Serere County By-Election: NRM versus Independents

This will be the first By-Election in this calendar year in the 11th Parliament, as the Serere County By-Election comes after a fatal traffic accident. The late MP Patrick Okabe won in the 2021 General Election on an Independent Ticket. Now, the National Resistance Movement (NRM) will return with vengeance.

So, the one that lost to late MP will return on the ballot now in February 2022. A year after the General Election in January 2021. Certainly, Philip Oucur feels it’s his time. Though, there are already pressure like in other constituencies to inherit or let the family hold on to the seat. That’s why the most unique candidate against Oucur this time around is the son of the late MP, Omoding Emmanuel Okabe.

There are other candidates in the race. The Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) and National Unity Platform (NUP) have fielded candidates here, but to no avail. Neither has the voters or the candidates gotten any traction. The last election was abysmal for these parties. The Justice Forum (JEEMA) has issued a release for possible candidates, but I don’t think they will go anywhere.

Alliance for National Transformation (ANT) flagbearer is Alice Alaso Asianut, but she isn’t favoured either. Unless, she has a massive campaign. Therefore, I have little to no faith in the opposition candidates. The only that matters now is the NRM candidate and the son of the late MP.

The son of the late MP has the attachment and could easily use the sway of the father. It is striking that the NRM didn’t chose to do this, as they did in a previous By-Election. When they let the son of the late speaker Jacob Oulanyah become the flag-bearer. This time around the NRM Electoral Commission didn’t allow it and ensured that Oucur could stand again.

Therefore it’s interesting, because the NRM has become a party of nepotism and favouritism. The NRM flag-bearer is a rumoured wealthy fish-farmer. If so… maybe, he has sway and fortunes to bound himself to the candidacy. He has actively campaigned and put himself in the spotlight after the accident occurred. So, it seemed planned to usher him in again.

While the UPC has already been endorsing the son of the late MP. That’s why you know the Okabe might be a force to be reckon with. His just that by association and by the merits of his father. Not because Okabe is unique or special. No, it’s all in the name and in the fact of what his father did.

I personally don’t look forward to the By-Elections. By-Elections under the NRM is a warzone, a battlefield and in the end… NRM get the MP and it’s game-over. Mass-arrests, electoral violence and voter tourism is an occurring theme. Therefore, I don’t expect anything else in 2022. The NRM and the EC has shown this to be the case. Nothing will be different here. While the NRM will come with SACCO’s, empty promises and use massive amount of funds to get Oucur finally elected. Peace.

Serere County By-Election: Electoral Commission – By-Election of the District Elected Member of Parliament for Serere County Constituency in Serere County District, 2023 (04.01.2023)

A Joint Opposition ahead of the next By-Elections…

The way to get back our power is to unite all of us and the population to be rallied together. Once that happens, I’m very excited that I can see it now beginning to happen. Even if we said that let all of us do this, this regime has no capacity to stop it” – Dr Kizza Besigye (01.08.2022).

Today there was a real launch of a joint opposition ahead of the next elections. This was a mix of various parties and formations. The main ones are the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) and National Unity Platform (NUP). The other parties was the People’s Progressive Party (PPP), Justice Forum (JEEMA) and the DP Block. While the People’s Front for Transition (PFT) and People Power Movement (PPM).

This is the first one that is like this since the Democratic Alliance (TDA).The TDA have been shaky and most of the members there has ended up in the arms of the regime.

The TDA isn’t the only joint opposition ahead of an election. In 2011 the opposition went ahead with a coalition called the Inter-Party Cooperation (IPC). In 2020 the FDC and NUP created the United Forces of Change (UFC).

Today we are seeing a new front with a lot more parties and formations behind it. That could strengthen the cause. We have already seen the NUP and FDC supporting a joint candidate in the Soroti East By-Election in the Moses Attan there. The new Press Conference and Joint Statement shows not only sentiment, but a plan for the parties ahead.

