UNAA Decides: Monday Atigo or Daniel Kawuma? Your Choice!

User Rating: 0 / 5

Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive
 
Pin It

In Summary: “No Change” or “Change?” You choose. It’s either Atigo or Kawuma. The choice is yours to make! Voting to elect a new executive for UNAA started on Friday September 01, 2017 by Ugandans living in the Diaspora across continental North America. The executive positions contested for include the president, vice president, secretary, treasurer, and council representatives. The race for the president, which has drawn the stiffest competition, is between incumbent Monday Atigo and former Council Member Dr. Daniel Kawuma. Both online and on site voting was guaranteed to all UNAA members in good standing. Online voting got underway on Friday, September 01, 2017 at 9:00 AM and will close tomorrow Sunday, September 3, 2017 at 4:00PM. On-site voting starts on Sunday at 9:00 AM and close on the same day at 4:00 PM. Results will be announced on Sunday September 03 during the banquet at the 29th UNAA convention now underway at the Intercontinental Hotel in Miami, Florida.

However, up until now, two days after the election got underway; the UNAA/EC has not released the voters’ register to the public, on the UNAA Web site. Instead, the UNAA/EC has kept the voters’ register as a jealously kept secret—some kind of classified information—a sacred cow only privy to the executive and the commission.  Little wonder that one of the presidential candidates has already cried foul. That notwithstanding, by all accounts, this is an historic election in the nearly three decades of UNAA’s existence. First, the use of social media in the campaign has been unprecedented. The candidates and their supporters have doubled-up their hyper presence on all major platforms bombarding prospective voters with their campaign messages. While the two presidential candidates have conducted themselves with dignity, some of their overzealous stand-ins, on a few forums, went native. Second, this is the first time in UNAA’s history that online voting is taking place. If the UNAA/EC  pulls this one off without disenfranchising eligible voters, then the organization will be on its way to becoming a bonafide citizen in the digital world where  it resides but still remains an ‘undocumented’ digital immigrant.

Third, should the incumbent UNAA President Monday Atigo win; it will be the first time in nearly 20 years that a sitting president has won a second term.   Fourth, should Dr. Kawuma win, it will be the first time in UNAA history that a former leader of a breakaway faction makes a U-turn, returns to the fold of UNAA (akin to the biblical prodigal son), is embraced, campaigns, and wins the election. Fifth and perhaps more importantly, as the process of voting, counting of votes, and declaration of   election result unfolds, the UNAA-EC is obviously on the spot and on notice. This election is a litmus test for the UNAA/EC and the individual commissioners to either uphold or taint their respective integrity.  UNAA members and all observers expect a credible election process devoid of any manipulation. Should the polls go smoothly; the voting and counting of votes meet the acceptable standards, the UNAA/EC will have passed the integrity test and bask in glowing tribute. However, should the entire process fail to meet the agreeable standards, the UNAA/EC, just as its predecessor, will be held responsible for any aftermath. The UNAA/EC would have cast a vote of no confidence in its own relevance. Like its predecessor, the UNAA/EC would have learned nothing and forgotten nothing.  And, to the impasse of 2013, UNAA will then rapidly return.  So, as Samuel Muwanguzi writes, let’s play fair. Let the best candidate win.

Graphic: (The collage of incumbent UNAA president Monday Atigo and his challenger Dr. Daniel Kawuma). Insert the link to the Uganda National Anthem

Dallas, Texas—Voting is underway across continental North America in elections for various leaders of the Uganda North American Association (UNAA). Online voting started on Friday September 01, 2017 to elect a new executive including the president, vice president, secretary, treasurer, and council representatives to lead the largest and oldest Diaspora organization in North America for the next two years.   UNAA holds elections for office bearers every 2 years.  The race for the president, which has drawn the stiffest competition, is between the incumbent Monday Atigo and former Council Member Dr. Daniel Kawuma.

UNAA members in good standing; those whose membership was up-to date started casting their votes to either endorse the tested leadership of incumbent Monday Atigo or debunk him and embrace the fresh ideas of the reformist and ebullient Daniel Kawuma, a former council member.

