Supporters of Vice President Edward Ssekandi have joined a widening base of NRM members calling on their leaders to seek re-election in 2016.
Almost a week after NRM MPs caucus endorsed President Museveni as NRM’s sole presidential flag bearer in 2016 at the Kyankwanzi retreat, party cadres in Bukoto Central also asked Ssekandi to openly declare whether he would represent them again in 2016. At a meeting at Kabonera trading centre in Kabonera sub-county in Masaka district recently, Ssekandi’s well-wishers invited him to what they called a stakeholders’ meeting.
He arrived at about 3pm. One of the participants, only identified as Zziwa from Kyannamukaaka sub-county, asked Ssekandi to share with them his political plans for 2016. Zziwa pointedly told Ssekandi that the people of Bukoto Central wanted him to continue representing them in Parliament.
Zziwa said Ssekandi’s silence was raising more suspicion that he (Ssekandi) would opt to quit without informing them in time as he had almost done in 2011. In 2011 Ssekandi’s fiercest challenger had to be convinced by church leaders to drop his court challenge to Ssekandi’s victory.
However, since that contest, Ssekandi’s chief campaigner Paul Migadde has been running a grassroots campaign to replace him in Bukoto Central in 2016. Yet the vice president has never come out publicly to say he would stand again. When nudged by Zziwa, Ssekandi reportedly remained quiet in his tent for about 20 minutes.
“He did not say a word until another resident, Bonny Namugera, tabled a motion urging Ssekandi to reveal his plans…,” a resident who attended the meeting told The Observer.
The motion prompted Ssekandi to stand up and accept to run for re-election. Earlier in the day, Ssekandi presided over a fundraising ceremony for the completion of Ssunga health centre III staff quarters in Bukakkata sub-county where Shs 10m was raised in cash and pledges. Ssekandi contributed Shs 5m in cash.
Apart from Ssekandi, six others are eying the Bukoto Central seat, including Migadde, Lukyamuzi Batemyetto, Moses Matovu, Lawyer Kazibwe Majera, Democratic Party’s Jude Mbabaali and Kalangala district NGO forum coordinator Eddie Maalo.