Arua — For the past two days, Arua town has been busy and noisy as politicians and their supporters rally support to win the up-coming by-election in Arua Municipality to replace the late Col Ibrahim Abiriga.
The race is tight as old guards join new blood in the quest to represent the cosmopolitan municipality that was an Opposition stronghold, until 2011 and 2016 when Dr Gabriel Aridru and Ibrahim Abiriga (RIP) won the races respectively.
The campaigns have been uplifted by the arrival of National Resistance Movement candidates who returned from Kampala after meeting President Yoweri Museveni.
The candidates are; Ms Nusura Tiperu, Mr Simon Ejua, Mr Jackson Atima, Dr Mubarak Khalifan, Mr Godfrey Aliga, Mr John Lematia, Mr Swadik Angupale and Mr Ali Muhammad who will tussle it in the party primaries poll scheduled for July 17.
They have camped in River Oli Division where the politics of religion and tribe play a part in deciding the final results since the election of former Arua Municipality MP, Akbar Godi.
Oli Division has a big percentage of youth and women population that can swing an election in favour of a candidate who captures their passion and interests.
Mr Simon Ejua, the former State Minister for Transport and Vurra County MP, says municipality voters should not base their decision on ethnicity and religion.
"We need to fight that type of politics in this municipality. People should be allowed to express their rights freely," he said.
Mr Kennedy Madira aka JM Kennedy, a popular musician in the area said he crossed from NRM after being "rigged" out when he contested in Terego East constituency.
"Being in NRM was like a bad marriage. I was openly rigged out when I contested in Terego East but now I want to hold the mantle for DP and lobby for steady electricity supply to steer development," he said.
Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) has fielded Mr Bruce Musema, who lost to Abiriga in 2016.
The choice of Mr Musema has annoyed some party members who wanted Mr Kassiano Wadri, the former Terego MP, to carry the flag.
Mr Wadri is now running as an FDC-leaning independent candidate.
Mr Jaffar Alekua, Mr Luke Ojandu and Swaleh Buga, all members of FDC, opted to contest as independents.
Voters in the municipality go to the polls on August 18, according to a roadmap from the Electoral Commission.