Graphic: (The collage of incumbent UNAA president Monday Atigo and his challenger Dr. Daniel Kawuma). Insert the link to the Uganda National Anthem

The UNAA-Electoral Commission (UNAA/EC) issued guidelines to all registered voters to follow after deciding whether they wished to vote online or on-site.   Online voting got underway on Friday, September 01, 2017 at 9:00 AM and will close on Sunday, September 3, 2017 at 4:00PM.  Both online and on site voting was guaranteed to all UNAA members in good standing.

On-site voting starts tomorrow Sunday, September 3, 2017, at 9:00 AM and close on the same day at 4:00PM. The UNAA election results will be announced on Sunday, September 3, 2017 during a banquet at the end of the 29th Annual UNAA Convention and Trade Expo, now underway at the Intercontinental Hotel in Miami, Florida. The UNAA convention opened this Friday September 1st and will climax on Sunday 3rd, 2017.

Graphic: Incumbent UNAA President Monday Atigo

“No Change” or “Change?” You choose.  It’s either Atigo or Kawuma. The choice is yours to make! Monday Atigo, who has been Ugandan North American Association (UNAA) President for the last two years (2015-2017), is contesting for a second term as president of the association. Atigo, 35, a resident of Dallas, Texas, has in the past told the media in Uganda that he has achieved a lot in his first term in office and wants to do more for the betterment of the association.

Graphic: Dr. Daniel Kawuma running for president

Dr. Daniel Kawuma, 36, a former UNAA Council Member and a resident of Maryland,  was  one of the leaders of the breakaway faction , the UNAA Causes which protested the controversial inclusion of Rahim Kabagambe in the council in 2013 after the then Board of Trustees had ruled that he had been irregularly nominated and elected.  Dr. Busuulwa Kawuma, a pharmacist by profession, has since made a U-turn and returned to UNAA as the ‘biblical prodigal son’ to “correct” the wrongs that have dogged the nearly three decade Diaspora organization.

Graphic: Mr. Franco Mukhwana Wantsala (UNAA/EC Chair)

https://unaa.memberclicks.net/electoral-commission

However, up until now, a day after the election got underway, the UNAA/EC has not released the voters’ register to the public, on the UNAA Web site, something that should have been done at least a week to the election. Instead, the UNAA/EC has kept the voters’ register as a jealously kept secret—some kind of classified information—a sacred cow only privy to the executive and the commission.  Little wonder that one of the presidential candidates has already cried foul. Dr. Daniel Kawuma claimed in a video message widely circulated on Wednesday this week that the voters’ register had been compromised. It is not clear whether the UNAA/EC and the BOT managed to clean the register of the hundreds of ghost voters that had been allegedly smuggled on the list. That notwithstanding, by all accounts, this is an historic election in the nearly three decades of UNAA’s existence.

First, the use of social media in the campaign has been unprecedented. The candidates and their supporters have doubled-up their hyper presence on all major platforms bombarding prospective voters with their campaign messages. The hotly-contested UNAA presidential election has, as expected, generated hyper excitement among supporters of the two presidential candidates; pitching and plunging for votes to secure victory in the most astounding manner. In some cases, the passion exuded by a few proxies even threatened to outmatch evangelical zeal.  While the two presidential candidates have conducted themselves with dignity, some of their stand-ins, on a few forums, went really native. In future, candidates may wish to consider infusing bits of netiquette into their overzealous proxies. Just a thought!

Graphic: Incumbent Monday Atigo

Second, this is the first time in UNAA’s history that online voting is taking place. If the UNAA/EC  pulls this one off without disenfranchising eligible voters, then the organization will be on its way to becoming a bonafide citizen in the digital world where  it resides but still remains an ‘undocumented’ digital immigrant.  Third, should the incumbent UNAA President Monday Atigo win; it will be the first time in nearly 20 years that a sitting president has won a second term. The last time an incumbent won a second term was in 1997 when Rev. Cannon Benjamin Lubega-Musoke won a second term that ended in 1999.  He was the second UNAA president after Eng. David Mureeba, the first UNAA president, who also led the organization for two terms from 1988-1995. Eng. Mureeba was re-elected in 1993 and was the first UNAA president to get a second term.

