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Akol Challenges Election of New Acholi Parliamentary Group Leaders :: Uganda Radionetwork
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Akol Challenges Election of New Acholi Parliamentary Group Leaders

“Be informed that APG has 30 members and 3 ex-officios. Therefore, five members out of 30 cannot sit and appoint themselves to the leadership of the APG without following due process. The APG leaders are elected but not appointed,” Anywar’s statement reads in part.
Kilak North MP Anthony Akol

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Kilak North Member of Parliament Anthony Akol has challenged the election of the new chairperson and executive members of the Acholi Parliamentary Group (APG), describing the process as illegal and fake. Akol, who has been the APG chairperson, since July 2021, says that the new team of APG leaders voted themselves into office without the knowledge of the majority of legislators.

His uproar comes nearly five days after a 15-member executive of APG was unveiled by the new Secretary General also the Kilak South legislator Gilbert Olanya. The members among others include Amos John Okot, the Agago North legislator who was reportedly elected as the new APG Chairperson with his vice Betty Aol Ocan, Gulu City Woman Legislator, while the Deputy Secretary General is Denis Onekalit Amere, the Kitgum Municipality legislator.

Speaking to Uganda Radio Network in an interview over the weekend, Akol claims that he is still the legitimate Chairperson of APG until a genuine election for new leaders is held. His two and half year's term of office however had ended on January 23 this year since his election in July 2021.

According to Akol, the election was conducted in his absence when he had traveled out of the country on a 14-day Parliamentary budget committee work. Akol explains that out of the 30 members of the APG, only five legislators sat down and claimed they had conducted an election against an agreed date for an election to be held on February 22.

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He says that those who claimed to have taken over the mantle of the APG have all along been fighting his leadership due to his stance on the eviction of Balaalo cattle keepers from the Acholi Sub-region.

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Ricky Richard Anywar, the Agago West County legislator whose term of office as the Vice Chairperson of APG expired last month in a statement noted that the purported election is an intrigue and external influence aimed at tearing down the association of Acholi legislators.

Anywar noted that a genuine and transparent election is being arranged and shall be conducted on February 22 from Parliament following the rightful procedures adding that those interested should express their interests. 

“Be informed that APG has 30 members and 3 ex-officios. Therefore, five members out of 30 cannot sit and appoint themselves to the leadership of the APG without following due process. The APG leaders are elected but not appointed,” Anywar’s statement reads in part.

But John Amos Okot, the new APG Chairperson who had been the Secretary General of APG says the term of office of the former Chairperson and his executives ended last month and they had no power to call for an election. Okot notes that shortly after the term of office of the APG Chairperson and executives expired, the powers of calling for election remained with him as a former Secretary General which he transparently did.

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Okot denied allegations that the new members were illegally elected and had an ill motive towards tearing apart the umbrella association for legislators in the Acholi Sub-region adding that there won't be a second election. He said the new APG chairperson, his vision is to continue the fight against the illegal settlement of migrant cattle keepers arguing that the implementation of the eviction has been flawed by fraud.

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Gulu City Woman legislator Betty Aol Ocan who has been elected as the APG Vice Chairperson however accused Akol of failing to offer transparent leadership and resolve conflicts among the legislators from Acholi. Aol says whereas she didn’t participate in the purported election, she has welcomed her new role and vowed to fill in the gaps left by past APG executive members.

Acholi Parliamentary Group was founded in 1989 and has over the years been regarded as one of the vocal convocations for Acholi legislators in addressing emerging challenges facing the Sub-region. However, infights among the members and power struggles have seen the once-powerful association slowly disintegrating.  

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