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)

Soroti East By-Election: “The game is rigged, man”

This game is rigged, man. We like the little bitches on a chessboard” Preston “Bodie” Brodaus (S4:E13 – ‘Final Grades’, 2006).

The Soroti East By-Elections on the 28th July 2022 was a shambolic affair. The authorities, the Electoral Commission and the National Resistance Movement (NRM) didn’t even conceal their actions and intentions. The mass-arrests, intimidation and use of force was the reason for the “victory” for the NRM Flag-Bearer Herbert Edmund Ariko. He was in the evening of the 28th July announced as the victor with a “small” margin, but everyone who follows knows the drill.

The NRM with the usage of the state machinery came with pre-ticked ballots. The NRM Electoral Commission Chairman Dr. Tanga Odoi was an active part of the rigging in Soroti. Other that participated was the newly “elected” MP Andrew Ojok Oulanyah. He was “elected” in the same manner in his constituency. Now, Ariko follows suit and they shouldn’t celebrate this. Because it is a mess and a fraudulent affair.

The NRM will take this a celebration and speak of their popularity. However, everyone with some working marbles knows the gist. The mass-arrests of opposition leaders and the deployment of opposition polling agents who was arrested to sign of declaration forms from the polling stations. So, the whole affair was shady and the “victory” can be seen as shallow.

The MP for Soroti East By-Election is now rigged into the 11th Parliament. The NRM doesn’t believe in their pledges, promises or campaign. Since they needs to use force, intimidation and trick the polls to get ahead. Their candidate is so bad and lacking influence that ghosts, goats and ferried voters voted for him. The pre-ticked ballots are proof of that and the EC validated it all.

This is was a deliberate act. The mass-arrests just proves it all. The authorities even arrested the main opposition candidate from the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) Moses Attan Okia who was detained after voting himself. It just shows the process and how the state was at work. The same with any sort of political leader in the FDC and also went after elected leadership from the Uganda People’s Congress (UPC). Therefore, the authorities stoke at everyone. They even raided a home of one MP and went after the tires of another one. It was nothing they were not willing to do.

The Soroti East By-Election is just a proof that the NRM doesn’t believe in their own candidates anymore. They need to use force and fake themselves into power. If the NRM didn’t have the power and the authorities behind them. This wouldn’t have happened. They are not having elections, but a selection for their own will. Just proving a point and taking the people for fools.

Hon. Ariko was elected by ghosts and ferried voters. His not voted by the Soroti East constituents. He didn’t have the confidence or the bravery to allow their will to happen. That’s why he accepted the pre-ticked ballots and the use of bravado from the authorities to silence the opposition on the election day. This is why he should question himself, but like many in the NRM. He is just giddy for the cash, perks and be anointed into Parliament.

Soroti East By-Election is just another of these where the state doesn’t spare anything to win. Even if the “victory” is only because of the usage of all parts of the government structure. The NRM would never have been able to do this. If they weren’t in government and didn’t have the final say in everything that matters. If the NRM was in opposition and felt the blunt force. They would have cried havoc.

We know that, because that is how the NRM was incepted in the 1980s election. Which the President has cried out loud about ever since. He is now ushering in similar elections and even worse ones. Where the state is just creating pyrrhic victories, because everyone knows the gist.

The game is rigged and Bodie was right. Peace.

Soroti East By-Election: Return Form for Transmission of Results (28.07.2022)

Soroti East By-Election: East Kyoga Regional Police Cautions the Public against Electoral Guidelines and Laws (28.07.2022)

Soroti East By-Election: Mass-arrest of Opposition leaders and polling agents as the people heads for the polls

The authorities, the state and everyone involved is going after the opposition ahead of the polls in the Soroti East By-Election. Last night the Police did raid the home of Anna Adeke MP. There will be a follow up to what is going on, but anyone with a working marble should know that the state is preparing everything for the National Resistance Movement (NRM) to win. That is the initial plan here and to do it in darkness. As the opposition and their organizers are behind bars as the polls are happening.

