The National Unity Platform (NUP) party has withdrawn its candidate in the Bukimbiri county by-election in favour of James Owebeyi, a candidate belonging to the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC).
The withdrawn candidate is 19-year-old Joshua Mutabazi who had been nominated on Tuesday to contest alongside Owebeyi, Eddie Kwizera Wagahungu of the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) and independent candidate, Edward Mutabazi.
Without prior announcement, Mutabazi did not just participate in campaigns that started on Thursday and a day later, the party issued a statement announcing that it has withdrawn its support for the candidate.
According to the statement, the move is aimed at showing cooperation in jointly fighting to get rid of the military dictatorship of Uganda. The statement also indicates that an FDC candidate was also recently withdrawn from the Gogonyo county by-election, Pallisa district in favour of a NUP candidate Joseph Okoboi Opolot.
“As you all know, the NUP backed the FDC candidate Hon. Attan Moses in the concluded Soroti by-election. Likewise, FDC has recently withdrawn its candidate in the Gogonyo Constituency by-election in Pallisa District and opted to support the NUP candidate Hon. Okoboi Joseph. However, following our renewed effort to work alongside all forces of change, we have taken a decision to withdraw our candidate from this election. Instead, we shall be supporting and backing the FDC candidate. These steps give greater cooperation in our effort to rid our nation of military dictatorship. We appreciate comrade Mutabazi Joshua for his maturity and appreciation of the urgent need for the forces of change to work together at this critical time," the statement reads.
Joel Ssenyonyi, the NUP party spokesperson confirmed the decision to withdraw from the race but did not divulge as much detail. Voting in Bukimbiri is scheduled to take place on August 11, 2022. The by-election stems from the Court of Appeal's decision to nullify the victory of Kwizera citing irregularities following a successful application by Owebeyi.
In his application, Owebeyi argued that although the candidate's photos and party symbols that appeared on ballot papers were genuine, they carried different names. The ballot papers carried the names of Arthur Kazoora Atuzarirwe as the NRM flag bearer, Didas Byaruhanga Kagyinda as the FDC flag bearer, and Victor Atwiine and Donzio Kahonda Mugabe as independent candidates yet none of them were from the area.