April 2019 story MbararaCity News reported and predicted a great political turmoil in Kasese where Woman MP Winnie Kiiza (then fallaciously portrayed as invincible by the so-called main stream media) was superficially at the peak of her political game against FDC, the party that had raised her from the dust and made her a national figure.
In that story, we analytically reported that by acrimoniously falling out with their mother party, Winnie Kiiza and other Kasese MPs that were becoming defiant were inadvertently diminishing their own re-election chances.
And as we speak now, it’s only three incumbent MPs (that loyally stood with new FDC party President Patrick Amuriat) that are certain about reelection in 2021. These are Bukonjo West’s Atkins Katushabe, Busongora North’s William Nzoghu and Bukonjo East’s Harold Muhindo. Whereas Muhindo replaced Yokasi Bihande (Kiiza’s hubby), Katushabe replaced big man Crispus Kiyonga.
Whereas Winnie Kiiza has tactfully bowed out to circumvent impending political humiliation in the ballot box (as we are going to illustrate in this political briefing), Kasese Municipality’s pioneer MP Robert Centernary risks losing to youthful Gideon Ntabosi (also Kasese LC5 Vice Chairman) who the FDC very influential district chairman Mzee Saulo Matte has fronted against him.
The other Kasese incumbent voters are going to severely sanction for betraying their beloved FDC party is Busongora North’s Jackson Mbaju who replaced NRM’s Boaz Kafuda in 2016 and is currently sweating under the political weight of Edward Matebele who Mzee Matte has fronted to oust him for betrayal and political treachery.
Kiiza bowing out
Notwithstanding her efforts to portray her exit as aimed at setting a standard that leaders must serve and know when to leave, the bitter truth is that Winnie Kiiza is running away from the political fiasco that awaited her in the 2021 ballot box.
Preliminary investigations ably conducted by MbararaCity News indicate that loss of the solid/unanimous undivided support she used to enjoy from Kasese Catholic Diocese leadership is one of the factors that scared Kiiza out of the reelection politics. Whereas former Bishop Gideon Nkaijanabo was an active Winnie Kiiza sympathizer, his successor Bishop Francis Kibira is a self-professed admirer of Gen Museveni and his NRM party.
Kibira hasn’t pretended about his contempt for Winnie Kiiza and other opposition politicians in Kasese. And indeed under him, the vastly networked Catholic Church in Kasese has been encouraging priests and catechists to use their influence to promote Maryline Kabugho, a young catholic lady who lucratively works in the Parliament of Uganda. “Maryline Kabugho is young and nice-looking and most importantly a diehard NRM supporter.
She is the one the Catholic Church network in Kasese has been marketing, a thing that naturally deprives Kiiza of the initial political capital she always leveraged upon during the days of Bishop Nkaijanabo,” says one of the local Kasese political analysts we spoke to for this article.
A veteran journalist based in Kasese town confirms that in this part of the world, religion and ethnicity still play a major role in influencing decision-making by voters at election time. “There was no way Winnie Kiiza would have guts to seek reelection in such a very hostile political environment because in Kasese the truth is Catholics are the majority and without being sure of their block vote, she would be standing on shaky ground,” says the Kasese-based journalist who didn’t want to be named in order to maintain his professional neutrality.
“Nkaijanabo retired in 2014 and since that time, his successor Kibira has been consolidating his own grip on the diocese and his leadership has deliberately set out to appease the ruling NRM party and it’s anticipated the results are going to manifest in the forthcoming elections.”
It’s also true that Kiiza (renowned for being stingy) didn’t use the LoP position enough to deliver groceries to the levels leaders in the Catholic parishes and sub parishes anticipated; and the 2021 campaigning period was going to be the time for her to answer the hard questions.
Saulo matte’s wrath
The Gen Mugisha Muntu fallout only escalated Winnie Kiiza’s political woes. She was among those who greatly despised new FDC President Patrick Amuriat dismissing him as a mere walking stick for Dr. KB.
