Sad end to Atuhaire’s dream of joining the 10th parliament. What went wrong?
A youthful Brian Batenda (Unstoppable) thought he would be on the ballot paper for the 2016 general elections but as fate would have it, he wasn’t able as the constitutional court soiled the process of sealing youth out of elective politics.
The battle began in late September this year when the 9th parliament amended the Presidential and Parliamentary election laws, increasing the nomination fees for parliamentary candidates from Shs 200,000 to Shs 3 million. The fee for presidential elections rose from Shs 8m to Shs 20m.
The FDC leaning Brian Atuhaire Batenda commonly referred to as Unstoppable from Kihihi Kanungu, narrated how frustrated he was after failing to raise the 3 million shillings required for nomination to contest for the 2016 Kinkiizi West area member of parliament.
A sobbing Atuhaire said it was a very painful decision for him not to get a chance to contest.
“Today I confirm painfully that I will not run as earlier stated. Those who have followed me know how passionate I am about governance and politics in this country. I want to further tell you that further political ambitions have been suspended till further notice,” said Atuhaire in a facebook post.
But Atuhaire’s misfortunes began a little earlier in September when he was disappointed by his political partly, Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) which he accuses of being corrupt and inefficient having failed to organize the primary elections.
“Since I was 16 I made a decision to belong to a political party. That party is the FDC. I have worked tirelessly to make it a better organization.
I have given it my time I have made friends and enemies at times because of my strong belief in its values,” said Atuhaire.
He added; “In September this year I started a campaign that would see me be its parliamentary candidate for Kinkikizi west. I can ably say that the local party organs organized themselves and with much from these organs I was expected to win the FDC flag. I can’t go further without saying that the corrupt commission plucked my forms off and made my opponent unopposed.”
Disgruntled with the party’s position of failing to organize a primary election in which he anticipated victory, Atuhaire would later declare to come as an independent candidate.
On Wednesday November 25, he announced how he was coming as an independent candidate hoping for a brighter future.
“Today I accept that the FDC party organs have failed to handle my case and as such with due respect to the organization I declare I will run as an independent parliamentary candidate. I know then I will face a suspension till further notice. However life is not for those who obey all the rules it’s for those that break the worst rules to make the best ones,” said Atuhaire recently.
As fate would have it, Justice Remmy Kasule of the Constitutional Court made a verdict that the 3 million fees were to be maintained lest they paralyze the entire national electoral process.
In a ruling delivered on Tuesday December 1, the constitutional court dismissed an application by the youths led by Democratic Party (DP) youth leader, Paul Ssembajjwe and Iddi Ouma who through their lawyers, Rwakafuuzi and company advocates challenged the payment of Sh3m as nomination fees for people contesting for the parliamentary seat saying it was is unfair and only aimed at ring fencing the parliament position for the financially able.
However, despite the frustrations, Atuhaire blames the FDC party for practicing papal politics as he vowed to continue his activism.
“To my old time friends and the friends that helped me run for both chairperson youth league which we fairly lost thank you. To those who supported me in the primary parliamentary election thank you. It’s very clear that the past party primaries have exposed the FDC and what it is it’s great that our party soon is whipped into line to give its members equal chance to run for political offices,” Atuhaire said.
The electoral commission has meanwhile closed nominations for the parliamentary elections for 2016 today.
Briangraduated from Makerere University in January 2015. He was a student leader a GRC School of Biological Sciences under Adeke Anna government.