By Kwame Ismail Nkurunziza
George Wilson Atuhaire, the Alliance for National Transformation (ANT) flag bearer for Kibale East, and a longtime rival of Gender Minister Frank Tumwebaze, has denied media allegations that he withdrew from the parliamentary race, hence allowing the incumbent Tumwebaze to sail through unopposed.
Atuhaire, in a phone interview with ExposedUganda.com on Thursday evening, described the media reports as nothing but propaganda by Tumwebaze and his group.
“I woke up today morning to go for campaigns as I have been doing for the last one month only to be bombarded by calls and messages from worried supporters and sympathizers about the outrageous media reports”, Atuhaire said, adding that; “People in Frank’s camp have been using his Nyumbani FM to demoralize my supporters. They have even been saying ANT doesn’t have candidate. Ignored it until last week when someone forged my signature and took a document to EC showing I have withdrawn from the race.”
He went on to say that he contacted the Electoral Commission and debunked that document but was advised to write to the Commission to be reinstated, which he did.”
The ANT candidate also described the reports that some well-known members of his party rejoiced after hearing the news as unfortunate.
He added that through his lawyers of Bagyenda and Co. Advocates, he is going to go to court to stop the Electoral Commission from declaring Tumwebaze as the sole candidate for the Kibale East MP seat .
“Frank knows I am strong on the ground and he can’t handle the fire. Using his friends in the media he trying to taint my image and make my supporters loose morale. They managed to force the other candidate Nuwagaba Arthur out of the race arguing that he didn’t have adequate academic papers but for me I want to reassure the change seeking people of Kibale East and Uganda at large that I am still in the race,”Atihaire said.
Another well-established ANT member ExposedUganda.com talked to for this story told us that Atuhaire, a former aide to Mugisha Muntu, although he’s popular with voters in Kibale, has odds staked against him.
“Frank is not just a wealthy man but he is a close friend to the people who are supposed to be behind George. For example have you seen the party coming out to defend their candidate? I am sure they have his number and they can easily contact him. Besides that, other candidates were given funds to facilitate their campaigns but the struggling lawyer is using his own cash. You know why? There are people in the high echelons of ANT who wanted to see the another candidate carrying the flag bearer only to be disappointed to find that George had more support on the grassroots. He might defeat Frank but right now things are not looking good for him. He has enemies in NRM and even opposition corners.”
STATEMENT ON KIBALE EAST ANT CANDIDATE WITHDRAWAL.
Good afternoon comrades.
We have learnt with shock the alleged withdrawal of the ANT flag bearer one Atuhaire George Wilson from Kibale East County.
Atuhaire Wilson was given the ANT flag after convincing the party leaders that he was the most suitable candidate to hold the flag.
This followed a series of meetings with the ANT leaders in Kamwenge, Vetting committee in Kampala, a background check in the constituency by a Mr Wabyona Jackson who represented the National leadership & subsequent withdrawal of Agaba Nelson who was George’s main Challenger.
The Party endorsed his nomination & George was duly nominated at Kamwenge District headquarters.
George started doing mobilisation a while ago until yesterday 18th Nov 2020. Part of the mobilisation rallies were attended by myself (Mugisha Elias the District Coordinator).
Today 19th Nov 2020, we saw a letter circulating on social media that George had withdrawn from the race hence declaring Hon Tumwebaze as un-opposed.
When we tried to reach out to George, he claimed that he was not aware of the withdrawal, that the said withdrawal letter was forged & said that he is going to court to challenge the declaration of Frank Tumwebaze unopposed
This leaves many questions unanswered, why Kibale East of all constituencies? Whether the Electoral Commission would declare a candidate without a legal basis, what evidence will George present if he withdrew? Why George would waste the party leaders time when he knew he wouldn’t run the campaign, whether it was a pre-determined game in which we the leaders had our minds played on, whether some of our leaders could have known about it etc.. All these remain unanswered, only time can tell.
As we await to see the legal basis under which George is going to challenge this, we sense treachery & machinations on the side of EC, George himself, Hon Tumwebaze Frank or both.
We also recognize that the level of political machinations in Kamwenge have gone to another level with now three candidates out of race under abnormal circumstances, with two incumbents declared un-opposed while many as well were failed to nominate on the nomination day.
So as a district leadership, we have to say this;
- If George withdrew from the race, then he was a party candidate & the party is expected to have endorsed his withdrawal moreso, we the leaders would have been given an opportunity to cure any problem that could have led to his untimely withdrawal.
- As of now we take responsibility as leaders & on behalf of the party wish to apologise for having chosen a candidate, who would later behind our backs withdraw from the race.
- We hope that if George Wilson furnishes us with the said evidence challenging his purpoted withdrawal, we shall take the necessary legal procedures to have this sorted.
- As a party we nominated over 10 candidates in Kamwenge District at different levels & we shall do all in our means to ensure their victory.
- We have called for a crisis meeting of our ANT leaders in Kamwenge & Kibale East to discuss the way forward.
7.We also shall also go on ground to talk with our supporters & to give them hope.
- We shall host the Presidential flag bearer Gen Muntu on 26th Nov 2020 with the main rallies in Biguli & Kamwenge Town Council respectively. Our people should remain with the morale & enthusiasm to the welcome him.
In times of pain like this, it’s a time not to point fingers but rather time to do soul searching & self reflection & try to understand what could have gone wrong. Yes, we could have lost a battle in Kibale East but the war still rages on, we shall fight to the end.