This country is bigger than our political parties. The mission is bigger than building our political parties. In any case, one would argue that there are no political parties in Uganda because we do not operate like political parties” (Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, 01.08.2022).

The Joint Statement is stating the plan ahead:

Going forward, we shall jointly or severally use any upcoming elections to organise and rally the population to defend their democratic rights and end the election ‘madness’ that has bedeviled our country since independence” (Joint Statement, 01.08.2022).

It will be interesting to see it happening in the upcoming by-elections. The opposition is showing a united force and its needed. The messages from the leaders is as important. Because, the parties and formations are pledging to work together.

The ruling regime and the National Resistance Movement (NRM) have been met with similar coalitions before, but this time around there is no direct or former NRM who will leave the fold quickly. The ones that has left the NRM did it so long ago… that it seems impossible for a return.

This statement comes days after the NRM-DP Cooperation Agreement and the previous election agreement between NRM-UPC. Therefore, this time around the Joint Opposition has to prove it. As the NRM is purging and trying to convince the opposition of working with them.

The Joint Opposition have to show it and also ensure they field the best candidates. They have to show the malpractice and undermine the election rigging. In such a manner, that the NRM cannot live with it or even announce the results. The opposition has to show fierce methods and not only play to the rules of the state. Opposition cannot just participate, but prove everything wrong with the regime.

Time will tell if this will work. The ambition and sentiment behind is commendable. I am hope it does make a difference. Not only a Press Conference and a Statement. The people have to see it and the parties and formations have to show it. Peace.

Uganda: Joint Statement of Political Leaders, Parties and Formations against the Brazen Thuggery of Elections in Uganda as Exemplified in the By-Elections of Kayunga, Omoro and Soroti (01.08.2022)

Opinion: Revisiting the TDA [and where are they now?]

5. The goal of The Democratic Alliance shall be achieved through the pursuance of the following objectives:

a) Building the necessary mobilization capabilities and organizational infrastructure of the Alliance and its members in order to win power;

b) Developing and presenting a common policy and governance agenda for elections;

c) Ensuring the attainment of an electoral majority by fielding candidates for all electoral positions across the country;

d) Fielding of joint candidates for electoral offices as set out in this Protocol;

e) Constituting a Transitional Government of National Unity (TGNU) with the purpose of implementing appropriate political and economic reforms to build a strong and durable foundation for democracy, rule of law and economic justice” (Protocol of the Democratic Alliance, June 2015).

Because of the recent cooperation agreement between the Democratic Party (DP) and the National Resistance Movement (NRM). This has started questions about the legitimacy of the coalition that was one part of the opposition ahead of the General Elections in 2016. It is striking that this is happening now and it’s worth to look into what has happened ever since.

The TDA was a coalition made by a various set of parties. The two parties that directly went out of the coalition early was Uganda Peoples Congress (UPC) and the Forum for Democratic of Change (FDC). However, the others stayed behind and they went ahead to stand behind the former Prime Minister and Secretary General of the NRM, Amama Mbabazi. He became the Joint Presidential Candidate of the TDA and the Pressure Group of “Go Forward”.

The TDA was much larger than Mbabazi alone. It was the Conservative Party (CP), Democratic Party (DP), Justice Forum (JEEMA), Pressure for National Unity (PNU), People’s Progressive Party (PPP) and Uganda Federal Alliance (UFA). So, there were a handful of leaders in and around the TDA. There was also Olara Otunnu from the UPC and Dr. Kizza Besigye from the FDC. The UPC as a party left, but Otunnu stayed on, if I remember correctly.

The leaders who are vital part of TDA was Amama Mbabazi, Ken Lukyamuzi, Norbert Mao, Asuman Basalirwa, Beti Kamya, Gilbert Bukenya aka Mahogany and Dick Odur. There was also others associated and part of the proceedings like Mugisha Muntu and others. Therefore, it was a team of the opposition at the time who at certain points did their part here.

