Since the late speaker Jacob Oulanyah died in Seattle, United States of America there has been a vacant seat in the 11th Parliament. When the news of his demise and death came to the forefront. There was not only a play for who would succeed him as the Speaker, but who would takeover his seat as well.
This is the first time in a while since a National Resistance Movement MP died in office. The last time there was an assassination of Ibrahim Abiriga in the 10th Parliament. That election became a violent and a horrid affair. The late speaker won the seat in 2006 and never looked back. He was the incumbent and it became his seat. Now, this will be opening up.
Here is the vital news from the candidacies in the race. While there is no news about the Independents that ran in the 2021 General Election who lost to Oulanyah. These have not returned for now. We have to wait who the Electoral Commission is putting on the ballots, but the parties are ushering in their candidates.
This is the reports for now and then two rumours in the end…
“The Democratic Party DP has pulled out of the Omoro County parliamentary by-election. The move came shortly after Godwin Okello a DP aspirant withdrew his candidature from the race on Tuesday. Okello was the only aspirant who publicly expressed interest to vie for the position under DP after the electoral commission announce a vacancy in the constituency last month” (Capital FM Uganda, 05.05.2022).
“We unveil Mr Owani Denis Dickson as our flag bearer for Omoro county in the upcoming parliamentary by-election and Ms Ayo Mercy as our flag bearer -District Councilor for Lalogi/Lakwaya Subcounties Our structured campaign will be coordinated by Hon. O’Jara PP. Okin the Member of Parliament for Chua West” (Forum for Democratic Change, 29.04.2022).
The Justice Forum (JEEMA):
“Mega’s CD Brian Alaka Comes Out To Take Contest For Late Jacob Oulanyah’s Omoro Parliamentary Seat as the days for nomination of candidates draw nearer. According to the Electoral Commission road map, the nomination of candidates will take place from May 12th to May 13, 2022, at Omoro District Council Hall. The campaigns will take place from May 16th 2022” (Luo Tunes, 01.05.2022).
The National Unity Platform:
“Who is Toolit Simon Akecha , the NUP flag bearer For omoro County?
National Unity Platform (NUP) / People Power has fronted Former FDC Member Toolit Simon AKECHA as its flag-bearer in the upcoming Omoro County by-election. Toolit is the former Omoro County MP (FDC) who in 2016 narrowly lost the seat to Hon Jacob Oulanya with 11,044 votes against Toolit’s 9,088 votes. In that election, there were a record breaking 2,173 invalid votes recorded in the declaration form that Toolit claimed they were his and sued Oulanya and NRM for electoral fraud and massive rigging. He is poised to be the main challenger to NRM Candidate Andrew OJOK, a son to the late Jacob Oulanya” (Nile TV, 26.04.2022).
The NRM candidate – Andrew Ojok Oulanyah:
“How easy was it to get all the other six NRM aspirants to step down for you? They only stepped down in solidarity with the family. Two weeks ago, before the party issued its official position, we were not sure whether we would undergo primary elections and who the candidate would be. I want to thank the NRM party chairman (President Museveni) who eventually gave me the flag” (Tobbias Jolly Owino – ‘I wake up every day knowing I have to finish my father’s task – Ojok Oulanyah’ 01.05.2022, Daily Monitor).
This haven’t been verified but been spread online. That there was a supposed gathering/meeting between the Democratic Party (DP), Uganda People’s Congress (UPC) and the National Resistance Movement (NRM), which was to support the NRM candidate ahead of the polls. As the three parties was afraid to challenge NUP’s Toolit. That meeting was done in the middle-of-April this year and to ensure it.
In that regard, we know the DP dropped out and we have to see if the UPC will do the same. That will be striking and evidence of the possible secret agreement. However, unless the minutes and the signed agreement comes into the public sphere… until that happens this is just a rumour.
That the Omoro RDC Ladit Onyuk Andrew is directly campaigning and using his office to campaign for the NRM candidate in the county. That is very evident by his Facebook profile and how his using his office for the bidding of Ajok Oulanyah. This is most likely true and has been reported on by the newspapers since mid-April as well. Therefore, this rumour is genuine.
This election going to be contested. Expect arrests, election-violence and insincere statements by the authorities. The By-Election going to be a proof of the foothold of the NRM in Omoro County. The machinery will camp in the Omoro County. To expect something else is foolish. As they want to settle and have the son of the speaker to get the seat in Parliament.
However, the battle of Toolit and Oulanyah will be a hectic one. Expect the rallies of the NUP to be tear-gassed and get into trouble. While the NRM will campaign everywhere and use vast funds on voter-tourism. That is what the NRM has done for over a decade now. They will come in with the army, the whole state machinery, use of buses and free food for the masses. Small tokens and gifts to SACCO’s too. That is what the state does to suddenly showering the locals. However, the state will not invest in the hospitals or the health care centres. No, that will not happen…
I wouldn’t expect anything else. This might be this terms Arua By-Election. The same sort of drive and possibilities are here. Because, the stakes are high and the will of the NRM to settle the score. The use of the authorities and the state resources will be shown. Nothing should shock you, but be aware. It might even look like a war-zone in the tiny window to the polls, as the state wants to signal that their candidate is the way out. Peace.