After the search of the next district NRM woman flag bearer went down last week, there was a lot that I loved about the candidacy of Baata Kamateneti though majority of people seemed not to know who she is/was and perhaps what her agenda was. And maybe they would have chosen her.
Although Ntungamo district NRM voters decided to re-elect Beatrice Rwakimari in the recently concluded primaries, I have a conviction that though this woman was not chosen, she was the best choice for the title.
It is not so much that I underestimate the power of voters who chose Rwakimari, not even that i have personal problems with her but, our political landscape needed fresh blood since the 1995 constitution.
In some long time-coming poetic fit of serendipity, one would think that she (Baata) would be a one better option to take the current reins than the same old Rwakimari and Kabasharira who’s been with us all along.
Fast forward, the elections for women can be traced back to the establishment of the National Resistance Council (NRC) in 1989. In this election affirmative action measures for women were introduced, and 34 women were elected to “women’s seats”
During the 6th Parliament (1996-2001) there were 39 districts in Uganda (Ntungamo inclusive), and accordingly 39 women were elected as female district MPs.
As you might be aware, since establishment, in 1993, Ntungamo district first got woman representative in Parliament after the 1995 C.A and the representatives was Janet Bagarukayo in Constituency Assembly (C.A) and Ms. Ester Mugarura.
Clear history of female representation in the district though unclear, what we can acquaint ourselves from the available written literature is that in the sixth Parliament (1996-2001), Naome Kabasharira was voted to represent women of Ntungamo in Parliament.
In 2001she was disqualified from contesting as MP on the ground that she presented forged academic papers in the names of Kabasharira Naome Asiimwe as had petitioned by a one Rwakimari.
For a period between 2001 and 2010, Ntungamo had Hon. Beatrice Rwakimari as a woman representative of the district.
After 10 years outside Parliament, Kabasharira made a come-back in 2011 and beat the incumbent, Beatrice Rwakimari in the NRM primaries with over 50,000 votes. Ms Kabasharira polled 94,705 against Rwakimari’s 46,544 votes in the NRM party primaries held in September 2010.
Media reports and research reveal that although Kabasharira experienced a tough campaign with limited resources, her win at that time was facilitated by her record performance, and a sympathy vote from those who thought she had been sidelined by the incumbent.
What does it mean with her loosing and the re-election of Hon. Rwakimari? I surely haven’t yet established the real reasoning behind the voter behaviour in Ntungamo but for a fact, there should have been a change but not necessarily like we had.
Once new people come to the race, our local population tends to think that perhaps new entrants in the race are usually not ready to take on the leadership. Or maybe that they lack the resources to provide logistical support to the voters.
For anyone interested in political leadership ought to understand the nature of the electorate and be able to provide accordingly.
But why do we have such? Our leaders currently have nurtured people in believing in handouts, and this commercialisation of politics in the our district as well as the country has and continues to impact on the quality of the leaders we chose and the quality of services we receive from government.
We continue to lack civic education to our local population in rural areas. This is evident from the nature of arguments one hears on village streets where once says cannot vote someone because they have not offered them logistics “Kamiro” literally vote bribe.
This has continued to misinform even our siblings in schools today where even a class monitor has to bribe voters with sweets, or pop corns (traditional “Bunena”).
I therefore believe Kamateneti was the ideal choice for Rushenyi though she couldn’t fight through. I therefore think that she lost, one because of the nature of our electorate, the existence of political blocks which for long have been utilised for support. For instance, in the recently concluded, NRM primary elections, all the three contestants came from the three traditional constituencies of Ruhama (Rwakimari), Rushenyi (Kabasharira) and Kajara (Kamateneti). In analysis, almost each block supported their own.
Maybe another reason that could have worked against Kamateneti’s side was her timing. The time she came in the race was quite late. I would want to say that maybe she dint have enough time with people so that they can get to know her.
Looking at the enormity of the area she and her competitors were supposed to cover in the shortest time given amidst individual funding and compared to the constituency MPs who also had the same time, shows you that it was a bit tricky for her to win.
Basing on that i would want to congratulate her for the powerful show she put. I didn’t expect her to perform like she did. Congratulations to her and all whose victory was postponed.