However, as time has shown us. Plenty of these people has sided with the NRM or returned to the NRM. The Presidential Flag-Bearer Mbabazi was a NRM Member and hadn’t revoked his membership as he was standing up against Museveni. So, that he returned and is in the good graces with the President is just natural. The stage of Go Forward was only a short sighted project and was over the moment the election was over.

Bukenya has also returned and is living the good life. His living large and having perks with titles and being part of the elite. The Former Vice President has no worries and was only for a minute or less an “opposition”. I doubt we will ever see anything of the PNU ever again.

Mao has just become the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs. His working in cooperation with the government. Still part of the DP but he has a hectic period ahead of him. As insiders in the party wants him out and ousted. Since, this agreement wasn’t signed of from the party or the members. The DP Block has even dismissed him too.

Kamya has gone from being appointed Minister of Kampala. To lose her leadership of her party the UFA. Later becoming a NRM Member and changing Ministry. Now she’s the IGG but certainly not electable or viable candidate. She has become a typical crony of Museveni over the years.

Basalirwa has been close to the People Power Movement and the National Unity Platform. He has ensured popularity and gotten elected into Parliament as the only JEEMA MP. Therefore, his the first man here who is actual opposition from the TDA still.

Lukyamuzi has on the other hand lost his constituency and not become a third time re-elected to Rubaga South MP. He instead focused on finishing his degree, which he did in 2017. The Party President and former MP has been a vocal critic of the government. Even made a case against the Age Limit in the courts, which was dismissed. So, he is an actual man in the opposition. “The Man” is true to his missions and his goals.

Otunnu has been resigned from politics. He also lost the Party Presidency. The UPC has since then signed a secret agreement with the NRM. That’s why the UPC haven’t fielded a Presidential Candidate for two elections in a row. Otunnu has kept himself in the background and you can wonder if he will resurface or do anything for that matter.

Muntu also lost the Party Presidency. He lost to another candidate within the FDC. This made him create a New Formation, which is now known as the Alliance for National Transformation (ANT). That party was launched in time for the 2021 General Elections and he ran as President.

Besigye ran a the Presidential Flag-Bearer for the FDC and created the People’s Government after swearing himself in after the General Elections in 2016. Since then he has launched several of campaigns and the latest after the 2021 elections is the Red Card Front. A voice of the opposition still.

There are several of other leaders who are in the opposition that was a part of the TDA in 2015/2016. These could be Mathias Mpuuga (former DP now NUP), Betty Nambooze (former DP now NUP) and so fourth. There are more people that has been involved and could be mentioned, but that would make this piece to long.

However, a huge pattern are still there. Plenty of the TDA high ranking leadership went either back to NRM or has found a home in government. That is really happening on a larger scale. We shouldn’t be surprised that Mbabazi and Bukenya went back home. However, the others should really be questioned…

This was a short revising of the TDA. An alliance built quickly and seemingly destroyed. It wasn’t meant to be. We shouldn’t expect the Go Forward or the PNU to be returning either. The era of the TDA is gone and it’s for a reason. The TDA was built on sand and not on mountain. If it had been real and a sincere enterprise. So many of these leaders wouldn’t have sought shelter under the wings of the man who they were promised to create a Transitional Government of National Unity (TGNU).

Obviously… things didn’t pan out, but it is a picture, which shows how the times are changing. Peace.

Justice Forum (JEEMA): Legal Statement on the Continous Beleagurment of the JEEMA HQTRS by the Uganda Police Force and its Sister Security Agencies (09.06.2022)

Omoro County By Election: Return Form for Transmission of Results (26.05.2022)

Omoro County By-Election: The lessons of the “victory” of the Son of Jacob

The preliminary results are that National Resistance Movement (NRM) flag-bearer Andrew Ojok Oulanyah is projected to win. That will unlikely not change and the opposition will loose the chance to retake the seat, as the NRM retain it yet again. This is not shocking, because of how the state operates and uses the machinery for their advantage.

