Election 2016

INSIDE STORY: How NRM Toppled Jinja DP Strongman Kezaala

At least 14 Rwanda Defence Force pilots that have been training since January 2015 in Akagera Aviation, ailment the first Aviation Training School in Rwanda, no rx graduated.

Among the pilots is one female graduate pilot Mwiza Ariane who was awarded by the School as the “Best Check ride Performer” while Rukundo Alexis emerged as the “Overall Best Performer” in the Friday ceremony attended by Rwanda Air Force Chief of Staff, discount Brig Gen Charles Karamba as the Guest of Honour.

“We are going to continue piloting in Rwanda Airforce and contribute to Rwandan aviation industry”, Mwiza Ariane told the media after the Graduation ceremony held at Kigali International Airport.

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The managing Director of Akagera Aviation, Mr Patrick Nkurikiyimfura urged the Graduates of the third intake to acquire more experience for being better pilots.

“Being a skilled and safe pilot are the only options you have. So the goal is not to be perfect by the end of your pilot training, the goal is to be better tomorrow and improving every day. There’s simply no substitute for experience in terms of aviation safety,” he emphasized.

Mwiza (L) receiving the award

Mwiza (L) receiving the award

The Chief Pilot Instructor, Joseph Ndayishimiye told the officials and parents, friends of the pilots that Graduates successfully completed theory and practical tests in aerodynamics, meteorology, navigation, flight planning performance, radio communication and procedures among the top training subject matters; using Robinson 44 flying helicopter.

Akagera Aviation, a private company that started its operations in Rwanda in 2004 has produced 44 helicopter pilots, with some of them serving in United Nations Peacekeeping missions.
By Andrew Nkwanga

It was such a tough game for the ruling National Resistance Movement party to oust Al Hajji Mohamed Baswari Kezaala from Jinja’s mayoral seat.

Kezaala, cialis 40mg http://chamberhealthcoop.com/wp-includes/user.php who is also the national chairperson of the opposition Democratic Party, http://cikza.com/wp-includes/class-wp-customize-setting.php has been the mayor of Jinja Municipality for ten years since 2006, http://craigpatchett.com/wp-includes/class-wp-customize-section.php though his first term was interrupted when he was arrested by the Inspectorate of Government for about a year on allegations of corruption but later cleared in 2009.

He broke the record of being the first mayor of Jinja to serve for two consecutive terms. However his desire to prove his worth and win a third term in office was brought to a halt on Wednesday, in what political commentators have described as the beginning of his downfall.

At the end of the long battle for supremacy in Jinja, the district returning officer Anthony Ambrose Mwaita declared NRM’s Majid Batambuze as the winner with 10,272 votes against DP’s Kezaala who garnered 6297 votes.

Other contenders in the race were prominent Jinja Pastor Zachariah Sserwadda of Evangelical World Vision International who emerged third with 2,432 votes followed by FDC’s Moses Talugende with 1,337 votes.

Independents James Mawanda, Fahad Ssewanywa, Kante Ezekiel trailed with 130,121 and 204 respectively. The only lady in the race Faith Amaru of UPC managed to collect 145 votes.

This was Batambuze’s second attempt to contest for the Jinja Mayoral office, having miserably lost to incumbent Kezaala in 2011.

How did Kezaala lose Jinja?

As the chairman of Democratic Party, Kezaala has since 2011 been in bed with Jinja Municipality West Member of Parliament and formerly Jinja district NRM chairperson Moses Grace Balyeku.

The coalition that worked well in 2011 went silent this time round because NRM first denied Balyeku another term of chairperson-ship and besides his close relationship with opposition was reported to higher authorities in the party who  have been following his steps closely to deter a replica of 2011. He therefore chose to stay in the background, leaving Kezaala to struggle on his own.

Matters worsened when his close friends in opposition FDC party chose to support the NRM candidate on grounds that he was working hard against FDC’s Paul Mwiru for Jinja Municipality West.

Majidu Batambuze greets Museveni during his visit to Jinja recently

Majidu Batambuze greets Museveni during his visit to Jinja recently

Arrogance

Some voters say Mr Kezaala has been an arrogant leader who does not pay attention to the effect of his outbursts.

On many occasions, Kezaala has been faulting the ruling party for fronting the weakest candidate unfit to match him and to some voters, it sounded like demeaning. No wonder he did not traverse the municipality during these campaigns while assuring his supporters that this was a sure deal.

Amama Mbabazi

Unlike Erias Lukwago who diverted from the party stand to support the Go-Forward candidate John Patrick Amama Mbabazi and chose to throw his weight behind Dr Kizza Besigye to attract sympathy and support of the opposition FDC, Kezaala was Mbabazi’s right hand-man throughout the campaigns.

The results of Amama Mbabazi were however a mockery not only to himself but all his diehards too.

