High-ranking members of the National Unity Platform (NUP) are reportedly uniting to support Johnson Muyanja Ssenyonga, former Buganda Parliamentary Caucus Chairperson, as their candidate in the upcoming 2026 general elections, putting the current Mukono Municipality legislator, Betty Nambooze Bakireke, in a challenging position.
According to well-placed sources within the NUP, discreet meetings have been convened at the Rider Hotel in Seeta, Mukono Municipality, and other undisclosed locations, aimed at devising strategies to unseat Nambooze in the forthcoming elections.
TheGrapevine has learned that Robert Peter Kabanda, the Mukono Municipality NUP Chairperson, presided over these meetings, attended by several councilors. During these gatherings, a consensus was reached to vigorously support Ssenyonga’s candidacy against Nambooze.
Sources reveal that Kabanda’s motivation for this move is rooted in a perceived grudge against Nambooze. He accuses her of influencing his electoral defeat when both were members of the Democratic Party (DP). At that time, Nambooze held significant sway as a kingmaker in Mukono.
Insiders also claim that Ssenyonga has expressed his willingness to support the cause by contributing UGX 20 million for political mobilization efforts.
Out of this sum, Kabanda’s faction discreetly provided UGX 10 million to individuals believed to be closely associated with Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu (Bobi Wine), the NUP principal, with the aim of garnering support from the party’s top leadership.
Sources further divulged that Ssenyonga has been advised that while winning back the Mukono North constituency seat from DP’s Fred Kayonda, who defeated him in the 2021 parliamentary election, may prove challenging, defeating Nambooze in Mukono Municipality should be a more straightforward task.
They argue that Ssenyonga remains popular in Mukono Municipality due to his 20-year tenure as mayor, during which he spearheaded several tangible development projects.
In contrast, they claim that Nambooze, despite her articulate appearances on political talk shows, has failed to deliver tangible progress in Mukono.
Ssenyonga is reportedly contemplating declaring his switch from the NRM to the NUP in 2025 when the political climate is conducive. He seeks assurances from Kabanda’s team that this transition will secure him an NUP ticket.
When questioned about his intentions, Ssenyonga remained non-committal about standing against Nambooze, stating that “in politics, anything can happen.” He maintained that he is the NRM flag bearer for Mukono South until 2026.
Nambooze, a long-time friend of Ssenyonga, finds herself embroiled in various political conflicts with certain NUP party members who accuse her of campaigning for the Leader of Opposition in Parliament (LOP), Mathias Mpuuga Nsamba, believing that the LOP role suits her.
In Mukono, besides Kabanda, other NUP politicians like Rev. Peter Bakaluba Mukasa, Mukono District Chairperson, have expressed their commitment to financing Nambooze’s political downfall, alleging that she has opposed his leadership through malicious means.
Nambooze’s detractors have begun spreading rumors among her constituents, suggesting that she has close ties to President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, citing instances where Parliament facilitated her overseas medical treatment and substantial sums were spent on her and her spouse.
Additionally, they claim that Nambooze is on the verge of retiring in the United States of America, citing her recent property acquisition there.
Efforts to obtain a comment from Nambooze were unsuccessful as she did not respond to our phone calls.