The NRM and the ruling regime uses all techniques possibly to win. They are using their appointed local leaders, national secretariat and government institution to serve their candidacy. This being the army, the police or any other sort of “help” for a push of their candidate. The Residential District Commander and the Regional Police Commander both will coordinate and fight for the NRM flag-bearer. Therefore, there is little left to chance or option to object to the one favoured by the state.

The ones who are canvassing and working for candidates of the opposition is naturally in danger of arrest, kidnap and kept incommunicado until the “victory” is sealed. This happened here and the soldiers will make people bounce. The county had road-blocks to stop people from entering and blocking “strangers” from entering. Meaning, anyone who could sway opinion or gain interests for anything, which wasn’t NRM isn’t allowed by definition.

The whole affair and polls just shows how important bribes, voter tourism and intimidation is to win at this stage. The NRM cannot pull or win with honest intentions. No, they have to rig it and block the opposition. They have to use force and be ill-willed. This is just the nature of things and the beasts are all out to play. The victims, the opposition or the ones associated with them are the targets. That’s their price of playing and participating in these elections. Even if the opposition plays by the rules or regulations, the goal-post changes and the authorities are using all excuses to go after them.

That’s why NRM can use government vehicles, institutions and appointees to secure their candidate gets elected. The soldiers and police officers will play out for their orders too. There is nothing that isn’t accessible for them and they uses all means to get there.

The by-election county looks like a war-zone. The Electoral Commission can put in guidelines, but the NRM don’t have to follow them. These are put out to limit the opposition and not for the ruling regime. Because, they can electioneer, rig and use violence to win. That’s what they do and they are proud of it too. Even if the election isn’t legit or the result isn’t transparent with the will of the people. Since, it has all been a game and it was rigged before the people stepped into the polling station to vote.

That’s why the NRM is a sorry state of itself. A place that used to have the Regional Party Vice-President of the NRM, the former Speaker who used to be the fourth high ranking official of the Republic. Still, in that constituency which the father won in 2011, 2016 and 2021. Even with that… the Son of Jacob needed all powers and all the help he could to get across the finish-line. It is not easy when you use all of this to get elected.

We are seeing that the Son of Jacob is happy about the result and becoming the winner. However, he should be concerned about how it happened. The whole system was on his side and there was no mercy served. It was a systemic brutality and usage of force to retain the seat. There was nothing in it showing a free and fair election. That is very obvious… therefore, it is false start to proclaim grandeur and solidify victory.

Ojok Oulanyah should know that he got elected not by the will of the people, but by the force of the gun. If that’s how he wants to be a representative and be known for. That’s his choice, as he got bills to pay and got a mansion to finish after his late father. So, most likely he doesn’t care, because he secures the continuation of his fathers legacy. However, he will also not be fondly remembered by all. As people have been scarred, taken into custody and been arranged by the authorities for just doing their mission for their candidates. That shouldn’t be the case, but is what went down in Omoro county.

The NRM cannot speak of being a nationwide party, when they operate like an army with a political wing. That’s how it looks like in these sorts of by-elections. Not looking like a strong or a popular people’s party, but an army with political figureheads. Peace.

Oromo County By-Election: Mass-Arrests of MPs, Polling Agents and Low-Voter Turn Out

Voting in the Omoro County by-election continues with low voter turn-up at most polling stations. Over 38,000 voters are expected to cast their ballots in a bid replace former MP & Speaker Jacob Oulanyah who died in March this year” (Daily Monitor, 26.05.2022).

It is clearly not all rosy at the polls of the Omoro County. That’s because of the usage of authorities and state machinery to gain advantage. That’s why the polling agents are arrested and the coordinators of the main opposition is out of play. This is deliberate acts to ensure the counting and the ballots are cast in darkness. As there is only government friendly polling agents and such in the area.

