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Museveni's new power in Ankole, Kigezi

Tycoons  like Caesar Mulenga, Thomas Tayebwa, Charles Mbiire,  Apollo Nyegamahe, Leo Beyagira working tirelessly behind the scenes to deliver Museveni's votes

Businessmen Charles Mbiire (L) and Patrick Bitature

Behind the crowds, the dancing and public pomp at President Museveni's rallies in Kigezi and Ankole sub-regions in the last two weeks, were men and women of means, mostly local businessmen and politicians like incumbent MPs and ministers. EDRIS KIGGUNDU takes a peek at the people who made it all happen. 

TOM MUGENGA

He is a prominent businessman with interests in transport and played a key role in the organization of Museveni’s rallies in Kisoro district, including the main one in the municipality. In many cases, he was singled out for recognition by the organizers.

APOLLO NYEGAMAHE

Popularly known by his business name, “Aponye”, Nyegamahe was one of the brains behind the organization of Museveni’s rallies in Kabale district. He contributed financially to ensure that the Kabale municipality rally was a success.

CHARLES MBIIRE

Charles Mbiire needs little introduction. He is a shareholder in MTN Uganda and has interests in the pharmaceutical industry. Although he did not attend any of the president’s rallies in Kigezi sub-region, insiders within the NRM told The Observer that he contributed generously towards their organization.

Speaker after speaker recognized his support. His mother, Mama Mbiire, attended the Kabale municipality rally.

PATRICK BITATURE

Despite much speculation, the Simba Telecom boss had never come out openly to profess his support for NRM. But during Museveni’s rally in Ibanda South, Bitature threw caution to the wind and showed his mobilization prowess.

The rally was one of the most-attended in Ankole sub-region and he spared no resource in ensuring that it was an overwhelming success. Bitature distributed umbrellas, caps and vuvuzelas to the people.

ROBERT MWESIGWA

He is the chairperson of the NRM entrepreneurs’ league. He told The Observer in Mbarara that his mission was to make the organ one of the most vibrant in the party. Mwesigwa mobilised the business community in Mbarara town to donate fuel worth Shs 50 million for Museveni’s campaign in Ankole.

LT GEN HENRY TUMUKUNDE

Lt Gen Henry Tumukunde likes to operate from the shadows. And when he appears in an area, his presence denotes money. Tumukunde was a visible presence in Rukungiri and Mbarara where he met various interest groups.

He has been traversing the sub-regions in the NRM chopper, which previously was under the control of Capt Mike Mukula, the NRM vice chairman for eastern Uganda.

KELLEN KAYONGA

She is the sister to Jovia Saleh, wife of Gen Salim Saleh. She was one of the key mobilisers for the Mbarara municipality rally on January 12 at Boma grounds. Kayonga paced up and down to ensure that things were okay. She was in charge of the people who defected from the opposition to the NRM.

LEO BEYAGIRA

He is a household business name in Mbarara. He owns Global coaches and is constructing a modern shopping mall in the town. On the day Museveni held a rally in the municipality, Beyagira used his buses to mobilise people for the president’s rallies.

THOMAS TAYEBWA

Until early last year, the youthful politician was a member of the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC). Tayebwa is now allied to the NRM and is one of the few MPs who are lucky to have scraped through unopposed. He is the MP-in-waiting for Ruhinda North in Mitooma district, one of the newly-created constituencies. 

Insider sources in NRM told us that Tayeebwa spent millions mobilizing for president Museveni in his constituency and district. 

ekiggundu@observer.ug 

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