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Improving relationship between gov’t, Obusinga bwa Rwenzururu explains NRM gains in Kasese-Analysts

How Kasese has been flipping since 2001 elections

Kasese, Uganda |  THE INDEPENDENT | The gains made by the ruling National Resistance Movement- NRM party in Kasese District in the just concluded elections at different levels is being attributed to the improved relationship between the central government and the Obusinga Bwa Rwenzururu-OBR cultural institution.   

The NRM led government has had a bitter relationship with the cultural institution, which culminated into the 2016 military raid on its palace. More than 100 people were killed and hundreds of others including the Omusinga Charles Wesley Mumbere were picked up and arraigned in different courts on a string of charges.

Government accused the kingdom of harbouring elements that wanted to attack security installations and threatened the security of the region. Mumbere is currently out on bail but was barred from travelling to Kasese until the court disposes of the charges against him. In what appeared to be a protest vote in 2016, the electorate only picked FDC candidates for the six parliamentary sits in Kasese.  

They also elected many other candidates for local government positions.  President, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni only garnered 97,367 votes representing 41.36% of the total vote cast in the district. However, close to the 2021 general elections government embarked on mending its relationship with the cultural institution. 

Mid last year, the government bought land for the construction of Mumbere’s residential premises and pledged to support the construction of a new palace. The government also distinctly considered the kingdom for the Emyooga program-a presidential initiative for wealth and job creation. In November last year, the government released 147 royal guards from prison.   

This, experts say explains why NRM managed to win three parliamentary seats, the position of LC V  chairperson and the majority of councillor’s seats, most of which were in the hands of the opposition Forum for Democratic Change-FDC party. Dr. Nathaniel Mumbere Walemba, a retired administrator, academician and political analyst, says no one can downplay the efforts of the government to mend the broken relationship with OBR cultural institution.      

He says it was a misunderstanding for people to believe that one particular party has preference for kingdom matters over another party. Dr. Walemba says OBR has educated its subjects to acknowledge that the institution is mandated to work closely with the government of the day.  

Dr. Walemba says that the government has been taking care of the welfare of Mumbere and his family since 2016, something many subjects in the Kingdom appreciate.  

Henry Kabiriri, a political analyst and academician, attributes NRM’s success to intensified efforts to reconcile the Government and OBR.  Kabiriri also notes that NRM intensified its mobilization strategies, ahead of the general elections. 

He says for example the Resident District Commissioner-RDC and District Internal Security Officer-DISO would in opposition strongholds not only to campaign for the party but also to answer people’s concerns.  

Doreen Mbambu, the Karusandara Sub County councillor elect who ran on the NRM party ticket, says the negotiation between the government and OBR paid off with the appointment of the new OBR cabinet, which she believes is politically independent. 

She reasons that their non-involvement in political matters gave people the chance to make their independent political choices. Mbambu also thinks that FDC leaders failed to deliver the promises they made in 2016 even when they had all the time in their hands. 

Jafari Kighutiya, the Kasese District FDC mobiliser, says it will be not long before they reclaim their positions. Kighutiya says many people could have voted for NRM because of the fear they still carry from the 2016 incidents. 

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