Graphic: Dr. Daniel Kawuma

Fourth, should Dr. Kawuma win, it will be the first time in UNAA history that a former leader of a breakaway faction makes a U-turn, returns to the fold of UNAA (akin to the biblical prodigal son), is embraced, campaigns, and wins the election to unseat the incumbent. Fifth and perhaps more importantly, as the process of voting, counting of votes, and declaration of   election result unfolds, the UNAA-EC is obviously on the spot and on notice. This election is a litmus test for the UNAA/EC and the individual commissioners to either uphold or taint their respective integrity. UNAA members and all observers expect a credible election process devoid of any manipulation. Should the polls go smoothly; the voting and counting of votes meet the acceptable standards, the UNAA/EC will have passed the integrity test and bask in glowing tribute.

Graphic: Dr. Joseph Buwembo, Chair of the UNAA/BOT

(Either use the attached photo or search and find one from the link below)

http://www.unaa.org/

Equally, the UNAA Board of Trustees (BoT) and the Executive will have redeemed themselves and savor in the kudos. However, should the entire process fail to meet the agreeable standards, the UNAA/EC, just as its predecessor, will be held responsible for any aftermath. The UNAA/EC would have cast a vote of no confidence in its own relevance. Like its predecessor, the UNAA/EC would have learned nothing and forgotten nothing.  And, to the impasse of 2013, UNAA will then rapidly return.  So, let’s play fair. Let the best candidate win.

Graphic: Dr. Peter Simbi, UNAA/EC secretary

https://unaa.memberclicks.net/electoral-commission

Beyond the hyped-up rhetoric on either side of the presidential candidates, on the leadership front, the big question Mr. Monday Atigo must negotiate is: Are UNAA members better off or worse off today than they were in 2015? Despite the increased annual financial support to UNAA by the government of Uganda from $20,000 to the controversial $50,0000 since 2015 when he was elected 2 years ago, many UNAA members still say they are  not feeling the relevance of the association and the impact of the much touted cash donation in their lives. The high registration fees for the annual UNAA conventions have remained as unrealistic as they are obscene. The structure of the registration fees, the organization and attendance of the annual UNAA conventions has not changed. It is either the same old format or worse. The statusquo has, instead, exposed a lack of imagination and creativity of Monday Atigo’s 2-year old administration.

Graphic: UNAA Secretary Peter Mukunya in toe with his boss Atigo

A split in his executive has not helped matters either. While the UNAA president Monday Atigo and the secretary Peter Mukunya are pitching from one corner, his youthful vice president John Semanda and treasurer Arthur Nantamu are singing from a different script. The sidelined vice president John Semanda and treasurer Arthur Nantamu, the assumed spoilers in the alleged cash-fleecing bonanza have now thrown in their lot with Atigo’s challenger, Daniel Kawuma.

Graphic: UNAA Vice President John Semanda sidelined

 Clearly, it is a divided house that is standing on shaky ground.  The questionable distribution of the government-donated $50,000 to community organizations across  the United States and the purchase and donation of used medical supplies to some facilities in Uganda have not sufficiently address the rising discontent within some sections of UNAA membership.  To this, add the widely held view that Monday Atigo is so cozy with the regime in Kampala and therefore, rightly or wrongly consider Atigo as an NRM-sponsored candidate whose campaign is funded by President Museveni’s government.

Graphic: Incumbent UNAA President Monday Atigo

While this may be an advantage in terms of oiling his campaign machine, in a largely leaning Diaspora community in the USA, it is not a label one would wish to be associated with going into a tightly-contested UNAA election. Mr. Monday Atigo’s administration has also been blamed of gross financial mismanagement and incompetence. While this allegation is part of the inherent burden of incumbency that has come to haunt him, his support base appears to hold firm.  There have also been some damning audial recordings circulating on social media in which some people claim to have paid their convention registration fees to Mr. Atigo instead of depositing the money in the UNAA-operated account in Post Bank (U). While the veracity of these allegations has not been verified, they have served to stalk the flames of financial impropriety and incompetence associated with Mr. Atigo’s leadership.

