose son) or “mwami
wani” politics. That means when the father dies, the
son is nominated to contest his former political office;
or the husband is lined up to occupy his deceased wife’s
This makes it appear like the party is so desperate that
it can only depend on ‘mabugo’ [sympathy] vote
But candidates should be nominated on the basis of nothing
else, but merit. I still remember the hullabaloo that
sometime back met President Museveni’s son joining
the army and the First Lady contesting a parliamentary seat.
DP and other opposition parties led criticism that saw this
as another way Museveni was trying to create a political
So does it become okay when it’s the opposition applying
it, but not the President or ruling party? So why not nominate
candidates on pure merit and leave hereditary systems to
dictatorial regimes in countries such as Syria, Cuba
and North Korea!
The party, as we are often reminded, is still “egumire”
(strong) and thus able to win genuinely without depending
Robert Mugagga, firstname.lastname@example.org