KABALE: A group of voters in Kabale has rejected a proposal by the District Woman MP, Catherine Atwakiire Ndamira, to replace the late Deputy Speaker of the Kabale Municipality, Ronald Hakiziman Bifafusha, with his wife.
Bifabusha, 33, who was also the representative of Lower Bugongi Ward and a renowned NRM die-hard, breathed his last at Kamukira Health Centre IV on January 23rd, 2022, after losing the battle to diabetes. During his funeral service at St. Luke Bugongi Catholic Church over the weekend, Ndamira proposed that his widow, Ms. Deborah Owembabazi, be elected unopposed to complete the race started by her late husband.
Ndamira argued that the late Bifabusha would not be the first to be replaced by a family member. She cited the example of the late Rehema Watongola, the former Kamuli Municipality MP who died in November 2020 and was replaced by her daughter, Kayanga Baroda Watongola, in the 2021 election.
She also cited the example of Robinah Nakasirye Ssentongo, the former Kyotera Woman MP who was replaced by her daughter, Fortunate Rose Nantongo. Ndamira asked voters in Lower Bugongi to reject anyone else who seeks their votes in the by-election to replace the late Bifabusha and choose his widow as their next representative on the Kabale Municipal Council.
She made the proposal following a speech that included comments by the Mayor of Kabale Municipality, Emmanuel Sentaro Byamugisha, on the speech by Bifabusha’s widow about her late husband. Sentaro noted that Owembabazi deserved political office for portraying confidence and boldness in her speech.
However, the proposal has not gone down well with some voters in lower Bugongi, with some accusing Ndamira and Sentaro of attempting to mislead the widow.
Niyoweitu Wilber, a pastor at the Kings Resurrection Church and resident of Lower Bigongi, says that what the widow deserves now is psycho-social and financial assistance rather than political sentiments since her husband was the sole breadwinner.
Ronald Bizimungu, the Lower Bugongi Youth representative to the Northern Division, says that the widow could be less interested in political leadership, or else she could have contested for any other political position when her husband was still alive.
Allan Turinawe, the Kirigime Ward Male Councilor, says that he doesn’t believe that the widow is ready to engage in politics. He also notes that it was morally wrong for politicians to make such comments at the deceased’s send-off.
However, Gloria Tushemereirwe, a resident of Bigombe Cell in Lower Bugongi, has supported the proposal to replace the late Bifabusha with his wife. Tushemereirwe argues that having stayed with Bifabusha since he joined politics in 2011, Owembabazi could have learnt some leadership abilities.