Maureen Kyalya Waluube is not only the the lonely female presidential candidate in Uganda’s current presidential race, but she is also the first ever Musoga to contest the presidency of the country since independence.
However, despite her history-setting bid, Maureen can not come to terms with the fact that she has largely been shunned by her own brothers and sisters.
Indeed other Basoga nationalists are finding it rather surprising that her candidacy has failed to inspire fellow Basoga to support her presidential bid.
Accompanied by a team of security personnel given to her by the Electoral Commission, two commuter taxis full of her relatives and friends, Kyalya arrived at Busoga Square aboard an old Pajero to address her first rally. Kyalya was shocked to find few people who included Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) and Democratic Party supporters waiting for her.
41 year old Kyalya did not hide her disappointment when she vented her anger at being shunned by her own.
Speaking from her open-roof Pajero, a disgruntled Kyalya wondered how the Basoga could shun her rally yet she was the only candidate from Busoga and the rest of the eastern region.
“I’m the only candidate from Busoga, I am the only candidate for Bugisu, Teso and the whole of northern Uganda, why can’t you support your own,” Kyalya complained before encouraging the Basoga to learn to love their own if the region is to match with the rest of Uganda in development.
“Whenever I am on TV, the only news articles from Busoga rotate around jiggers, I believe time is now for Busoga to shine by electing your own,” Kyalya said.
At Namboole this week, Kyalya let out some secret as to why she dressed the way she did. “I dressed in black to the nomination venue for a reason because our color as Africans is black.”
A section of Basoga including FDC’s Meddy Mbentyo welcomed Kyalya’s candidature as the first Musoga to stand for President. Mbentyo said many Basoga have made history in the past citing Ziraba Muzaale who was the first representative for eastern and northern region in the Legco that sat in London and agreed on a power-sharing arrangement for Uganda before independence.
Mathias Ngobi, also entered history books as the first Minister for the Co-operatives in Uganda.
Why Basoga deserted her
But perhaps her lack of support stems from her radical ideas. For example, Kyalya suggested that Uganda’s National Anthem should be abolished.
Kyalya told the few people who turned up to listen to her that when she becomes President of Uganda, she will implore Parliament to abolish the Ugandan National anthem and substitute it with the African Anthem because the message in the Ugandan Anthem seem not to be applicable in the present diversified Uganda.
Kyalya, known for her charisma and outspoken character, picked a few quarrels with a number of people while she was presidential adviser on poverty in Busoga.
She often clashed with local council leaders when she inquired about some projects. She also entangled herself in cultural wrangles of Busoga, siding with Prince Edward Columbus Wambuzi. In 2014, Kyalya survived a mob that wanted to lynch her as she was speaking on Victoria FM. She had accused President Yoweri Museveni and Speaker Rebecca Kadaga, herself a kingmaker in Busoga politics, of interfering in the cultural affairs of Busoga.
Some people in Busoga also have bad memories of Kyalya’s inconsistent political record. Having lost to NRM’s Agnes Nabirye in 2011 elections for the Jinja Woman MP race, Kyalya who had campaigned on the FDC ticket, surprised many when she crossed to NRM and was appointed presidential advisor.
Some of her original supporters, who live in a predominantly FDC stronghold have never forgiven her for betraying them.
When Kyalya was frustrated by State House comptroller Lucy Nakyobe by not facilitating her office, Kyalya decided to join her hubby in the UK where she has been living until recently when she came back to look for signature for her presidential nominations.
According to some political pundits, Kyalya ceased being their own since she now spends most of her time in the UK than in Uganda hence being of little influence to the development of Busoga.
Other Basoga also accuse Kyalya of failing to alleviate poverty as her office required. Some Basoga who talked to The Sunrise say she defected to the ruling NRM promising to alleviate poverty in Busoga but since then Busoga has remained the headquarter of poverty in Uganda.