The dilemma was that whereas Kiiza and some of the party MPs from Kasese resented POA, he is the one majority party grass root supporters and delegates preferred having construed him as the man their beloved KB preferred.
Consequently, when POA won the vote defeating Gen Muntu, the Kiizas never reached out to mend fences like the Semujju Ngandas did. Subsequently, POA (as we all know) axed Kiiza from the lucrative position of LoP, something over which the likes of Robert Centernary and Jackson Mbaju demonized him.
An overwhelmed POA, initially fearing FDC would lose Kasese, considered replacing her with MP William Nzoghu who declined fearing reprisals from home. Nzongu, a militant Besigyeist, initially feared the Bakonjo back home in Kasese would see him as conspiring with POA to humiliate home girl Winnie Kiiza.
Eventually POA went on a fact-finding mission to test his popularity in Kasese among other parts of the country. The Kiizas not only stayed away but they also actively sabotaged his visit by trying to incite party supporters in Kasese to keep away.
But under the able leadership of old man Saulo Matte (a former intelligence operative working with Special Branch of the Obote II Police Force), the FDC local structure countered their mischief and crowds came to see POA only to be teargased by police and other security forces.
And this brutality was ironically celebrated by Kiiza supporters in Kasese, a thing that hardened Mzee Matte, a man who remains a key power broker in Kasese politics. Using his position as Party chairman for the district, Mzee Matte (who was OC Traffic for Masaka at the time of his retirement from public service) blacklisted Kiiza and the other two MPs while vowing to ensure they don’t get reelected in 2021.
In fact, he had opted to expel them from the Kasese FDC branch but the POAs pleaded with him fearing the bad publicity that would result.
A grumbling Matte assured POA: “We are going to mobilize against them to find their replacement because the poor people of Kasese feel betrayed because they risked and ensured their election victory in 2016.”
The old man rightly argued that those guys wouldn’t be in parliament if it weren’t for the determination of their people and party members who they were now disrespecting and dismissing as too poor to have any say.
Subsequently, the Matte mobilization reenergized FDC structures and has produced formidable candidates currently seen as having potential to fell some of the renegade incumbents.
In fact, Matte’s resistance is the reason some of these incumbent MPs have ended up being unable to secure FDC endorsement for reelection in 2021.
In FDC, the practice is that for Najjanankumbi to give you their ticket, your home district party leadership has to second you. In this case, Matte has been very consistent in saying no to Robert Centernary, Jackson Mbaju and the ill-fated Winnie Kiiza.
Whereas popular Kasese radio personality Florence Kabugho is being favored to replace Winnie Kiiza as Woman MP for the FDC, Edward Matebele and the versatile Gideon Ntabosi are being considered to respectively replace Muhindo and Centernary as earlier hinted on in this article.
“With Mzee Matte ruthlessly drawing a line in the sand accusing the trio of extreme betrayal, Kiiza risked humiliation both in FDC party primaries and general elections,” says one of our radio journalist sources based in Kasese.
The same journalist adds that Winnie Kiiza’s decision to storm the FDC offices in Kasese to retract the furniture she had bought for the party (days after being dropped from the LoP job) equally complicated her relationship with Matte and other FDC comrades in Kasese. “It was very humiliating because she came with journalists to cover the humiliating scenes as her furniture was being carried away from the office. It’s something that greatly angered Matte and other grass root party leaders who felt the party’s local structure had done a lot to prop her up than the mere furniture she had bought for the office.”
The scribe adds that such humiliation is what Matte and other grass root mobilizers used to demonize Kiiza among Bakonjo peasants majority of whom still consider FDC to be their party.
The politically very articulate radio scribe adds that even financially, Winnie Kiiza hasn’t been adequately prepared to go into such a very complex political fight because removal from the LoP office came with plenty of financial deprivation on her part yet she had a family and an elderly husband to look after.