Tuesday, September 8, 2009



By Henry Mutyaba Katamba

Mr Moses Wilson, a hitherto little-known Ugandan based in California, was elected new president of the Ugandan North American Association at the weekend.

Mr Wilson controversially defeated the incumbent, Lt. Frank Musisi, who came second, and the NRM-sponsored Patrick Kabuye who came third in elections marred by allegations of fraud.

Hotel security had to be called in to calm tensions after rival camps accused each other of inflating the voters’ register by over 200 names – claims that were eerily similar to malpractices in the last three elections back home in Uganda.

Some of the officials in charge of the elections were also candidates, undermining the integrity of the result, some voters told this newspaper.
It was third time lucky for Mr Wilson who stood as an independent but who openly speaks of his admiration for President Museveni – but not his regime. In his campaign, Mr Wilson promised to keep UNAA apolitical, warning that the growing influence of Ugandan political parties in the organisation would spell doom for the Diaspora group.

The out-going president, Lt. Musisi, who serves in the US military, had earned the wrath of the Kampala regime for his strong and vocal support of the Buganda Kingdom, which is at loggerheads with the central government in Kampala.

Mr Kabuye’s loss came despite massive support and financing from the NRM which had sent several ministers, MPs and other party officials to Chicago to campaign for the candidate.

Despite losing the top position, the NRM, bolstered by the presence of First Lady Janet Museveni, who is also an MP and a junior minister, swept many of the other positions on offer during the election.

Eminent Ugandans in the Diaspora, who asked not to be quoted in order to speak freely, said the fallout from the disputed elections, if not managed, could lead to a break-up of the two-decade-old association.

Under the UNAA constitution, elections for all board offices are held every two years and all registered delegates aged 18 and above qualify to vote.
UNAA is the pre-eminent organisation for Ugandans living in the Diaspora, especially in North America. The NRM is keen to control the organisation whose influence goes beyond the wealth of its members to the opinions it can shape towards the government.