WAKISO- In 2001, former presidential candidate and radio presenter Charles James Ssenkubuge through his campaign initiative came up with a brand, “New faces, new ideas for a new Uganda.” This was covered all over the country, especially in his home constituency Busiro South.
Ssenkubuge was liked by many people, especially in Wakiso. He became an inspiration for many and his brand was used as a campaign tool for all new but specifically young entrants into the political scene. However, he disappointed voters by pulling out of the presidential contest and later going on a trip to Germany, a day after announcing his backing out of the bid for the highest office in the country.
The then area member of Parliament was the late Patrick Musisi, who joined the August house only a month after the retirement of former Minister Alfred James Mubanda. Mubanda, the first and only NRM candidate had ruled Busiro South since the promulgation of a new constitution in 1995.
He was succeeded by Musisi (Democratic Party) in 2001. However, his second term was cut short when he died in 2005. In a highly contested by-election, Joseph Balikudembe Mutebi (DP), Musisi’s son, defeated Ssenkubuge.
Mutebi also won the 2006 and 2011 general elections and has since represented the values of the people in Busiro south.
Busiro South is located in Wakiso District, south of Rubaga South, East of Busiro East, West of Kyadondo South and North of Entebbe municipality. The constituency is one of the biggest in the country. It runs from Kitubulu in Entebbe, through Entebbe road to Kasanje – Bubebere on the shores of Lake Victoria and meets Mowokota North near Bikondo stage on Kampala Masaka road in Mpigi.
It boasts of many tourist attractions with many beaches and recreation grounds around the shores of Lake Victoria. Many contestants use the rich lake shoreline as a campaign tool to take over the constituency in almost all parliamentary elections.
If he contests for the seat in 2016, Mutebi might face tougher challenges with new players joining the race. Renowned journalist and NBS Morning breeze talk show host Simon Kaggwa Njala, Buganda Youth minister Henry Ssekabenbe and a resident Steven Kato have all vowed to take over from Mutebi in the constituency.
However, Mutebi has made it clear that he will not stand in the 2016 elections although he feels he will be a great pillar to look at in politics even after the 2016 because of his experience.
“My relevance will be tested even after I leave elective politics. I had agreed with my voters that I will not stand in 2016,” he says adding that: “There is time for everything. We should not be in politics all the time.”
Little is known on whether he will support or endorse any candidate although many people link him to journalist Njala. Well known in areas of Kisubi, Kawuku suburbs and Ssisa Sub-county, Njala takes time off to visit different localities in the constituency almost every weekend.
“He was last here in church with us for prayers. He never leaves church every Sunday and priests love him just because of his humility,” said Rose Nakibuuka, a choir member at Kisubi parish.
Njala feels each person should engage in nation building, especially in their home area.
“It doesn’t go well with me when I find my home area lacking general services. We need to acknowledge that each person has a part to play and a mission to accomplish in building this nation through better service delivery, the reason each person should come up to take on responsibility,” he says.
Also known for media activism, Njala has been seen as anti-government and a darling of the people.
“He usually speaks with passion on issues of corruption, rule of law and human rights and people are always appreciative. In the end, the voters reward such activists by sending them to Parliament for a tougher and more genuine fight,” said Richard Lugoloobi, a senior resident in Ssisa Sub-county.
Henry Ssekabembe, another possible aspirant for the seat, is still silent on his interest. The minister in Buganda government neither confirmed nor dismissed claims that he would contest.
“I’m still working for the Kabaka, when time comes, I will declare,” he said.
NRM’s Haruna Jumba remained unreachable and Nakamaanya Grace believes she was not brought up to become an MP especially in Busiro County.
“I’m thinking of alternatives. When we return next year, my decision will be clear although I am better off out of the public eye,” she said.
After leaving Parliament, Mutebi will be remembered as a counsel and human rights debater in Parliament and a member of Parliament’s Legal committee.
What the constituents think
However, there seems to be mixed feelings from his constituents. Charles Mayanja, a resident of Nakawuka trading centre in Ssisa Sub-county told Saturday Monitor he last saw Mutebi during campaign time. “Although we watch him on TV debating in Parliament, where does he get views of people he represents?” he asks.
He says on so many occasions, views of the general public in Busiro South were not presented at the national level which he says created a gap between the constituency and the central government.
“Maybe it was because he was Opposition that this area has never been represented,” Mayanja said.
In Kitende, a suburb in Mutebi’s constituency, he is known as a kind man with love for the rule of law and development. “All fights against bad laws in the country have at least reached our area and Mutebi has been seen in the lead to have any proposed legal challenge reach Parliament. At least he is seen working in the house,” said Irene Nakalembe, a vendor in Kitende, along Entebbe Road.
Mutebi says he needs to clear way for new leaders with a fresh taste of how to change situations in the country.
“And that’s the beauty each MP leaving humbly loves watching, being replaced by competent leader, one with the caliber of his predecessor. That’s the encouragement to fellow members, let new members come in to steer our good nation.” said Mutebi.
Former contestant Charles James Ssenkubuge says although he was defeated by Mutebi in the 2005 by-election, his retirement from politics without being pushed makes him admire the kind of politics he played.
“He has done enough for the goodwill of the people. It’s good he leaves the field for new players who bring on new ideas for the development of our area,” said Ssenkubuge.
Notes in history
Mutebi’s retirement from elective politics in Busiro south brings the number of MPs who have represented the constituency in the August house to three Alfred Mubanda handed over in 2011, Patrick Musisi died in 2005 while still in office and Mutebi, who replaced his father.
SOURCE: Daily Monitor