By Abdukarim Ssengendo
A long-standing Vision Group radio presenter has won the Mbarara mayoral race in the NRM primaries.
Robert Kakyebezi Mugabi beat the incumbent Wilson Tumwine in Thursday’s elections.
Kakyebezi, who has formerly worked at Radio West for over a decade, garnered 11,991 votes, which were good enough for victory against Tumwine’s 7,133 votes.
His supporters camped at the gate of the district NRM office from 6pm on Thursday until 5:40am Friday when the results were officially announced by the NRM district registrar Yoramu Kacumita.
The place was heavily guarded by police and army.
Others in the race were Steven Mugisha (132 votes), Agaba Senex (866 votes), Apollo Kibira (346 votes), Rashid Mukasa (5,591 votes) and the only female Mary Katushabe (2,712 votes).
Shortly after being declared winner, Kakyebezi thanked the people of Mbarara for their overwhelming support and promised to unite the people of Mbarara municipality.
He also pledged to change the face of the city, and called on his rivals to support him in the 2016 general elections.
“I am so excited with the people of Mbarara for the love and votes you have showed and given me. You know I have a lot for you and for this town,” he said.
“Let’s work together and develop out town.”
Meanwhile, Mbarara Municipality MP Medard Bitekyerezo lost the party flag to Michael Tusiime.
The district NRM registrar Yoramu Kacumita declared that Tusiime won with 12,319 votes, while incumbent Bitekyerezo came up short with 10,951 votes.
Jomo Mugabe, who is the party district chairman of Mbarara, asked the NRM members to quickly put their differences aside and work for the good of the party.
Both winners and losers vowed to supportively work together for the progress of Mbarara city.