Ian Kiryowa Kabanga, a blogger with Skizzar Uganda, who was seeking the position of Mayor for the newly created Jinja City has pulled out of the race, we can confirm.
In a statement released on his official social media channels, Mr. Kabanga pulled out of the race after the National Unity Platform (NUP) vetting process that preferred his opponent over him.
As a consolation, the NUP vetting committee allocated him the Jinja District LCV Chairman flag, which he has vehemently rejected.
“Greetings countrymen and, especially, Jinja City citizens. It is my prayer that you and the people in your care are fine. I decline to run for Chairman Jinja District on the National Unity Platform (NUP) ticket, a position offered to me by the party Vetting Committee.” Kabanga said in a statement.
According to the blogger, the reason for his rejection of the position is simplly because he didn’t apply for that position.
“I applied to run for Mayor Jinja City on the NUP ticket. In light of this development, I feel obligated to share a few observations from this process so that you understand my stand. On July 13th, 2020, I declared that I was running for Mayor Jinja City. I expressed interest to run for the same position on the NUP ticket and had this documented on August 5th, 2020. On September 16th, 2020, I was vetted for the same position by the NUP Election Management Committee at the Secretariat in Kamwokya, Kampala. All my preparations, investments, consultations, and voter canvassing have been happening in Jinja City. On Thursday, September 24th, 2020, it was announced on the NUP Social Media pages that my opponent was the flag bearer of the party for Mayor Jinja City and I was the flag bearer for Chairman Jinja District.” Kabanga added.
He emphasised that he didn’t apply for the post of Chairman Jinja District and neither was he consulted, conditions he says is ideally the basic minimum.
“I am a resident and registered voter in Jinja City specifically, and not Jinja District. As such, my understanding of the challenges faced in Jinja District as a whole is very limited. I have lived in, focused on, understood, and built relations in Jinja City as my electoral area. I have invested a lot of time in understanding Jinja City and its challenges and I have gone to great lengths to think of how they can be handled. I, therefore, consider myself ineligible to stand for the position of Chairman Jinja District.” He further noted.
He said that owing to those reasons, and the fact that his intention is not to merely fill a space on the ballot paper but rather to win and to impact Jinja City, he is unable to stand for the position of Jinja District Chairman.
He said that in trying to understand the sudden turn of events, he immediately petitioned the NUP Election Management Committee headed by a one Ms Walukamba Mercy on Thursday, September 24th, 2020.
“My petition was received at 5:34pm by Ms Aisha Kabanda, the Deputy Secretary General. A day later, I was told by a committee member, a one Hajji Musa Misango, who is also the Jinja District Commissioner, that the implication of deploying me to the position of Jinja District Chairman LCV was because I lost to my opponent. Ms Mercy Walukamba reiterated and confirmed the same. I then asked to have a look at the scorecard or whatever was used to arrive at that decision.” He narrated.
“In all this, I had accepted ‘their decision’ that my opponent had won but I needed to look at the criteria used to arrive at the decision. If we are to consider the questions asked during the vetting process, was the decision based on academic qualifications, whether one has National ID, or whether one has a NUP Membership Card? Was it based on focus issues (manifesto), understanding of the electoral area or knowledge of the responsibilities of a City Mayor? Was it based on a deeper understanding of the party ideologies, ability to fund one’s campaign, documented campaign strategy or closeness to The Principal? Was it based on one’s comparative advantage to win in 2021, how the contestants presented themselves or eloquence? Was there a measure of each candidate based on the party’s core values (Discipline, Reliability, Inclusivity, Integrity, Loyalty and Service)? Did showbiz popularity factor in at this point? What really was based on to declare one contestant the best person to represent the party in the race for Mayor Jinja City? I mean, I have a 360° and 100% grasp on all that was asked during vetting! So, how did my opponent come out the best? Were there questions that the committee deliberately didn’t ask me or my opponent?” He further pondered.
He says that using his intelligence and networks, he found out that the yardstick for his opponent’s success was, infact, a showbiz popularity contest!
“The ‘ground’ referred to by many seems to have been a consultation among a few unreliable Jinja NUP Committee members. My opponent was deemed the best because he works at a radio station in the electoral area and is an artiste in a comedy group, still in the electoral area. How the two attributes fit into providing solutions for the ordinary Jinja Citizen and the party’s legacy is something we might not understand now but like they say, “It is what it is!” Maybe this is what the party wants.” Kabanga said.
He said he will neither run as an Independent Candidate for Mayor Jinja City nor the Jinja District Chairperson. He pledged to continue to live as an ordinary citizen in Jinja and refocus his efforts and resources to providing practical solutions to the working citizen, urban family, and farming citizens in Jinja.
“I will continue to market Jinja City the same way I have been doing. I will continue to work with interested partners to implement some of the recommendations in my manifesto to try and provide a life of prosperity for the working Jinja citizen. I will continue canvassing support and votes for The Principal, Robert Kyagulanyi Sentamu a.k.a. Bobi Wine.” He concluded.