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Opinion : Luwero Made a Mistake of Undermining Transformative Leaders

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By : David Serumaga

In the 2021 general election, Luwero District voted strongly against candidates from the National Resistance Movement (NRM), even President Yoweri Museveni. People in Luwero felt that despite their area being considered the ‘Mecca of NRM’, they lacked tangible development and services compared to other districts. This made them envious and they believed President Museveni had overlooked them, to the point where they couldn’t even attain municipality status. They wanted more progress to match their status as the ‘Mecca’, seeing how quickly other areas were developing.

During a speech to a gathering at New Hope Academy Playground in Kasana-Kiwoko, Nakaseke district, in May 2022, President Yoweri Museveni stated that the slow development in Luwero was partly due to the actions of local and parliamentary leaders. He expressed his belief that he had entrusted resources to several leaders in Luwero, but they betrayed his trust, leading to significant losses for the NRM in the 2021 general elections.

While it’s understandable that the people of Luwero had grievances that influenced their voting decisions against the NRM, the situation became more complex when their anger led to a generalization that affected even well-performing leaders like Hon. John Chrysostom Muyingo, the Minister of State for Higher Education, who was representing Bamunanika County. Despite Hon. Muyingo’s track record of effective representation and positive contributions to his constituency, the overall dissatisfaction with the NRM seemed to overshadow individual performance. 

This highlights the broader impact of local sentiments on electoral outcomes, where even capable leaders can face the consequences of broader public discontent. It is evident that the biggest number of those who contested and lost in the 2021 general elections deliberately distanced themselves from their voters. However, leaders like Hon. Muyinga became more stronger and continued running his programs which are aimed at transforming the lives of the people. It calls for thorough thinking whether the person who won in Bamunanika is the leader because you can neither hear him on the floor of Parliament and Committees, making media appearances or seeing him with those who voted.

The absence of such leaders has sparked significant concerns among voters, prompting questions about whether those they elected still genuinely represent their interests or have become disconnected, perhaps enjoying luxuries in Kampala’s expensive hotels instead of addressing local needs. 

This situation has led to a growing sense of disillusionment and skepticism among constituents, who feel neglected and overlooked by their elected representatives. It underscores the importance of accountability and the need for leaders to remain connected with the communities they serve, prioritizing their concerns and welfare above personal comforts or political agendas.

Regrettably, many people in Luwero were swept up by the National Unity Platform wave, hoping for positive change. However, it appears that things have not improved and, if anything, worsened since then.

Despite this, Hon. Muyingo remains a steadfast and transformative leader, dedicated to his constituents even when he’s not the current Member of Parliament. He tirelessly pursues his vision of turning Bamunanika County into a model constituency through various development projects.

Hon. Muyingo’s commitment is evident in initiatives like the Bamunanika Education Found, through which he continues to educate and support hundreds of children. Additionally, his efforts to empower Bamunanika as a food hub are bearing fruit, as he provides farmers with seeds and pesticides while also caring for the elderly. Hon. Muyingo’s unwavering dedication serves as an example of true leadership and community service, demonstrating that genuine commitment to constituents transcends political office.

After the recent elections in Luwero, many of us feel really sorry and disappointed. Even though we voted a lot for the National Unity Platform (NUP), things didn’t turn out how we hoped. We feel like our leaders have let us down because they seem to care more about themselves than about us. 

We thought the new leaders would make things better, but now we’re not so sure. It seems like they’re not really thinking about what’s best for us. This has made us think more about who we vote for and what we expect from our leaders.

As we look ahead, we know we need to learn from this experience. We wanted things to change when we voted for NUP, but change is more than just choosing new leaders. It’s about everyone working together and making sure our leaders really listen to us and care about our needs.

We also need to appreciate leaders who have shown they care about us, even if they weren’t voted in this time. Maybe we were angry when we voted them out before, but now we see that they were doing some good things for us. A majority of the people in Luwero are now reading the book of Lamentations, regretting why they never trusted leaders like Hon. Muyingo. 

In the end, what happened in Luwero reminds us that politics is tricky. But even though we’re disappointed, we can use this experience to make things better. If we all work together and hold our leaders accountable, we can build a brighter future for Luwero.

The writer was born and raised in Luwero.

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