This is done to stop Moses Attan and the FDC Flag-Bearer from winning this election. The NRM does what it does to “win”. While using the authority of the state and arresting opposition ahead of the polls. They clearly don’t believe in their pledges, their program and their candidate Herbert Ariko. If they did… they wouldn’t need to arrest a village to elect a man in a By-Election.

What is also striking is that opposition candidate Moses Attan did vote in the election, but himself was arrested right after. That just shows the intention of the state and they not even trying to conceal it. While there reports that Andrew Ojok Oulanyah MP have come with pre-ticked ballots to a polling station, beat up a polling agent and stuffed the ballots in the box. It just shows what the NRM does to “win”.

Here is some of the news.

The FDC has dropped a full list of the arrest as of now:

PARTIAL LIST OF FDC LEADERS ARRESTED IN SOROTI BY ELECTION

1. Hon. Eng. Patrick Oboi Amuriat, Party President

2. Hon. William Nzoghu, Deputy President

3. Hon. Centenary Robert, Mobilizer

4. Hon. Nyanjura Doreen, Deputy Lord Mayor and NEC member

5. Micheal Emorut -Poa driver

6.Augustine Ojobile,Deputy Chief Administrative Officer

7.Omer Paul, Mayor Soroti East Division

8. Denis Nono

9.Oboi Rajab

10.Elenyu John Calvin

11.Okwi Justine kokas

12.Kassim Ogwang-PA to Hon.Attan

13.Jafar -Attan driver

14.Ojakol Moses

15.Eigu Daniel-Chairpersons FDC Soroti

16.Acen Jane

17.Wanyera Simon

18. Mama Kevin -Opuyo coordinator

19.Erongu Moses

20.David Eguru

22.Ekou Robert

22.Edatu Joseph

23. Donge Pius

24. Okwii Emmanuel

25.Ramazan Rajab

26.Erwau

27. Kakeeto William

28.Counsel Buyondo Henry Patrick

29.Hakim Bukenya

30. Ms.Wokuri Madanda

31.Turyatemba Norman

32.Darlington Baryabarema Western Coordinator

33. Joan FDC Eastern Coordinator

34.Chagga Oyat.

This is a partial list of those we have confirmed, others we have not been able to reach out. This operation was commanded by an ordinary hired goon Karangwa from Jinja/Kayunga &Ssegujja.

It’s appalling that Commissioners of Police, RPC,&DPC’s are getting instructions from these goons who have taken over security in Soroti. All men save for women, were driven to Dokolo CPS” (Forum for Democratic Change, 28.07.2022).

Some says with the polling agents and mobilizers of the FDC for the election day. The numbers of arrests are already up to around 70 people. That says what the state is doing to get their MP elected in the Soroti East By-Election.

Capital FM has these reports in addition:

Voting at Omalera mango tree polling station in Soroti East Division has been stopped over alleged ballot stuffing. Four suspects said to be NRM supporters ferried from Kumi and Bukedea districts have been arrested” (…) “NRM electoral commission chairman, Tanga Odoi has been confronted by angry voters at Omalera polling station where some suspects were arrested over ballot stuffing during Soroti East Division parliamentary by-election” (Capital FM Uganda, 28.07.2022).

So, this will be followed up and monitored. This election is an disgrace and just follows an pattern of the state. Who is willing to use all force to “win” and create a “war-zone” to ensure victory. Even when it is far from the truth, but that’s what it does. The NRM cannot win an honest election. They got to use the Police and the state authority to get their people elected. Peace.

Soroti East By-Election: Today Besigye acted like fugitive to attend a FDC rally in Soroti

Besigye beats heavy security to escape arrest in Jinja. Besigye moved out of his vehicle and entered the cafe before accessing Kyabazinga road, where he jumped on a boda boda which was seen heading towards Iganga” (Rukiga FM, 24.07.2022).

