Joyce Ssebugwawo is the new state minister for Information Communication Technology and National Guidance.
Joyce Ssebugwawo joins government from opposition Forum for Democratic Change FDC after losing the Lubaga mayoral seat.
She is one of several FDC party bigwigs that have accepted President Yoweri Museveni’s appointments in the recent years. Her appointment has called for a crisis meeting at the party headquarters at Najjanankumbi in Kampala.
However, FDC released a brief statement on social media paving way for her to join government.
The party tweeted: “On Owek. Ssebugwawo’s appt. to NRM regime’s cabinet. In FDC, every member has a right to exercise constitutional rights. Every member is free to leave the party as we hold no one hostage, however every political choice has consequences. We remain a forum for democratic change.”
Joyce Ssebugwawo appeared to have collapsed and opposition was not going to be the breeding ground for her to reawaken her journey. FDC lost ground in their strongest hold in the city and some urban settings.
National Unity Platform NUP was not going to offer her the platform to get herself off the ground. She is in her evening years and those around him like Dr. Kizza Besigye, Dr. Sulaiman Kiggundu, Kalega Njuba had retired or died.
The only option for her was to take the line those who had the same political inclination, chose. Betty Kamya, Beatrice Anwar and Anita Among left to join National Resistance Army NRM after their chapter with the FDC closed.
Kato Lubwama v Habib Buwembo
Joyce Ssebugwawo problems started at the campaign stage. She drag her feet into the dirty Lubaga South parliamentary elections. Kato Lubwama, the incumbent MP once again took on his rival Habib Buwembo.
Ssebugwawo chose her friend Kato Lubwama ahead of party candidate Buwembo. She went ahead to offer him a platform at the launch of her campaigns to speak to her supporters. Buwembo who battled Lubwama over his academic credentials, was turned down by her people.
This didn’t go down well with the supporters of Lubwama’s rival and FDC candidate for Rubaga South parliamentary seat. Her actions divided the FDC leadership in the division and headquarters beyond repair.
Defeat by NUP candidate
Ssebugwawo’s defeated in the recent Lubaga Division Mayoral elections put her on the wrong foot with elements in her party FDC.
Joyce Ssebugwawo lost to National Unity Platform candidate, Zacchy Mberaze who collected garnered 37,652 votes and got 25,718 with a difference of 11,934 votes.
Having locked horns with her party people, the defeat was too much for her to take in. Added to that, she had pleaded in vain with opposition NUP to keep their candidate away from the race.
It was inevitable she was waiting for the yellow bus to take charge of her political career.
NUP’s emergence especially taking care of the FDC map in the central region, was a blow to her. This is an area FDC has had a playing field during Dr. Besigye’s reign.
The NUP wave did not only sweep her but also swept the entire FDC in the central region save for the likes of Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda and Erias Lukwago.
Dr. Besigye exit
Dr. Besigye’s move away from active politics left a huge vacuum at Najjanankumbi. His departure left a leadership gap at one of the biggest opposition parties in the country. His departure saw Mugisha Muntu and his group that had the likes of Winnie Kizza, Alice Alaso start their own path. It also saw the likes of Kasiano Wadri, Odonga Otto, Abdu Katuntu become passive members of the party.
Ssebugwawo was a close ally of Dr. Besigye. Despite hanging in there even after the party founder’s departure, she was simply making numbers. It was a question of time when she would bring down the curtain on political career in the opposition.
The decision to work with the President and later join NRM must have been the easiest for her when the they came calling.
Award winning journalist and writer who has worked as a stringer for a couple of acclaimed South Africa based German journalists, covered 3 Ugandan elections, 2008 Kenya election crisis, with interests in business and sports reporting.