Dozens of LC5 candidates are eying nine slots in Lango Sub-region as the country elects district leaders today.
In Apac, Asante Odongo of Uganda Peoples Congress (UPC), the current LC5 vice chairperson, is battling for the seat with three others after the incumbent, Bob Okae, was elected Member of Parliament for Kwania North constituency.
Others in the race are Walter Obang of Forum for Democratic Change's (FDC), Billy Okunyo of National Resistance Movement (NRM), and Mr Anthony Olobo Odur, who is standing as an Independent.
Mr Okunyo served as the Apac District Education Officer from 2007 until 2019 when he retired while Mr Obang is a farmer. Mr Olobo is the son of the Lango paramount chief, Mr Yosam Odur Ebii.
Mr Moses Agona, a resident of Alwala cell in Central ward in Apac Municipality, said Mr Odongo has a high chance of winning Apac District LC5 seat due to his previous leadership in the area.
"Odongo has served in the district council for more than 10 years, so he has vast experience in running the district affairs and I believe is a better candidate than others," he said.
Mr Geoffrey Ebil, a resident of Teboke Village in Ibuje Sub-county, said the support for Mr Odongo is very high, putting him ahead of other candidates.
"He has been with us for a very long time and we strongly believe that he is the right man to take up the seat. He rose from a councillor to a prominent member of the district executive, and we shall give him support," he said.
However, Mr Nelson Ogwal, a resident of Ayegero Village in Apac Sub-county, said Mr Okunyu also has a big support in their area.
However, the issues of transparency, accountability, and infrastructural development are likely to influence the voting pattern in Apac.
Mr Okunyo has pledged to weed out corruption that has tainted the image of the current UPC leadership in Apac.
However, Mr Odongo said UPC will prioritise education and road development.
In Dokolo, the incumbent, Frederick Odongo, aka Kong fu Master, an Independent candidate, is battling to retain the seat he has occupied for the last five years.
Mr Odongo was trounced by a newcomer, Mr Ogwang Awitong, in the NRM party primaries, however, he opted to contest as an independent in an attempt to retain his seat.
Mr Odongo is up against six others who include Ambrose Ogwang Awitong of NRM, James Apili Otto of FDC, Henry Okello Omara of ANT, Patrick Bob Olake of NUP, Denis Ekoch of UPC, and Mr Edwin Odur Luru, who is contesting on an Independent ticket.
In Kole, the incumbent Betty Nam (Independent) is battling for the seat with two others Andrew Awany of NRM and Independent candidate Fredinand Okello Alele.
Mr Alele was beaten by Mr Awany, the former Resident District Commissioner of Alebtong in the NRM primaries and opted to contest as an Independent candidate.
In Otuke, the incumbent Bosco Odongo Obote (NRM) is in the race with Mr Otim Tom (Independent) and UPC's Francis Abola. Mr Otim is a retired head teacher.
Otuke has a slowly growing issue of cattle rustling which has dominated the airwave.
So far, nine suspected Karimojong cattle rustlers have been shot dead in a span of three weeks in the district.
Mr Daniel Ojok Aruca, the Okwang LC3 chairman, earlier told this newspaper that voters would elect their leaders based on their capabilities, not party line.
In Lira, Alex Oremo Alot of UPC is battling two others to retain the seat. One of his challengers is the former district speaker, Mr William Onyanga, who is contesting as an Independent candidate and Mr RCM Okello Orik of the NRM.
Voters say the tight race is between Mr Oremo and Mr Onyanga.
The issues that are likely to influence the election of the LC5 in Lira include the alleged mismanagement of Akii-Bua Memorial Stadium construction by the current leadership, and construction of a new airfield in Anai ward, Lira City, among others.
In Amolatar, the incumbent Simon Peter Ongom Cedu (Independent) is in the race with three others; Martin Okello of NRM, Geoffrey Ocen of UPC, and a former radio presenter, Mr Charles Osendro (Independent).
Mr Ongom lost the NRM flag to Mr Okello during the party primaries and decided to run as an Independent in an attempt to retain the seat.
Mr Fred Ogwang, a local political analyst, said people will elect a leader who will address the issues affecting fishermen.
He said the fishing communities are suffering because of the alleged torture, intimidation, and harassment perpetrated by the army against fishermen suspected to be engaging in illegal fishing activities on Lake Kyoga.
In Oyam, the incumbent Nelson Adea Akar from the UPC party is facing NRM's Benson Dila, whom he trounced in the 2016 elections.
In Kwania, the race for the LC5 seat heated up when Nelson Abili of NRM accused his party leaders of rallying support for his rival Bazil Okell Onach an Independent candidate and the incumbent district chairman.
However, the district NRM chairman, Mr Sammy Omara Agai, denied the allegations.
Others in the race are Alex Ogwal Adyebo of UPC, Jack Etwop of ANT, Mr Geoffrey Amoni (Independent) and Mr Okello Onach.
In Alebtong, NRM's Patrick Okullo Okeng, UPC's Dickens Kennedy Odongo and incumbent LC5 chairman Johnson Okello (Ind) are battling for the seat.
The tight race, according to the voters, is between the incumbent and Mr Odongo.
Mr Odongo abandoned the seat in 2016 to contest in Ajuri County as a Member of Parliament but lost to the incumbent NRM's Denis Hamson Obua.
Nonetheless, voters had reportedly been contributing money to Mr Odongo during his campaign rallies so that he could win the election and recapture the seat.
The issue of cattle rustling has been a major concern of residents in the area and one that residents hope the new leaders will solve.
Currently the government is undertaking an exercise to compensate those who lost their cattle during the 1988 insurgency in the area.
President Museveni during his campaign tour in Lango on November 12, 2020 announced that the government would release a total of Shs150 billion to compensate those that lost livestock during the past insurgencies in Lango, Acholi and Teso.
However, the exercise was slowed down due to irregularities in the lists of those seeking compensation.
Compiled by Bill Oketch, Patrick Ebong, & Isaac Otwii