The Deputy Attorney General Jackson Kafuuzi who was recently re-elected as NRM flag bearer for Kyaka South in the recently concluded NRM primary elections, has said that losses of many NRM incumbents was not because of the 2017 Constitution amendment of Article 102 (b) of the Constitution amidst strong resistance from the opposition Members of the House.
The amendment lifted the presidential age cap from 75 which made incumbent President Museveni eligible for re-election in the 2021 general elections.
Raphael Magyezi, the mover of the motion who later was appointed Minister for Local Government has himself not contested again on the post of Igara West constituency.
Kafuuzi said the electorate did not consider the Constitution amendment but rather politicians regular appearance in the constituency to be a form of performance.
“The electorate would hardly begrudge a politician who achieves nothing for them in terms of lobbying as long as he is regularly with them in their weddings, burials and other activities including, eating and drinking with them,” said Kafuuzi.
He however added that since the outbreak of COVID-19, there was a drastic scale down on this form of interaction and in most cases, politicians hardly went to their constituencies in an attempt abide by Government’s guidelines against the spread of the pandemic.
“Unfortunately, our opponents never imagined themselves to be within the ambits of the said Regulations and continued canvassing for support on the ground.”
The district COVID-19 Taskforces, he said, lacked clear terms of reference and could hardly stop any politician from moving and campaigning.
“Many incumbents were dubbed absentees at burials, weddings and other social events which have become a measure of a politician’s performance. It is my considered view that COVID-19 played a big role in the fall of many of our colleagues,” said Kafuuzi.
Although, many NRM members and Civil Society Organisations criticized the lining up method used in the NRM primaries, Kafuuzi advocated for it terming it as a measure of electoral transparency.
Kafuuzi also said expected that enough constables would be deployed to manage the voting exercise and ensure clean and peaceful elections.
“This was hardly done and to make matters worse, in a number of areas, it is emerging that RDCs and DPCs handled deployments in a manner only intended to help those candidates close to them as opposed to others and as a result, politicians who felt disappointed with the deployments, started fighting for their political lives which led to violence. It had not come to my mind that electoral officials could be bought off in an attempt to ‘doctor’ the results in favor of the ‘pay master,’ a fact that appears to have been so common in a number of places that in some villages, tens of thousands of voters turned up.”
Kafuuzi believes the exercise was not as acrimonious as many have said.