UPDATE: After a failed attempt by police to stop Dr. Kizza Besigye from going to Soroti earlier today in Jinja, Besigye has found his way to Soroti City East to rally votes for the FDC candidate Attan Moses” (NBS Television, 24.07.2022).

Today should have been about the rallies, the messages and the appearance of popularity for Moses Attan in the Soroti East By-Election. By now the stories are instead focusing on Dr. Kizza Besigye and how the road-blocks around the location where Besigye was eating breakfast in Jinja. The authorities put up road-blocks and tried to arrest the politician as he was planning to participate in the rally ahead of the polls.

However, Besigye had to act like a fugitve. Besigye acted like a man on the run and couldn’t even use his own vehicle. Because, his SUV is now monitored and the movements are certainly followed. If they weren’t following him… why would they know where he was eating and he had to sneak himself away from there?

That is every evident and striking. Besigye have done sort of thing before. Been able to skip through road-blocked and sealed off streets to make a public appearance. Therefore, this isn’t groundbreaking of any sorts. It is however tragic that he has to resort to this.

Whe new are saying Besigye is never really free. It is because of things like this. He is either arrested, whisked away or kept incommunicado. Secondly, taken away for days and detained before arraigned in court. Where a sort of charge and possibly heavy bail conditions are set on him. That’s what is regular and modus operandi of the state.

Besigye knows all of this and that’s why he has to change his plan out of nowhere. Today he did that and people shouldn’t cheer or be happy about this. It just proves that the man doesn’t have the liberty or freedom to participate or be an active politician. Besigye aren’t allowed or is a target for just being who he is. There was nothing illegal in his movements or planned efforts today. His just another FDC leader who is inspiring others.

The authorities are just proving what we have been saying all along. The state is going after its critics and the ones who is dissidents. That is what it does and Besigye happens to be one of them. One of the most vocal voices of reason and that’s why the state fears him. That’s why they are targeting him and going after him in this way.

However, today we shouldn’t cheer that he was able to escape arrest in Jinja. He shouldn’t have had to flee or act as a fugitive in the first place. Besigye should have been able to travel and return from Soroti safely without any trouble or sort of adventurous journey. No, this is just showing the priorities of the state and who they seek to incriminate. Peace.

Soroti East By-Election: Former FDC MP Versus FDC Flag-bearer

As you recall, I stood in the previous election on the platform of Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) party. However, on account of the irreconcilable differences in the party and the failure by my current party leadership to appreciate my contribution to the party, I shall NOT seek re-election on the ticket of the party (FDC)” (Herbert Ariko – Press Release, 05.08.2020).

The Soroti East By-Election scheduled for 28th July 2022 is setting itself up for grabs. The things that is striking isn’t that the National Unity Platform (NUP) has supported and not fielded their own candidate. They are actually acting in unified motion with the opposition. Which has been asked for it for ages. Now they are showing not only words but actions. Yes, their MP Flag-Bearer didn’t get votes, but instead of using energy on a candidate which doesn’t stand a chance. They are instead backing a Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) candidate. So, for a unified opposition their candidate is Moses Attan Okia.

Although we had very good potential candidates in Soroti, we are doing this in the broader interest of the unity of the Forces of Change. We believe that Hon. Attan legitimately won the previous election which was interrupted by a court decision. Therefore, we shall be supporting him, and rallying the people of Soroti to take him back to Parliament. We are stronger when we come together!” (National Unity Platform, 07.07.2022).

In that regard. The ruling regime has also switched their game up since the General Election in 2021. The National Resistance Movement are sending the same candidate, which they had as a flag-bearer in January 2021. No, they are sending the former FDC MP (2016-2021) and former Independent Candidate Herbert Edmund Ariko. We can rest assure that Jimmy Ekemu will feel shattered by this. Because, his been deliberately knocked out, because the party don’t believe in his candidacy anymore.

