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Inside State House: How Museveni Persuaded Sodo to Quit Mawogola MP Race

Shartsi Musherure (L) remains the leading contender in Mawogola North MP race

On the afternoon of Sunday, January 10, Foreign Affairs Minister Sam Kutesa and his daughter, Shartsi Musherure, drove to State House Entebbe.

They were responding to President Museveni’s call to discuss the political situation in Mawogola North where Musherure was battling Godfrey Aine alias Sodo Kaguta, for the area MP seat.

The meeting was also attended by Sodo and his brothers, Shedruck Nzeire and Michael Niwagira alias Toyota.

Museveni told the meeting that he was busy with presidential campaign meetings but that he was receiving briefs about the unfolding developments in Mawogola.

“It is not right for both of you to be fighting for this seat,” said Museveni as his guests listened attentively.

“Aine (Sodo), I request you to relinquish this seat for Musherure,” Museveni added.

“There is a lot of work to do. We’ll see where you can help.”

Some of the people who attended the meeting confided in ChimpReports that the mood was calm.

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The elections for choosing the NRM flag-bearer for Mawogola North were postponed twice on account of the fact that the candidates’ surrogates and supporters were involved in violent activities that rendered conditions in the Constituency impossible to hold peaceful elections.

The elections were eventually held on September 30, 2020.

Sodo was returned as the winner with a total of 17,347 votes representing 46 percent of the total votes cast while Musherure was runner up with 16,104 votes representing 42.7 percent and Salim Kisekka with 4,274 representing 11.3 percent.

Shartsi Musherure (L) remains the leading contender in Mawogola North MP race

Following declaration of Sodo as winner, on October 2, 2020, Musherure Petitioned the NRM’s Elections Tribunal challenging his election, saying her opponent was involved in electoral malpractices.

NRM decided not to field a candidate in the race.

Sodo sued NRM and his rival Shartsi, saying he won the flag bearer elections but that the party instead declared it did not have a flag-bearer for the Mawogola North NRM Parliamentary seat.

He said this decision was tainted with “illegality, irrationality, procedural impropriety, unfairness and is null and void.”

Kampala High Court later nullified NRM’s decision of not endorsing Sodo but said it could not order NRM on whom to endorse.

Both candidates entered the race as Independents but continued to use NRM symbols, a move that threatened to split the ruling party’s vote ahead of January 14 race.

During the State House meeting, Museveni told Sodo: “Let Musherure continue with Sembabule. We’ll do other things.”

In response, Sodo said, “There is no way I can defy you (Museveni).”

Sodo, however, requested Museveni to meet his campaign team which has been working around the clock to secure Mawogola North Constituency.

“I am not the only one in this race. There are people who have been working hard on my campaign. I request you to engage them,” said Sodo.

“Okay, you go and bring them (campaign team),” Museveni told Sodo.

SECOND STATE HOUSE MEETING

On Tuesday, January 12, Museveni met with Sodo and his 33 campaign agents.

Museveni said he was concerned because “people have been saying that this race is between Sam Kutesa and Museveni. But we are one. There is nothing like Kutesa Vs Museveni.”

The Kutesas didn’t attend the second meeting.

Nevertheless, Museveni said he was engaging Sodo’s campaign team in his capacity as Chairman of NRM party, President of Uganda and also head of the Kaguta family.

“When Mzee Kaguta passed on, I was installed as an heir of the Kaguta family. So, you need to listen to me and consider my concerns,” said Museveni.

“I know you have put in a lot of effort in this campaign. We don’t want NRM to be divided. There is a lot to do. Sodo will do something else,” he added.

“You go and continue working for NRM. We are one,” said the NRM party chairman.

Considering that Sodo had already agreed to quit the race, the meeting ended peacefully.

Efforts to reach Sodo for a comment this Wednesday morning were yet to bear fruit as his known cellphone was still unreachable.

However, Sodo told his supporters that after meeting with President Museveni, “The people of Mawogola said Museveni is my father, I have to listen to him.”

Sodo emphasised: “I am not out of the race. I will listen to my old parent and chairman of the party. I am stepping down for the good of my party, NRM.”

ChimpReports understands NRM’s Central Executive Committee (CEC) late last year embarked on a drive to persuade NRM-leaning independents to step out of the race to avoid splitting the ruling party’s vote in favour of the opposition.

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