After a tightly guarded by-election in Butaleja, there was no argument over who the biggest winner was on the night of February 11.
With 27,338 votes, NRM’s Florence Nebanda Andiru is going to Parliament as the successor of her sister, Cerinah Nebanda, who died last December. She spoke to Shifa Mwesigye about her victory and her future plans.
Now that you are a Member of Parliament-elect, what are your plans for the constituency?
Obviously to fulfil my manifesto. I am going to finish Cerinah’s projects and add mine as well. These include women projects, like money-saving initiatives (bibiina). There are development projects, youth projects and agricultural development projects that men can do too.
These entail cattle rearing and growing crops because Butaleja is well known for growing rice. Then I will also encourage fish farming. As an NRM people’s representative, the government will help me fulfil these projects.
When you join Parliament, what do you plan to do?
I need to be sworn in first so that I go to the office and see what is going on there. For now my main aim is to fulfil my manifesto.
Why do you think people voted for you? What helped you win?
One, I was [Cerinah] Nebanda’s sister. My plans and projects swayed people to vote for me and I promised to ask government to help me implement them. Me and my fellow NRM candidates united and joined hands with Emmanuel Dombo (MP Bunyole East), [Dorothy] Hyuha and Wangolo, and agreed to work for unity in Butaleja.
Hyuha [former Butaleja Woman MP defeated by Cerinah] was busy but she attended some of my campaign meetings. His Excellency’s [President Museveni] visit to Butaleja district helped win me votes because he is the President and chairperson of NRM. People received him well and took his message.
What kind of person are you? What are your likes, dislikes, inspiration. What do you do for fun?
I was born on October 13, 1985. I like working with people and discuss issues affecting them. I like discussing developmental issues that would help develop Butaleja. I like travelling, reading books, praying and spending quality time with family and relatives. I cannot comment on whether I have a family [of my own]. For now you wait, you will see in the future.
If you were to describe a good politician in Uganda today, what would he/she be like?
A good politician is one who listens to people and works together with them. He should be a good communicator.
Many people say you are joining politics for the sake of it, to replace your sister and that is why you took up her name.
That is their opinion. She is my sister but you cannot expect me to be Cerinah. We have similarities and differences. I am going to Parliament because I have been voted for as a person. I have been in politics in my school life. I have not joined politics for the sake of it.
I am an active mobiliser. In primary school at Kide primary school, I was an assistant head girl. I went on to become dormitory prefect for Ntinda View College. I was a mobiliser for NRM in UK. The name (Nebanda) is a family name; it is my grandmother’s name. All grandchildren who are girls have that name. It is just that I was not using it on my education documents.
Have you harboured political ambitions before and what is your dream?
I have been participating in politics. I helped Nebanda to come up with some of those projects and it’s unfortunate she did not complete them. That is why I became a candidate. We shared ideas whenever she visited me abroad. Some of these ideas she implemented and others she didn’t.
We understand some family members opposed your decision to join politics.
Why do you believe in rumours? My parents have been very supportive all through. Take it from me, my family has been very supportive, working with me throughout the campaign. We have been moving together. They funded my primaries and when I emerged winner and flag bearer, the NRM funded me.
Are you putting the rest of your life on hold because of Parliament? You were studying and pursuing a career in UK. What will happen to that?
I did my degree in Human Resource Management and my Master’s degree in International Human Resources Management last year. I finished my studies and started working. I had to resign and come back to run for this position because I was coming back for good.
Please bring us up to date on your misgivings about government’s position on Cerinah’s death. Some feel that you should not be in bed with the NRM?
I cannot comment on that because investigations are still going on, we need to find out the real truth. The person who was involved was Adam Kalungi, he was arrested and the case is in court. For me and my family, we are standing with NRM. If people have an opinion about it, they have a right to feel that way.
Are you satisfied with the autopsy report?
I cannot comment on that because that report was done when I was not here. So, I cannot comment.
Who and what do you think killed your sister?
I cannot comment on that, investigations are still ongoing. The person responsible is in prison and that is Adam Kalungi.
Your mum beat up a police officer and reports say she roughed up some opposition supporters.
Which supporters did she rough up? The gentleman who was beaten belonged to opposition candidate Betty Hamba’s camp. Her father was responsible for the people who pelted us with stones.
The man came from the direction of the people who were attacking us and tried to enter the car. When this gentleman approached the car, my mum pushed him away. He was not wearing police uniform. We later found out that he was a policeman.
He was forcing himself in the car when mum slapped him. It was not assault, this was self-defence. He was trying to enter my mother’s car through the window and we didn’t know him.