Rukungiri District has always been an NRM stronghold until 2018 when FDC’s Betty Muzanira made history when she won Winfred Matsiko in a highly contested by election.
Muzanira’s victory may not be for long as celebrated journalist and women rights activist Nabaasa Innocent Kashobera joins the race.
When our reporter talked to Nabaasa, she confidently told us that the people of Rukungiri asked her to contest, the electorates nicknamed her ‘Enyangi y’matsiko’ (Egret of hope) for they believe with her experience and exposure to challenges that affected women and youths she will deliver them to the promised land.
Even when her opponents have a strong financial muscle, Nabaasa isn’t shaken. She believes that the people of Rukungiri look beyond ones financial status but their ability to bring services closer to the people.
During the highly contested 2018 by elections that saw big shots like Bobi wine, Kizza Besigye campaign for Betty Muzanira, President Yoweri Museveni invested over 5 Billion in the district as a way of luring support for Winfred Matsiko but in vain.
However, the locals we talked to expressed their disappointment with Betty Muzanira who focused resources on developing her school in Katerera Rukungiri instead of advocating for increased access to basic services like water, electricity and roads to her electorates.
Majority are swearing to humiliate her if she expresses interest in the seat again. They say, they are yearning for young people for they are known to be hard working and Nabaasa’s profile presents such an opportunity.
Nabaasa says the people of Rukungiri have closely followed her community projects aimed at empowering women , farmers and young people in Rukungiri district.
“Many have been watching my work on TV and radio and believe I am the right candidate to better represent them as the Woman Member of Parliament for 2021-2026. The people of Rukungiri are no longer comfortable with leaders that do less as regards service delivery. They believe it is time for young and hardworking women to take charge of the district’s leadership,” she said.
“As a journalist, I have directly interacted with the real issues that affect the people of Rukungiri, including among others; the limited access to clean water for domestic use for example the people of Omukibirizi cell in Bwanga Nyarushanje sub-county share water with cattle,” Nabaasa added.
This, she said, is unimaginable in this century adding “this is why the people of Rukungiri see hope in me. They nicknamed me ‘Enyangi Y’amatsiko’ (Egret of Hope), I am the leader they have always yearned for because journalists understand the problems of the people.”
Nabaasa believes in inclusive development, and this, she has demonstrated through some of the projects she has introduced to the district that include processing Castor oil and matooke flour, to linking farmers to markets in and out of the district through Rukungiri Umbrella Farmers Sacco (RUFSACCO) where she is both a Co-founder and Board member.
“Once elected into office, top on my agenda will be lobbying for increased access to clean and safe water, a fully equipped and functional government hospital, working with stakeholders to improve the standards of the once standard schools like Makobore High school and Kinyasano Girls High school,” Nabaasa stated.
Other key projections on Nabaasa’s agenda include;
Lobbying to have a University in the district, lobbying to have better roads in all sub-counties, having all these in place means more opportunities for people in my district including employment opportunities and closing the investment gap.
Advocating for well-equipped health centers to reduce maternal mortality rates in the district, equipping women and youths with financial management skills and supporting them to easily access credit.
Advocating for eradication of Sexual and Gender Based Violence, reduced forced and child marriages and lobbying for increased funding to agriculture.
Poverty eradication through increased investment in Agriculture.
“My team and I will prioritize lobbying for increased funding to agriculture. In the first 2 years of office, I will lobby to ensure the district has a matooke processing plant like the one in Bushenyi or better. In a district where 90% of people are farmers, unfortunately majority are into subsistence farming, it’s vital to increase funding in the sector with focus on value addition to involve more farmers into commercial farming,” Nabaasa said.
I will also lobby to have a factory that processes Castor oil in the district; at least 70% of the farmers in Rukungiri grow Castor (Ebigaha), but none is involved in commercial processing of Castor oil which is on high demand both locally and globally.
I have previously supported women in Rukungiri to process this oil and we shall extend this support to all parishes in the district. Agriculture has potential to uplift at least 50% of the people in Rukungiri out of poverty.
“The people of Rukungiri need a young vibrant leader like me, one who will not keep quiet when their rights are being abused, one who is independent minded, and there is no better person than me,” Nabaasa said.
She added, “no one can defeat a leader whose time has come, and I am that leader, one loved and chosen by the people of Rukungiri – Omuntu W’abantu.”