Local government leaders from Teso and Buganda regions stormed out of the Uganda Local Government Association-ULGA in Moroto Annual General Meeting.
The walkout followed the withdrawal of Walter Elakas Okiring who stepped down from the ULGA presidential race. Elakas with four others had initially expressed interest in the ULGA presidency.
However the outgoing ULGA President, George Mutabaazi stepped down in the morning, in favor of the Karamoja candidate, Joseph Lomonyang.
Mutabaazi argued that since Karamoja was still developing and hadn't had ULGA president, it was an opportunity for the region to steer the association by voting Lomonyang.
However, Mutabaazi's remarks didn't go well with some delegates. Several leaders, especially from Teso jumped onto the podium, contesting his statement. It took the intervention of the security officials including Lt. Gen. Charles Angina, who was in attendance to calm the situation.
At break time, several leaders were seen in different cycles of discussions. Some claimed that Mutabaazi had been bribed to step down for Lomonyang, an accusation Mutabaazi refuted.
When the nominations started, only three candidates including Elakas from Katakwi, Lomonyang from Napak and Joseph Luzige from Mityana district were nominated. But as nominations for other positions continued, some of the Teso team members were seen engaged in phone calls, a development that later saw Elakas step down.
Before he stepped down, the chairman electoral commission of ULGA, Charles Musoke told the gathering that one of the candidates had something to communicate to the audience. Soon after, murmurs ensued in the house.
Elakas, who was expected to make his communication before the two candidates instead, apologized.
The other candidate, Joseph Luzige, in his speech insinuated that there was some external force behind the elections; something he asked members to defy.
// Cue in “As you are…
Cue out…or not “//.
But Lomonyang, in his speech asked for unity and cooperation for the development of the association.
// Cue in “Colleagues, we must…
Cue out…the association”//
The Teso team that stormed out declined to comment on the matter when contacted.
Mutabaazi, who caused the tension in the meeting, disappeared from the meeting during break time.
ULGA elections are conducted every two and half years. Kabarole district chairperson, Richard Rwabuhinga, who had initially expressed interest in the ULGA presidency instead nominated Lomonyang.