Mayor Erias Lukwago’s Katonga Looks Broken- Nathan Kikku Mubiru

Erias Lukwago raised both of his hands, fronting up and acknowledging the poor turn up and participation in his grassroots elections. He briefly clapped and then placed his hands behind his back and stared ahead.

Looking back at him were the section of Katonga followers who had remained in the tent beyond the “National council sitting” after Lukwago’s acknowledgement of defeat to Najjanankumbi and asking members to consider forming a new party. What he saw was a mixture of emotions. Some offered support, others gesticulated to show their frustration and anger.

Lukwago eventually began the lonely walk from the far side of the ground to his official vehicle. He looked like a man deep in thought, hurting. It is a sight that felt unthinkable in November when he stood on an open-top vehicle and saluted those supporters during his welcome parade at the head quarters. He had unified FDC, creating a new identity and belief in Buganda.

So much has changed again. This looks and feels like a different group and that is not a good thing. It is an outfit devoid of confidence and lacking a clear identity. The enjoyment of listening and following them closely has seeped away. The results of the development Lukwago has talked about all through are becoming trickier to spot.

Following the defection to Katonga this felt like a turning point for supporters. The performance did not meet their minimum expectations. NUP offered a chance to right the wrongs and bounce back.

Lukwago spoke in the build-up about unity being a must. The two years before the national election, starting with Dokoro by election, felt crucial and even with several months to go, the trip to northern Uganda felt make or break.

They broke, and may well be broken. It has been a never-ending nightmare that keeps finding new ways to cause despair.

It was Biriggwa’s turn. There have been murmurings of discontent about the 71-year-old’s theatrics all long but he had yet to be the guilty party for a calamity when seconding the motion. This time, Wasswa was not so lucky.

The tone had been set within a few days to the sitting when Ssemujju Nganda claimed to be planning to leave the party in May 2025. It took an awkward hearing, Kaija tried to spin it, failed and it demoralised the supporters.

Lukwago felt the proposal defined the sitting and that is understandable.

There is a growing disconnect between this set of leaders and the supporters. The cult heroes of yesteryears— including Munyagwa never returned.

Lukwago will refuse to wave the flag, but it is another moment of trying to pick his followers up after another significant knock.


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