As the 2016 general elections draw closer battle lines are being drawn and in Entebbe the rift between Mayor Vincent Kayanja Depaul and his erstwhile friend turned foe Kawuma Muhammad seems not to end. The two former friends have been at loggerheads right from the time Kayanja assumed office as Mayor after trouncing NRM’s Stephen Kabuye in the 2011 elections who had served for close to 18 years. Their rift has now split the Democratic Party Leadership in Entebbe into two groups with Kawuma leading the rival group that also has current Entebbe Municipality LCV Councilor Mukasa Sadik and aspiring 2016 Member of Parliament Walusimbi Abubaker. They have since formed the Real Democrats (RD) pressure group to fight what they termed as Kayanja’s bad leadership.
Kawuma together with Sadik and Walusimbi have embarked on campaigns to ensure that Kayanja is defeated in next year’s general elections are fronting NRM’s Joseph Ssesanga whom they say is much better than Kayanja because he has the experience and potential for leadership. They accuse Kayanja of creating ‘Kayayana’ a notorious tax enforcement and collection team that is harassing and extorting money from the road side vendors.
The trio who also accuse Kayanja of being a stumbling block to the development of Entebbe claim that he is conspiring with his technical staff at the municipal council to sell off Kiwafu play ground land to Tycoon Karim Hirji the owner of Imperial Group of Hotels. They claim that Karim is disguising himself under the name of planning to construct a police station but his main interest is the Kiwafu Play Ground land. They also accuse Kayanja of selling off part of Nakiwogo land where calvary chapel is situated. Other pieces of land that they accuse Kayanja of selling include Katabi land where the plantation forestry is located and some pieces of land in Kigungu where the landing site is located.
They claim that Kayanja used his powers as Mayor to give away the Nakiwogo land where Calvary chapel is situated adding that they issued out a fake land title and that he owns several schools in Mbale. Unlike Kayanja whom they say has no investments in Entebbe Ssesanga has investments in Entebbe and is the right person according to them to be mayor because he has a lot to lose. They add that Kayanja has personalized Democratic Party in Entebbe and has ring fenced his position, LCIII Division A and B positions currently occupied by respective chairmen David Wasswa Kasule and Eng. Anthony Seguja. They have also labeled Kayanja as selfish who doesn’t know how to lobby.
Speaking at the Baraza forum that was held on Thursday last week at the Kiwafu Play Ground Kawuma vowed to ensure that Kayanja isn’t returned to office.
“I’m serving my last term as your Member of Parliament, I’ll not seek any elective post in next year’s general elections but I’ll participate actively in the election process. I’ve been in politics since 1998 serving in various capacities and I’ll use my experience to ensure that Kayanja and his group aren’t elected” Kawuma said. He also vowed to unleash more information on all municipal council officers who are corrupt.
A highly placed source who once worked as Kawuma’s campaign agent but later abandoned him and crossed to Kayanja’s camp accused Kawuma of being undevelopmental.
“I worked as Kawuma’s campaign agent for a long time but I later abandoned him after realizing that he was using me to play his dirty politics” the source revealed. The source also revealed that Kawuma and Kayanja have personal grudges.
“Kawuma wanted to exercise control on Kayanja which he refused and this angered Kawuma” the source disclosed.
The source also disclosed that Kawuma wanted to be Mayor of Entebbe Municipality in 2016 but his plans fell apart after he discovered that the residents were bitter with him.
“Kayanja’s victory in 2011 didn’t go down well with Kawuma. He had hoped that Kayanja would lose to Kabuye and then in 2016 he would run for the post after serving in parliament” the source stated. The source criticized Kawuma for violating Democratic Party principles.
“In 2001 Kawuma accused Ssesanga and Kabuye of selling municipal council land and now today he is hobnobbing with Ssesanga. Some of the land includes plots along lido beach, Nakiwogo Banga on lake shores where pal beach is located, council managed to restore some plots that had been sold off in the European cemetery while the plot where seven seasons hotel is located was dubiously sold off” the source stressed.
The source also added that Kawuma was invited by top DP officials at the party headquarters to resolve the differences he has with Kayanja, he kept dodging them until when they gave up.
“It is in Kayanja’s administration that all municipal council land has been surveyed including Nakiwogo market, Kigungu market and Kiwafu play ground land. This should have been done in Kabuye’s administration” the source revealed.
Commenting on Kayayana tax enforcement team the source revealed that the group was disbanded by municipal council and it is no longer in existence. According to the source the street and food vendors have formed another association which is operating well.
On the controversial Kiwafu Play Ground Land the source indicated that Kayanja and Municipal council have not sold the land. “We located a small area besides the play ground for Karim to construct the police station out of his corporate social responsibility. Let Kawuma present evidence that the land has been sold” the source stated.
Ssesanga Speaks Out.
In an interview with entebbenews Ssesanga indicated that he isn’t bothered about the differences between Kayanja and Kawuma. “Some members in the Democratic Party are supporting me because of my past experience and are proud of my past achievements. I don’t know about the differences between Kawuma and Kayanja” Ssesanga said.
Commenting on the contentious Kiwafu Play Ground land Ssesanga said that there could be a ploy to shift the kitoro market to the play ground. “We cannot trust Kayanja, he didn’t consult us” he said. He also rubbished claims that he and Kabuye sold off and failed to survey all municipal council land.
“Let all those who claim that we sold off municipal council land to bring evidence. They (Kayanja’s administration) used our proposal to procure vehicles including tractors and garbage vehicles that they are using now” he stated.
“We surveyed community centre land, Leisure Park while the taxi park we were in the process when we lost the 2011 election” he stressed.
Asked why in his tenure as LCIII Chairman Division B garbage was often littered on the streets, he said that they had old vehicles which often frustrated their efforts and most times they had to hire vehicles from Kampala City Council now Kampala Capital City Authority to collect garbage.