June 1, 2018 – President Museveni was left ‘hatless’ as voters in Rukungiri ignored bribes and intimidation to bring an opposition candidate in an election that was largely seen as a referendum on his bid to stay in power for life.
Voters who went to the polls in a bi-election for the Rukungiri District Woman MP braved a heavy military presence to give MS Betty Bamukwatsa Muzanira, the FDC candidate, 50,611 votes against 46,379 for Masiko Winifred Komuhangi, the candidate fielded by the ruling National Resistance Movement.
Independent candidate and former cabinet minister Sezi Prisca Mbaguta came third with 993 votes while the Progressive People’s Party’s Kakundakwe Fabith trailed with 183.
This is the second bi-election the NRM is losing this year as citizens express anger over the NRM’s abuse of its numbers in parliament to pass an amendment to the constitution lifting the 75 year age cap on the president. The ruling party also lost the Jinja Municipality East seat to the FDC as voters indicted their former MP Nathan Igeme Nabeta for taking a position contrary to their wishes in the age limit debate.
Museveni who canvassed for his candidate had a month earlier gifted close to Ushs 5 billion and physical items such as vehicles to women’s groups in the area in a blatant bid to influence the outcome of the much anticipated election.
With the loss of Rukungiri, Museveni is likely to go back to the drawing board to strategise around a possible referendum if the constitutional court decides that the decision should be put to the masses.