ARUA.The campaigns to find a successor to the slain former Arua municipality Member of Parliament Ibrahim Abiriga has entered a heated but interesting phase as heavyweight politicians and political party officials from down country flock to Arua.

Leading the exodus was Maj. Gen. Mugisha Muntu, the former opposition Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) president who broke ranks with the longstanding party tradition to back independent Kassiano Wadri early this week.

Mr Wadri who previously served as Terego MP for 15 years was a staunch backer of Gen. Muntu when he unsuccessfully contested against Dr Kizza Besigye in the race for FDC presidential candidate for the 2016 elections.

Dr Besigye is expected in Arua on Sunday to drum up support for the FDC official flag bearer Mr Bruce Musema who on Friday received the much awaited backing from the party president Eng. Patrick Amuriat and the West Nile FDC parliamentary caucus leader Kaps Hassan Fungaroo during a momentous rally at Kirab cell in Oli Division.

Musema campaignFDC candidate Bruce Musema campaigns at Kirab cell in Oli division. PHOTO BY RICHARD DRASIMAKU

However the day was full of drama beginning from Safi mosque when the police expelled the Kawempe division MP Mubarack Munyagagwa from Salah prayers after suspecting that he could use the moment as a platform to call for support for Mr Musema.

Later on, drunk youths claiming to be NRM and FDC respectively came to near exchange of blows at Kirabu when top NRM officials from Kampala as well as the party candidate Ms Nusura Tiperu wanted to address a rally at the venue where FDC was slated to be.

According to the campaign schedules released by the electoral commission on July 21, 2018, Friday was to see Mr Musema campaign in Kenya ward, Mr Safi Bavuga and Mr Kennedy Madira in Pangisa ward, Mr Wadri and Mr Jackson Atima in Tanganyika ward, Mr Simon Avutia in Awindiri ward, Mr Sunday Anguandia and Mr Ja’afar Alekua at Mvara ward and Mr Nyero Elton and Mr Robert Ijiku at Basaa ward.

Ms Nusura, who for unknown reasons never attended the programme harmonisation meeting and who did not send a representative to the meeting does not feature in the schedules but has been conducting rallies anywhere she wishes.

After failing to secure a sitting at Kirabu market, she moved to a home nearby where in a company of the NRM deputy secretary general Mr Richard Todwong and the Internal affairs state minister Mario Obiga Kania, they addressed a handful of supports without using loudspeakers due to the small size of attendees.

Tiperu campaignNRM candidate Nusura Tiperu canvassing for votes at Kirab just stones throw away from Mr Bruce Musema's rally on Friday. PHOTO BY RIMILIAH AMANDU

In the rally, Mr Todwong urged the party supporters to avoid any confrontations with the supporters of rival candidates.
“We don’t want our people to fight. They are there talking and we are also here talking, so, it’s up to you to decide,” he said.

Mr Todwong said those who are bringing their hatred for President Yoweri Museveni in the by-elections are misplaced and should wait for him in 2021 instead of pouring anger on Ms Tiperu.

He insisted that Ms Tiperu holds the hope of young women and girls because she is standing to face eleven men in the close contest.

Ms Tiperu is a former youth MP, Woman MP for Yumbe district and member of East African Legislative Assembly who after being rejected in Yumbe district migrated to contest in Koboko North Constituency and acrimoniously lost to Mr Elly Asiku after violent campaigns.

Mr Kania during the Kirabu cell campaign mainly attended by people from NRM camp said the opposition should give NRM the opportunity to continue what they started.

“You all know we are not supposed to have elections at this time but God suddenly called our brother and father the late Ibrahim Abiriga, that’s why we are going to vote but I urge you to vote for the NRM so that we can continue what we started,” Mr Kania stated.

“You should vote for Nusura even if you don’t like her as a person because she is the link that is going to channel the unfinished business in the municipality,” he said.

Ms Nusura without stating what she would do if she wins, urged the party faithful to heavily welcome the party chairman Mr Museveni when he visits on Mondayduring the final day of the campaigns.

However, Museveni’s convoy (without him in the midst) that was on its way to Moyo district where he is expected on Saturday to attend Primary Healthcare state minister Ms Joyce Moriku thanks giving prayers after recovering from poison attack got a glimpse of how complex the campaigns are when they met Mr Wadri and his ecstatic supporters gyrating on the town streets.