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NUP's Bukimbiri by-election flag-bearer crosses to NRM

Joshua Mutabazi

Joshua Mutabazi

Joshua Mutabazi, the former National Unity Platform (NUP) flag-bearer who was withdrawn from tomorrow's Bukimbiri county by-election race by his party has crossed over to the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM).

19-year-old Mutabazi was last Tuesday nominated to contest against Forum for Democratic Change's James Owebeyi, Eddie Kwizera Wagahungu of NRM, and independent candidate Edward Mutabazi. 

But without reason, Mutabazi did not participate in campaigns that started last week, and a day later, NUP issued a statement announcing that it has withdrawn its support for Mutabazi in favour of FDC’s Owebeyi Mugyemani. 

Yesterday Tuesday, NRM party leaders led by vice president Jessica Alupo, prime minister Robinah Nabbanja and Chris Baryomunsi, the minister for Information and National guidance held a press conference at Gorilla Heights hotel in Nkuringo town council and presented Mutabazi as a new member of the NRM party.

Nabbanja says that she received a phone call on Monday from one of the Kisoro District NRM leaders informing her that Mutabazi wants to meet her. Nabbanja says that Mutabazi openly told her that he wants to cross to NRM.

"Yesterday I got a call from one of our leaders here who told me there is a young man who wants to see you. This young man has been a candidate on the ticket of NUP. So I gave him time and appointment today and he told me he wants to cross formally to NRM. He has his reasons which reasons are that he sees no future in NUP and that is why he has formally come to us," said Nabbanja. 

Mutabazi says that other NUP members in the area will join the NRM party.

"Formerly, I was contesting under the flag of the National Unity Platform - it was disappointing and frustrating but thank God I now have a sober mood and…I don’t come alone because we’re in a system where we belong and I can assure you that already made calls with my system and all of them are picking positions. Instead of the umbrella [NUP], it is now the bus [NRM]. I officially now inform you that we’re standing together with the National Resistance Movement," said Mutabazi.

Voting in Bukimbiri is scheduled to take place tomorrow August 11. The by-election stems from the Court of Appeal's decision to nullify the victory of Kwizera citing irregularities following a successful application by Owebeyi.

In his application, Owebeyi argued that although the candidate's photos and party symbols that appeared on ballot papers were genuine, they carried different names. The ballot papers carried the names of Arthur Kazoora Atuzarirwe as the NRM flag-bearer, Didas Byaruhanga Kagyinda as the FDC flag bearer, and Victor Atwiine and Donzio Kahonda Mugabe as independent candidates yet none of them were from the area.

On Tuesday, the district received materials that will be used in the by-election. The materials include 72 metallic boxes, 80 transparent boxes, 80 basins, cordoning tapes, and solar-powered lamps.

There are 72 polling stations in Bukimbiri County.

© 2016 Observer Media Ltd