16 September 2012

Uganda: Opposition Concedes Defeat in Usuk County By-Election

The opposition party Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) has conceded defeat in the recently concluded Usuk County by-election in Katakwi district. Alengot Proscovia Oromait won this race competed by nine candidates.

Alengot (NRM) garnered 11,059 votes, Anukur Martin Okwakol (IND) 284, Akileng Bob Paul (IND) 160, Anyakoit Cecilia (UPC) 554, Apuda Ignatius Loyola (IND) 59, Ariko David (IND) 27, Okure Charles (FDC) 2,725, Oleny Charles Ojok (IND) 5,329 and Oteger Nicholas of DP got 220.

Winnie Kizza, the recently re-elected Kasese district woman MP and former Opposition Chief whip who monitored the elections says the FDC did its best to protect the votes in all polling stations adding that the total number of votes of their candidate, Charles Okure which were declared by the electoral commission were right.

However, Kizza claims that the election was full of open vote buying, violence and intimidation among others.

"If there was no intimidation, official vote buying and violence caused by armed people, FDC would have won in Usuk County this time," said Kizza.

She adds, when I reached Usuk, I saw the suffering of the people here and I knew they were going to vote for change (FDC candidate) but I got surprised that every time I address the rally, people would ask for as little as 500 shillings only so that they elect our candidate."

Kizza cites Obulengorok polling station in Ongongoja Sub County as one of the polling stations where official vote buying was done.

This was during the press conference held at Elysian Guest House in Soroti Municipality yesterday 13.9.2012.

The FDC Candidate, Charles Okure had promised each sub county in Usuk a tractor for opening land among other issues like education, Electricity and health improvement The secretary general of FDC, Alice Alaso Asianut who doubles as the Serere district Woman MP says more people of their side were badly beaten.

"The chairperson of FDC Soroti, John Enomu and Frances Among, one of our mobilisers from Kumi was badly beaten by people who thought Among was me,"Alaso says.

Alaso, however, thanked Alengot Proscovia Oromait for being elected as a new MP for Usuk and wished her the best deliberations in Parliament.

Patrick Amuriat Oboi, the Kumi County MP says the campaigns in Usuk were done by the ruling party using a military and political science.

Amuriat vows to deal and put to book all those whom he claims beat him during the by-election exercise.

The former MP Busongora South in Kasese district who doubles as the FDC secretary in charge of the presidency as well as the NEC Member FDC, Christopher M. Kbanzanga says the government of Uganda has reduced people to begging for 500 shillings for voting a leader.

"People are very poor in Katakwi and this has given them to mind of money than electing a dream leader. What we need in Usuk right now is to raise leadership that will revive the hope of people of Usuk and getting them from their disparate situation," Mbanzanga says.

He asks the people of Usuk to reflect on the 50 years of independent and ask whether something has been done by the current government.

Angeline Osege, the Soroti District woman MP says "let the people of Usuk County taste the food they have served on table now and this will enable them know whether it was good food or not so that they think twice come 2016 general elections."

William Nzoghu, the Busongora North MP says the poor people in Katakwi are not voting on issues but they vote for a person who has dished out much money to the voters.

"The people of Usuk should not make the same mistake in 2016,"Nzoghu asks.

He blames that the police and the army did not play their role well adding that they don't deserve to be called the Ugandan force.

"We are trying to see that we get the real force called the Ugandan army and police which will be serving the whole population equally," Nzoghu says.

While Ibi Florence Ekwau, the Kaberamaido woman MP thanked the media for trying as much as possible to raise issues which were happening during election.

She is optimistic that FDC will rule Usuk some years to come.

But the chairman electoral commission, Dr. Eng. Badru Kiggundu says the security personnel played its right role in spite of a few elapses.

"All the stakeholders including the police and the army played their role of ensuring that there was a peaceful election in Usuk County," said Kiggundu.

The NRM District registrar, Simon Peter Seno admits that there was violence including in the FDC party and independent.

Seno refutes reports that some of the NRM supporters had guns for intimidating people.

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