Mathias Mpuuga; A Determined Politician challenging Bobi Wine’s “demi-god” status

As last week drew to a close, an unexpected event unfolded in the country as Robert Kyagulanyi, also known as Bobi Wine, the  head of the National Unity Platform (NUP), called for the resignation of his Deputy President in Buganda, Mathias Mpuuga, from his Parliamentary Commission seat, citing allegations of corruption and abuse of office.

In his media statement, Bobi Wine emphasized his unwillingness to collaborate with the former Leader of Opposition in Parliament, citing allegations of corruption and asserting that the individual is unfit to hold any position within the NUP due to an infringement of one of the party’s core values.

In the document issued on Thursday the party said; “At the meeting, Rt. Hon. Mpuuga admitted that he indeed took part in this wrongdoing and apologized for the same. In light of this, he was strongly advised that the moral thing to do in the circumstances is to step down from his role as parliamentary commissioner with immediate effect.The nation will recall that the values of the National Unity Platform are discipline, reliability, inclusiveness, integrity, patriotism, and service. All actions of corruption and abuse of office go contrary to these values.”

However, to the shock of the nation, Mpuuga who is the Member of Parliament for Nyendo Mukungwe refuted all the allegations that were put in the document, he even went a head to rebel against his principal’s call of resignation, informing him that he has no any powers to resign him from the seat of commissioner in Parliament.

“To call such payments corruption is the highest level of spite, double standards, and deliberate misrepresentation to the public and membership of the party on a purely selfish and malicious mission.”

He explained that if such payments amounted to corruption, all current and previous MPs would be compelled to refund to the public coffers monies paid as gratuity or honoraria. “Since no MP, current and previous, was not paid gratuity at the determination of the parliamentary commission.

For Bobi Wine, who has been likened to a demi-god within his party, where statements are rarely challenged and his word is often unquestioned, this public display of disobedience by his subordinate was a significant blow, highlighting a departure from the usual dynamics of unquestioning loyalty.

But who is Mpuuga, a lion that is ready to fearlessly face the opposition’s demi-god Bobi Wine. Mpuuga was born on October 12, 1975, in Lwengo, to the late Vincent and Gertrude Nsamba. Her life’s work has been dedicated to political activity, public service, and education.

Mpuuga started his academic career in 1987 at Kyamaganda Boys Demonstration School, where he finished his elementary education. At Masaka Secondary School, he pursued his education, performing exceptionally well on his 1992 Uganda Certificate Examination. His desire to learn brought him to Nakyenyi Senior Secondary School, where he graduated with honors in 1994.

Driven by a passion for learning and a desire to make a difference, Mpuuga pursued higher education at Makerere University. In 2009, he earned a Bachelor of Arts in Education. Demonstrating his versatility and intellectual rigor, Mpuuga furthered his studies at Makerere University, obtaining an MA in Economics and a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) degree in 2016. He later honed his legal skills at the Law Development Centre (LDC), graduating with a Postgraduate diploma in legal practice in 2020.

Mpuuga’s pursuit of professional success demonstrates his dedication to leadership and quality. He was a committed teacher at Uganda Martyrs High School, Rubaga, from 1998 to 2003, where he taught geography and economics. His love of learning went beyond the classroom as he took on positions as managing director and director of Masaka Town College and partner at Liberal Consult Ltd., an assessment and monitoring company.

Mpuuga moved into leadership in 2003 when she was appointed managing director and principal of Kampala’s Datamine Technical Business School. In parallel, he committed himself to the empowerment of young people, holding the position of Youth Chairperson at Masaka District Local Government from 2000 to 2011. As evidence of his dedication to youth development and education, Mpuuga was elected to Muteesa I Royal University’s University Council in 2010.

Political Involvement

Early in his time at Makerere University, Mpuuga entered politics by helping to form the Uganda Young Democrats (UYD), the opposition Democratic Party of Uganda’s youth branch. His commitment to democratic principles and social transformation was demonstrated by his active participation in political campaigns, which included backing Paul Kawanga Ssemogerere in the 1996 Ugandan presidential election.

Mpuuga acted as an advocate for his constituents’ interests and a voice for them in the Buganda Kingdom Lukiiko (Parliament) from 1998 to 2010. He successfully ran for the Masaka Municipality Member of Parliament seat in 2011, starting a new chapter in his political career. Mpuuga participated in the screening of presidential appointments while serving on prestigious parliamentary committees such as the Appointments Committee and the Public Accounts Committee (PAC).

Mpuuga’s dedication to accountability and public service is further demonstrated by his leadership positions in Parliament. From 2011 to 2016, he promoted openness and sound administration as the Shadow Minister for the Presidency and Anti-Corruption. Mpuuga was appointed Shadow Minister for Education from 2016 to 2021 in honor of his skill and commitment, during which time he promoted inclusive, high-quality education for all Ugandan children.

In 2021, Mpuuga’s unwavering dedication to his constituents earned him re-election as Member of Parliament, representing Nyendo – Mukungwe Division. His leadership journey culminated in his appointment as the Leader of the Opposition in Parliament, a position he held until January 2024, where he demonstrated integrity, resilience, and a steadfast commitment to serving the interests of all Ugandans.

As Mathias Mpuuga continues to navigate the complex landscape of Ugandan politics, his remarkable journey serves as an inspiration to aspiring leaders and a testament to the transformative power of dedication, education, and principled leadership.