11 July 2019

Uganda: Nebbi Lc5 By-Election Today

Today, a total of 121,856 electorates in Nebbi District are heading to polls to choose a new chairman to replace William Ezrom Alenyo, who passed on.

The seat has attracted three candidates. These are Mr Vicky Onyai (Forum for Democratic Change), Mr George Othuba (Independent) and Mr Emmanuel Urombi (National Resistance Movement).

In the past elections, votes from Parombo, Akworo, Erussi, Nebbi Municipality and Kucwiny sub-counties have been the decider for the Opposition as they have ever held the mantle there.

But with the few candidates this time, the decision would rest on the personalities and the strength of their parties.

This explains why President Museveni had to campaign in Parombo Trading Centre on Wednesday.

Here, FDC and Uganda Peoples Congress (UPC) have for the past enjoyed support over the NRM ruling party.

The task remains on the NRM candidate, Mr Urombi, who needed to market himself and sell the party ideas more since he is a political novice in this race.

The two other candidates, Mr Othuba, and Mr Onyai, already tested the political waters in 2016 and failed after the elections were won by the late Alenyo of NRM, who bounced back after serving the district as chairman for two decades.

The two are riding on their popularity and party strength, especially for Mr Onyai, who recently moved to FDC from being an Independent candidate in 2016.

Mr Othuba chose to remain on Independent ticket.

Mr Othuba said: "Let us not rig the elections. No presiding officer should pick Vicky or Emmanuel's votes and add on mine. Let the voters decide. The voters should remain vigilant and ensure that the agents get the declaration forms."

Statistics from Electoral Commission indicate that there were 117,824 registered voters. And following the update, the 2019 register has 121,856 voters. This means that there are additional 4,032 voters in this by-election. The district has 223 polling stations.

The voting may also be affected by the popular market days of Erussi, Auction at Akana, and Auction in Wadelai because many would opt to go to the market to trade.

Mr Onyai, a human rights activist and a former worker with World Vision for about a decade, is now banking on his ability to fight for rights of the local people, having mobilised them during his consultancy work on agriculture.

Mr Onyai said: "Our people have suffered enough. They should look at a leader who can lobby and fight for their rights because they pay a lot of money in tax. Our bridges, roads and schools have remained in a sorry state with poor performances. We need to change this."

Mr Othuba and Mr Urombi say they will ensure there is improvement in the dismal performance of schools owing to their professional background of teaching. Mr Urombi is taking strides on the popularity of the NRM party and a backing by President Museveni.

Mr Museveni, while addressing a rally on Wednesday, said: "We are here to elect someone to replace our comrade (William Alenyo) who died. He worked with us to push Nebbi forward. Fill his place with someone who can carry on the same things."

The determinant issues in the polls

Roads: The Nebbi-Goli road, Parombo-Angal road, Erussi-Goli, Kucwiny-Nyaravur roads have remained blackspots due to the potholes and yet they lead to markets. Some of the bridges have remained broken for decades and this has discouraged businessmen.

The Nebbi-Goli Paidha road that leads to the main market has remained in dilapidated state for decades. Several traders have lost their lives on this road. The President has always in every campaign promised this but without tangible action.

Water: Many of the locals here still depend on unsafe water with exception of those within the municipality.

Recently, the Alwi dry corridor piped water project that runs from Erussi, via Atego, Ndhew, Nyaravur and Alwi Sub-county in Pakwach District was launched but connection remains a problem. The affected people include those in Ndhew, Atego and Erussi Sub-counties.

Electricity: Some parts of the district remain unconnected to the rural electricity. Those connected receive intermittent power supply.

The intermittent supply has failed to attract investors to establish small-scale factories. The cotton factory in Parombo has faced difficulties in processing cotton due to inadequate supply.

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