Last Updated on: 11th September 2023, 08:33 pm
Jinja I One of Uganda’s celebrated law dons, Prof Joe Oloka-Onyango once told journalists attending an election reporting media workshop at Masindi Hotel, in Masindi that, “…some people win elections as far back as five or so years and only wait for official confirmation on the voting day….”
Onyago’s perception is something worth reflecting on as far as the 2026 general elections are concerned.
The statement is already making a lot of sense in Jinja City and the mother district where aspirants are busy traversing the various villages, wards and parishes in the name of ‘greeting’ the usually unpredictable residents or voters.
A number of radio presenters are already busy with veiled promotional messages on the airwaves about some aspirants who are also busy attending social events including burials, marriages and religious ceremonies.
Milly Babirye Babalanda
Top on the list on the lips of these radio presenters is the Minister for the Presidency Milly Babirye Babalanda. MBB as she is fondly referred to seems to have fixed her eyes on the strategic Jinja City Woman MP come 2026.
Although the very hardworking MBB has not officially declared her interest, there are countless indicators beyond reasonable doubt that the former RDC is determined to add acumen to her political CV.
Known as a sharp mobiliser, MBB is likely to give the incumbent Manjeri Kyebakutiika (NUP) a run for her money, since after all, money is not going to be any of her headaches.
Wagabaza Mukunya Margaret
Another name one cannot afford to ignore is Wagabaza Mukunya Margaret who prides herself on being married to the Busoga First Family in the name of Prince Fred Muloki Kunya, son of the fallen Kyabazinga Henry Waako Muloki.
A seasoned and professional secretary, Margaret commonly referred to as ‘Inhebantu’ by some friends, worked at the Jinja district local government for 17 years under different chairpersons without any scandal.
Mother of five, including twins, thus earning the title of Nalongo, Margaret who now works in the ministry of local government headquarters in Kampala is the daughter of Samuel Henry Wabagaza who served as the Jinja District CFO for 20 years.
Like many others, Nalongo Wabagaza,(from the muwaya clan) declined to comment at the time of generating this article, for obvious reasons, but close associates and ‘foot soldiers’ say she is on the ground.
“…make no mistake, Nalongo is the political darling on the ground with the common person unlike others who are waiting to come in at the last minute with bags of money…,” some people calling themselves campaign managers said on condition of anonymity.
Esther Mirembe and Serina Kyakuwaire
Media personalities, namely Esther Mirembe of NBS 89.4 (owned by Nathan Samson Igeme Nabeta), Serina Kyakuwaire Kamya of Basoga baino (Baba) FM 88.7 (owned by Moses Grace Balyeku) are on the line.
While Mirembe is making her second shot having tried and lost to NUP’s Kyebakutiika in 2021, Kyakuwaire made her successful maiden assault as a councillor to the Jinja City Council where she is currently also serving as Deputy Speaker.
Moses Grace Balyeku
They say revenge is a dish best served when cold and so former Jinja West MP Moses Grace Balyeku who seems quiet is working behind the scenes to make a dramatic comeback to recapture his seat.
According to close sources, Balyeku is coming back fresh and reloaded, having critically examined and scrutinized events that led to his loss, moreover to the opposition in the constituency he had coloured yellow.
Currently occupied by FDC’s Dr Timothy Lusala Batuwa, Jinja West is a cosmopolitan constituency, where for 10 years Balyeku who was famously known as ‘Uncle Money’ had mastered their aspirations.
“…a combination of factors including intrigue among some NRM politicians plus trusting wrong elements were responsible for the defeat, which we have continued to make amends…,” close confidants confessed.
Jinja East constituency is almost synonymous with either Nathan Samson Igeme Nabeta the current MP or Paul Mwiru who divorced FDC for ANT and is now a political bride to NUP.
Mbazira, a councillor at the City Hall is determined to change what he calls political jokers who have turned the constituency into their sole boxing ring without the corresponding service delivery.
The vocal councillor is increasingly becoming a household name in the constituency that residents rely on for many of their challenges like funerals and marriage ceremonies.
Aware these are not the official roles and responsibilities of an MP, Mbazira says as a leader one cannot run away from identifying and supporting the community during their times of need.
If David Isabirye Agha, the MP Jinja North thought he was safe to bounce back with little struggle, he is in for a big shock because the current Butembe MP David Livingstone Zijjan is crossing over to kick him out.
Zijjan who owns Glenz Dignity Uganda, the company that bought Almeca Hospital, now renamed Glenz Dignity Hospital from his political friend-turned-foe Nelson Lufafa is now everywhere in the constituency.
It’s not clear why Zijjan who is still popular in Butembe has decided to cross, but sources say he struck a political deal with one of the officials at State House who will contest for the MP slot.
Michael Musana Nyende
The former Jinja District Speaker Michael Musana Nyende is now eyeing the district chair, giving a hard time to Moses Batwala who plans to secure a second term having passed unopposed in 2021.
Although literally broke like the proverbial church mouse, Nyende is already capitalizing on the challenges the incumbent Batwala is facing, having disagreed with nearly all the sub-county LC3 chairpersons and MPs from the district.