The National Resistance Movement (NRM) party leaders in Rukungiri district have expressed optimism that the internal wrangles in the opposition Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) is a blessing to their party.
Rukungiri, the ancestral home of former FDC presidential flag bearer, Dr Colonel Kiiza Besigye has been an opposition stronghold. In the 2016 general elections, Besigye narrowly defeated Museveni in Rukungiri with 58,883 votes while Museveni got 56,425 votes.
Fred Turyamuhweza trounced NRM’s Major General Jim Muhwezi Katugugu for the Rujumbura county seat. In Rukungiri municipality, Roland Mugume Kagyinda defeated NRM’s Dr Elisa Rutahigwa while Betty Bamukwasa Muzanira defeated NRM’s Winfred Matsiko for the District Woman MP seat.
However, the FDC party is currently locked in internal wrangles after last year’s party primaries. Top party officials among them Ingrid Turinawe Kamateneti, the party’s the National Political Mobilizer, Darius Tweyambe and Winnie Babihuga were expelled from the party for contesting as independents.
This has left the FDC party voters divided with some supporting the flag bearers while others the independent candidates. When FDC Presidential candidate, Patrick Amuriat Oboi visited Rukungiri in November, supporters of Turinawe were seen fighting with those of her rival Dr Warren Nuwagaba.
NRM leaders note that the internal wrangles is an advantage to the NRM. Midias Natukunda Kaharata, the NRM District Woman MP flag bearer says that they are taking the misunderstandings as an opportunity to strengthen the NRM support.
Geoffrey Tindarwesire Kenzigye, the Rukungiri Municipality Mayoral NRM candidate says that the FDC flag bearers and FDC Independent leaning candidates will all share the votes of the opposition while NRM supporters will remain united and emerge victorious.
Ambrose Kibuuka Tumwesigye, the Rukungiri district coordinator of Rukungiri District Team 1 (YKM) Sevolution, a pressure group mobilizing support for the NRM presidential candidate, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni says that the wrangles have started yielding positive results to NRM party. According to Kibuuka, in the last three months, more than 200 members of FDC have defected to the NRM.
Esau Rwamitooma, a voter from Mitooma village in Nyakagyeme Sub County says that NRM currently has one challenge in Bubabo county where FDC flag bearer Naboth Namanya who has no competition from the opposition is out-competing NRM’s Mary Paula Turyahikayo Bebirungi.
Some of the FDC supporters say that they are ready to vote Turinawe despite being an independent candidate because of her commitment to the party.
However Virginia Kyarugahe, the Rukungiri District FDC Party Chairperson says that although FDC leaning Independents contest against the party’s flag bearers, it will not affect the party. Kyarugahe says that the party is still strong to win all the seats in Rukungiri.