As reported by several media houses:

Police have cut off the Omoro Central Police Station after the arrest of NUP agents as well as MP, David Kalwanga. The police say that the arrested were conducting themselves in a manner contrary to the guidelines issued by the EC” (94.3 QFM Lira, 26.05.2022).

Leader of Opposition in Parliament Mathias Mpunga, NUP Secretary-General Lewis Rubongoya and other NUP party members are currently at Gulu Police Station after some of their members and agents in the ongoing Omoro by-election were arrested” (NBS Television, 26.05.2022).

Security personnel have arrested Chua West Member of Parliament Philip Okin Ojara and three other members of the FDC party in Omoro District. Patrick Oboi Amuriat, revealed that security personnel raided the FDC office in Opit Town Council before violently arresting Okin” (Baba TV Uganda, 26.05.2022).

Police has arrested several people in the ongoing Omoro by-election. According to the Police

spokesperson Aswa region ASP Ongom David said: We have intelligence that there are organised people with the intention of disorganizing this election” (Gugudde TV Uganda, 26.05.2022).

We should be worried that the authorities are using these tactics. That just shows that they cannot trust the voters and their choices. As they don’t want to have oversight or accountability for their actions.

We can anticipate the Special Forces Command (SFC) to put all the pressure on the pressure-cooker and ensure the results are boiled in favour of Andrew Ojok Oulanyah. That is all we can await for. The state has put all their prestige into it and wants to secure the Seat for the Son of Jacob.

Instead of having an honest, free and fair elections. The polls and the day of the by-election is marred with police brutality and use of force. That is not how you run trusted polls, but electioneer in favour of the ruling regime.

There is reports of kidnapping and keeping mobilizers and polling agents taken away in the polls ahead of the final hours of the vote. That is just proving that the regime don’t even want to try to conceal their actions to secure the result in their favour. Peace.

Omoro County By-Elections: Final update on the evening ahead of the polls…

The war-zone was to be expected and the nerve, the tension and the intimidation too. Because the yellow of the Republic cannot win without using these means and the authorities to get ahead. The reports from both National Unity Platform (NUP) and Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) is familiar with previous by-elections of this era.

That there are prolonged arrests of mobilizers, activists and use of roads-blocks to “stop strangers” for interfering. While the National Resistance Movement (NRM) walk around like demi-gods who can break any law or electioneering as they deem fit. The reports of giving away money to voters, soap and other minor donations in the hot-minute before the polls. There been already reports of NRM Teams in coordination with the Residential District Commander (RDC) and canvass all parts of the county that way.

No one should be shocked, if the offices of the FDC was raided in the evening before the polls. As their first candidate for the polls was even bribed himself and they had to field another one before the nomination. So, the continuation of voter bribery and intimidation as well.

There is even reports of possible pre-ticking of ballots ahead of the polls tomorrow. So, there is nothing left to chance here. Just to take it even further the state has deployed government vehicles without number-plates and army vehicles without number-plates to the county. That is all to ensure the votes and the polls goes after plan. These things are not for the weak or the ones who don’t want to fight. Because, these sorts of affairs are just a proof of how the game is rigged.

The ones thinking that the President and his hand-picked candidate would be let to chance. Those are not familiar with protocol or how these things operate in the Republic. All that mention has been done before and what we are seeing is similar to what has occurred in the past. It is not an election under Museveni is peaceful or fair. They are battleground and a place where the state interferes with everything at their disposal.

What is striking is that all of this is done to retain a seat and further the nepotism of the NRM. Just so their guy and their flag-bearer Ojok Oulanyah can takeover the seat of his father in Parliament. The candidate who didn’t need a primary election, but be directly picked by His Excellency. Therefore, this is high stakes for the President and he don’t like to be humiliated. Even if it is all a charade and mockery of an election. As the war-zone, rigging and intimidation only further shows that the NRM doesn’t even believe in their own propaganda or agendas. Since, they need to use all tricks from their book to get a “result” that’s worthy of the Fountain of Honour. Peace.

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