afrol News, 15 March - In the first-ever significant opposition election victory, Erias Lukwago was declared winner of the polls in Kampala, the capital of Uganda. But the powers of the mayor's office have been limited.
The National Resistance Movement (NRM), President Yoweri Museveni's long-time ruling party, had presented Peter Sematimba as its candidate to the mayor's office in Kampala. But Mr Sematimba however only got half the votes that opposition candidate Lukwago got.
Accoding to the Ugandan government, Mr Lukwago polled 229,325 votes, beating five other candidates. Mr Sematimba of the NRM garnered only 119,000 votes in the 14 March poll.
At a Kampala press conference, mayor-elect Lukwago was thrilled about the unexpected victory - unexpected because the Ugandan opposition has never been let to win any significant elections. Mr Lukwago said he was proud to have "defeated President Museveni and the NRM rigging machinery because it has been a battle between me and the state and not my opponents."
Mr Lukwago, a local lawyer and MP, did not directly represent any Ugandan opposition party. He however had an outspoken but indirect support of the main opposition Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) party, where he had also drawn most of his campaign managers and supporters.
Opposition MPs in the Ugandan parliament therefore today congratulated Mr Lukwago on his important victory in the mayoral elections.
However, Mr Lukwago will take on powers in Kampala as the first mayor after last year's Kampala Capital City Act came into force. The new legislation strongly limits the powers of an elected mayor, making the position mostly ceremonial.
Instead, the Act provides, a city administrator appointed directly by President Museveni will have most powers when it comes to the daily administration of Kampala city. As the power sharing between the administrator and the elected mayor has not been tested in practical terms, many now expect a power struggle to erupt in the Ugandan capital.
Mr Lukwago today urged President Museveni not to appoint defeated NRM candidate Sematimba, the outgoing NRM mayor o any other mainly political figure to the Kampala administrator post.
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