We know the NRM is investing in this campaign and will use all means to get there. When Secretary General Richard Todwong, Vice-Chairman of Eastern Region the party Captain Mike Mukula and Deputy Speaker Thomas Tayebwa are already in Soroti canvassing voters ahead of the polls.

What the general public can await is the Police Force and the army intervening. Since any By-Election of recent years looks like a war-zone close to the polls. With road-blocks, armed soldiers in the streets and public intimidation to ensure a “NRM” victory.

The Democratic Party is saying they will announce their candidate for the By-Election tomorrow. However, we all know the real game changer is between former FDC MP and the one trying to win the seat a second time the current FDC MP Attan. Therefore, the DP candidate will have as much popularity as the Uganda People’s Congress candidate in 2021. If not become as big as the outcast NRM flag-bearer. Because, I don’t believe they will suddenly have a wind of green coming their way.

It is a reason why Mukula was himself only an MP until 2016. Because, the FDC took over the city and got the mandates from the area. That’s why the NRM is fielding a former FDC candidate for a reason. A candidate that was close in the last polls as an independent. That is political bargaining.

Anyone else challenging the FDC is meeting hardship. Soroti and the region is very blue. It will be hard to muffle that. Nevertheless, don’t expect free and fair elections. No, the NRM can only win with bribes, intimidation and rigging. Which is very common and that’s what they are willing to do. So, expect the same in Soroti later this month. This will not be peaceful, as the state is coming with armed forces and vicious means to prove whose in-charge. Expect arrests of activists, polling agents and anyone associated with the FDC at the latter stage. Especially done at night and raiding of homes, of the registered polling agents and such. That is just what the state does and no one should be shocked by this in 2022. We have seen it’s happening so many times. This here will be no difference.

Soroti East By-Election will be like the previous by-elections. We should be aware and as we follows. Not act like we didn’t’ see it coming. Because this is what they do. Peace.

Teso Affairs: In the Teso Sub-Region they are eating termites to survive the famine!

Residents of the hunger stricken areas in Teso region are now forced to eat termites due the current hunger crisis caused by last year and this year’s prolonged drought. Florence Kulume a mother of nine and a resident of Atira sub county in Serere district goes early morning to look for grass, sort it straight before washing it with roots of a certain tree locally known as “Ekoboi” in Ateso which is sour and loved by termites” (Kampala Dispatch – ‘Starving families in Teso resort to eating termites, Karimojong flee to Kenya’ 13.06.2022).

The Teso Sub-Region is hit with food insecurity yet again. It seems like the Teso Affairs and the state haven’t followed previous recommendations or any sort of thing. As the problems of past is revisiting the area. An area where the state has invested in a fruit factory, the Soroti Fruit Factory, but not secured the farmers or the agricultural sector as a whole. Since, within a few years time and a new drought settles in. The same issue of hunger and starvations sets in.

I have to use the sentiment of a farmer from the last time in 2017. Because the situation hasn’t changed but its more of the same.

Still, a local farmer wrote a piece to the Chimp Reports that has some valuable assessments:

The current hunger in Teso has largely been attributed to drought, while this assertion may hold some truths; there is increasingly evidence that the Ministry of Teso Affairs has not done its part. Hunger in Teso is as a result of both internal and external factors. For many years, the region has been experiencing declining productivity and this was recently worsened by drought. For districts like Ngora, Bukedia and Kumi, land fragmentation has heavily affected productivity” (…) “Clearly besides drought, Teso food systems are in a crisis and our expectation was that the Ministry of Teso affairs working with other stakeholders would work to address this problem. Our view is that hunger should be among the ‘affairs’ that Ministry of Teso Affairs should be engaged in. Agriculture remains a major livelihood for our people in Teso and therefore we require urgent response from Ministry of Teso Affairs on its plans to help our people get out of the current hunger crisis” (Akorikin, 2017).

