Jinja — After two days of uncertainty, National Unity Platform (NUP) candidate in the Jinja City Mayoral race, Mr Peter Okocha Kasolo, has been declared winner, beating nine other contestants.
The mayor-elect was, however, arrested with his supporters as they celebrated. They were briefly detained at Mafubira Police Station on Friday at about 4 am only to be released at about 10 am.
The 40-year-old resident of Buwekula village, Jinja North Division in Jinja City, is a radio presenter and comedian with Swengere, a Jinja-based comedy group, where he acts as ‘Baba Kasolo’.
After his A-level education at Namasagali College, Mr Kasolo started out as a radio presenter at the defunct Kamuli-based Radio Empanga, before joining the defunct Bamboo FM.
His radio expedition later took him to Baba FM, Busoga One and back to Baba FM where he commands a large following.
When Mr Kasolo announced his candidature last year, the news was largely dismissed as yet another comedy skit.
This is partly because voters in Jinja had been used to highly-contested (mayoral) races that pitted Mr Muhammad Baswari Kezaala, Uganda’s deputy ambassador to India against Mr Majid Batambuze, who has been the interim Mayor.
Others in the race were; Mr Robert Kanusu (NRM), Dr Frank Nabwiso (FDC), Mr Godfrey Tibenkana (DP), Ms Rose Kalembe (ANT), Mr Julius Zziwa, Mr Jeff Bidandi, Mr Joseph Bamwite, Mr Joseph Agaba and Mr Meddie Ntuuyo (all independents).
At about 2 am on Friday, the Jinja returning officer, Ms Jennifer Kobutungi, declared Mr Kasolo winner with 11,899 votes, Dr Nabwiso (10,398), Mr Kanusu (9,810) and Tibenkana (8,327), with the getting less than 1,000 votes.
Immediately after Mr Kasolo’s declaration, the tally centre at Jinja Senior Secondary School erupted with joy by largely NUP supporters.
Mr Kasolo said his victory had come amidst challenges, including alleged intimidation of his supporters and EC officials by the army.
“The victory has come home and the city has come to NUP as the first party to lead the city. I want to thank the EC for standing boldly because there was a lot of intimidation during the process and it has actually been a tag-of-war,” he said.