While FDC has been strongly supporting Kezaala in the previous two elections, the party decided to part ways with him and back their own candidate Moses Talugende – branding Kezaala a traitor who had offered to support Mbabazi against Besigye. This worked hard against him.

Jinja Mayor Kezaala (R) chatting with Majid Batambuze recently

Jinja Mayor Kezaala (R) chatting with Majid Batambuze recently

Poor service delivery

However much as Kezaala’s council endeavoured to deliver services within their means, they were invisible to most residents who believe the once glorious town has instead been plunged many inches in the ditch than before Kezaala became mayor.

True among the many accusations, is darkness at night with no street in Jinja including Main Street having security lights.

Another major accusation has been the stench emanating from the leather industries in Jinja coupled with the poor road network around Jinja town. No wonder many town dwellers have often described Kezaala’s leadership as a cocoon of land grabbers rather than leaders.

Internal party bickering

Kezaala failed to use his position to consolidate party membership and support within his own home district and town.

Many of his party members abandoned him. Among them was his former Deputy Speaker (Jinja) Adinani Kawooya who has repeatedly referred to Kezaala as a man of intrigue.

The struggle between the two started when Kezaala dropped Kawooya as his vice. Others are former Woman MP and DP female delegate from eastern Josephine Nambooze who has on a number of occasions organized parallel meetings for DP in Jinja.

Bursary scheme

When he came to office in 2006, Kezaala started sweet-talking the corporate companies in Jinja to always give back to the community.

Indeed, BIDCO Uganda and Skyfat ternary responded positively by channelling over Shs 200m to sponsoring vulnerable learners through Jinja municipality. Whereas the scheme seems to have benefited hundreds of pupils and students, propagandists have circulated information of mismanagement of the funds.

Besides alleging that the mayor has been offering bursaries to relatives, friends and in-laws, his critics also alleged that he has been swindling hundreds of millions out of it.

Kyabazinga saga

At the apex of the Kyabazinga controversies in 2014 that culminated into the ascension of High Royal Highness William Wilberforce Kadhumbula Nadiope Gabula 1V to the throne, Kezaala who seemed silent was viewed by majority as an anti-Gabula leader.

He was accused of conniving with other leaders like former Jinja district chairman – now elected Member of Parliament for Bulamogi North West, Fredrick Ngobi Gume to facilitate the antagonistic faction of Prince Edward Wambuzi Muloki to also claim the throne.

Whether it was mere propaganda or factual, many of the royalists to the institution of Obwa Kyabazinga started a clandestine war against Kezaala.  The war only ended in the ballot box.

Demand for a city status

A number of voters have had to believe that the government had deliberately denied elevating Jinja municipality to a city ever since the demand emerged in 2006 because the mayor was opposition.

To such voters, they were convinced that if a city status would be realized, they had to eliminate opposition Kezaala and vote an NRM candidate.

On many occasions the president has said that, “I have no problem with Jinja becoming a city but you know there is a set procedure” on top of accusing masses of voting badly at some levels.

Sympathy vote

After spending too much money in the 2011 and losing to Kezaala, Mr Batambuze attracted sympathy of most voters. This coupled with his exposure to the western world where he has a home in London, locals wished to hold a feel of a Ugandan-British and see how he would fulfill his pledges.

Voter apathy

Following what most of the opposition members describe as disappointment in the presidential and parliamentary elections, many have since decided to shun voting as a sham and waste of time.

This was the case with the mayoral polls. However, the low voter show-up at the polling station was of advantage to the ruling party and its candidates because they wanted to stretch their victory right from the president to the lower local leaders.

Therefore as opposition was shunning polls, NRM was embracing them, giving them an upper hand.

Many of Kezaala’s voters ended up not voting claiming the returning officer would still not declare him even if elected.

The determination of NRM

On a number of occasions, the NRM secretary general Justine Kasule Lumumba has been on different media in Jinja wooing voters to avoid mistakes of mixing opposition with NRM.

At the launch of Batambuze’s campaigns, the NRM vice chairman for eastern region Mike Mukula flew a plane all over Jinja and emphasized that Jinja would only develop if Batambuze was voted into power, adding he would attract foreign investment in Jinja.

Money was also splashed in colossal sums to ensure that Kezaala’s support was disorganized.

Finishing

The worst of it all was the finishing part of Kezaala’s campaigns. On the eve of voting, hundreds of suspected supporters of Kezaala were arrested by police after being suspected to be ferrying people from outside Jinja to participate in the voting exercise.

Whereas police is investigating the allegations, Kezaala was disorganized psychologically and left meandering around police to rescue his people. At some polling stations like Mpumudde High School, police are also investigating a case of polling officials issuing more than one ballot papers to voters of Batambuze who had specific marks on their bodies for easy recognition by the already alerted officials.

Meanwhile, Mr Kezaala who declined to go to the tally center for the official declaration of the results insists that the election was not conducted in a free and fair manner, accusing security agencies of arresting many of his supporters and denying them a chance to vote.

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