Graphic: UNAA Treasurer Arthur Nantamu, a spoiler?

In turn, rather than focusing on organizing the 29th UNAA convention in Miami in a professional manner, the allegations pushed Atigo’s administration into fire-fighting mode.  Atigo has been on a jet-setting circuit and visited most of the states and cities with high concentrations of Ugandans explaining what his administration has done for UNAA. He has also released several videos explaining and justifying the questionable expenditures.   The EADM reached out to Mr. Monday Atigo and sought his responses to the above issues but he failed to respond as he had promised on several occasions.

Graphic: Incumbent Monday Atigo

Despite several reminders through e-mails, text messages, and phone calls, Mr. Monday Atigo still never responded. That said, Mr. Monday Atigo’s advantages of incumbency are bolstered by his personable personality and ability to interact with all people from diverse cultural backgrounds and demographics. In addition, history is on his side.

 Graphic: Dr. Daniel Kawuma

http://www.kawuma.com/

For Dr. Daniel Kawuma, his presidential ticket is not any rosier.  The major question UNAA voters are asking themselves as they cast their votes is whether Dr. Daniel Kawuma as an individual can be trusted with the leadership of UNAA. In 2013, Dr. Kawuma led a breakaway faction of eight Council Members to protest against the irregular election of Rahim Kabagambe to the council. Dr. Kawuma has to assure the UNAA membership that he is a man who can be trusted, not a flip flopper, and can steadily lead the organization which he once broke away from. Those opposed to Daniel Kawuma’s election see him as a power hungry individual, a traitor, and a selfish person out to serve his interest and build his profile in preparation for a political career in Uganda. Even some of his former allies in UNAA Causes, now holding a parallel Uganda Festival in Las Vegas have no kind words for him, adding more fuel to the arsenal of his opponents in  UNAA.  But his supporters view him as a democrat, a reformer, and a man who has the ability to make UNAA relevant to its members and steer the organization to a brighter future.

Graphic: Dr. Daniel Kawuma and his supporters

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=979960539255&set=a.541737955825.2051368.19401619&type=3&theater

Second, Dr. Daniel Kawuma’s active participation in the anti-Museveni (NRM) post-election Diaspora demonstrations in 2016 may come back to either win him votes or haunt him and cost him victory. To this end, the ultimate question Dr. Daniel Kawuma must answer is: To what extent is his election campaign inspired by the opposition parties in Uganda especially the FDC? And, is the FDC funding his election campaign? And these perceptions of him are neither unfounded nor far-fetched. Dr. Kawuma led the post-election anti-Museveni demonstration in Washington DC alongside the FDC Diaspora outfit P10. He personally delivered anti-Museveni petitions to the Ugandan Embassy, Capitol Hill, and other US-government officials in Washington DC.

Graphic: Daniel Kawuma

(Get a screen shot from the video on this page below)

https://www.facebook.com/groups/556042087799093/permalink/1638953486174609/

While this record may endear him to the largely opposition-inclined Diaspora communities, it may, if it has not already, exposed him as a prime target for the NRM regime agents abroad to frustrate and ensure that he is defeated. And, they can. Yet, the amiable and eloquent Pharmacist rubbishes all that as mere speculation and a misunderstanding of his unwavering democratic credentials. “I am an independent individual with no inclinations to any political party in Uganda, “he told the EADM in response to the above questions.   He added, “As an independent thinker, I was inspired to speak out and participate in demonstrations against the injustice and impunity that took place during the February 2016 elections in Uganda,” he said in his defense.

Graphic: Dr. Daniel Kawuma

http://www.kawuma.com/

“As for my actions against the inclusion of Rahim Kabagambe in the UNAA Council, my protest was a democratic one that was never intended to break-away from UNAA and form a rival association. That is why I continued to pay my membership fees, attended the UNAA convention in Boston in 2016, pursued unity through serving on the harmonization committee and did not join the group that formed a rival association,” he said.  My interest is to unite, reform, and lead UNAA to become a relevant and accountable association to Ugandans in North America for the present generation and for posterity,” he assured. As to whether he is on the side of history, tomorrow’s UNAA election results will tell.

Let the best candidate win!

Pin It