Minister of State for Teso Affairs, Hon. Christine Aporu Amongin has to accept her faults and lack of good governance. The state haven’t done their due diligence or tried to mitigate it. That’s why it’s happening again after 5 years. We know the state will come with excuses. Last time around another minister blamed the suffering communities for selling their crops and whatnot to get money to stay alive. Therefore, we shouldn’t expect much from the state or the ministries in question.

The Office of the Prime Minister and the Minister for Relief and Disaster Preparedness should together with the Teso Affairs make some mechanisms and help people out. Not only with the direct aid and need food right now. That what they should do and in such a manner that people can eat nutritious food.

Now that it has happen for the second time in 5 years. The state needs to do more than short-term relief. There is a need for more food security mechanisms that actually can help the farmers and the hit communities in the Teso sub-region. Peace.

Reference:

Akorikin, Francis – ‘OPINION: Government Should Review the Relevance of Ministry of Teso Affairs’ (05.05.2017) link: https://www.chimpreports.com/opinion-government-should-review-the-relevance-of-ministry-of-teso-affairs/

Teso Affairs: The failure of Soroti Fruit Factory

Soroti Fruits Limited was incorporated to add value to fruits that were abundantly underutilised; to address the high post-harvest losses, provide market for the farmers produce, and create employment opportunities along the value chain, thus increased and diversified household incomes within the greater Teso Sub-region” (February, 2022).

This is not a shocker, as the Auditor General of December 2021 already have proven that the investment under Uganda Development Corruption (UDC) proved that the Government of Uganda huge investments into these State Owned Enterprises isn’t only unsuccessful, but blatant cash-grabs and “white-elephants”.

The “Report on the Alleged Mismanagement of Soroti Fruits Limited” only furthers this, as the produced report of February 2022 is no difference from the AG Report from December 2021. Therefore, it is only showing it more direct and one case, which happens to be the Soroti Fruit Factory.

Just read here:

The Committee made the following observations,’The only mango varieties not taken by the factory are the traditional mangoes which are said to have a lot of fiber which requires several systems to clean. Mangoes are mainly sourced from outside Teso sub-region because the available mango varieties in Teso contain fiber that cannot easily be processed by the current mango line. Whereas oranges are predominantly grown fruits in Teso sub-region, the factory found it economically viable to invest in a mango line as opposed to an orange line because the mango juice is a fast moving product that can sustain the market thus this could be one of the reasons orange growing farmers are frustrated” (February 2022).

The committee was concerned that Government has so far invested in Teso Fruits Limited a total of UGX 44.1 billion, in addition to the KOICA grant of USD.8million, however, this has not yet yielded any profits and this projects towards the fact that the factory may take a longer period to sustain itself” (February 2022).

What is really striking is that a Fruit Factory for the Teso region, has to “import” or get outside sourced Mangoes, which can work for the production line. As the type, which is mainly produced in the Teso region doesn’t work there. That shouldn’t be the case and shows that the Fruit Processing Plant isn’t scaled or made for the local fruit producers. This is just infuriating and insulting. Because, that is the purpose to value-add on the cash-crops, but in this case. It is instead for outside farmers who has a longer way to the factory, which isn’t the reason for the company to begin with.

On a second note, the Teso region is also producing more oranges, which isn’t even in the works. So, you can wonder what sort of planning that went into it and what sort of analysis of the region was to begin with. This is the Teso Region’s Fruit Factory, but it doesn’t serve the majority of the mango producers or the orange producers in the region. Meaning, they are outsourcing the fruit supply, because it isn’t produced in Teso. That is really impressive and foolish too. Who is this dumb?

Not only the spending, building and wastage of funds only, as it has been a money-pit and total loss from the on-set. This report isn’t painting a perfect picture. Yes, it was a report made because of an expensive road, but uncovers another bitter truth, which I find more interesting. As it is built a fruit factory, which isn’t made for the surrounding farmers of the region. That’s it. Peace.

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