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Opposition Struggling to Front Candidates in Acholi

Most opposition politicians have opted to contest on the independent ticket while others have since reversed their decisions and joined the ruling NRM, a party they once vehemently opposed.
01 Sep 2020 14:59
Former FDC President Rtd. Col. Dr. Kizza Besigye (L), Kilak South County MP GilberOlanya and Patrick Obongi Amuriat cutting ribon to open new FDC offices in Kitgum Municipality

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The Opposition is struggling to identify and front candidates against the National Resistance Movement (NRM) party in Acholi ahead of the 2021 polls.

They have failed to identify candidates for Parliamentary seats, LCV Chairperson, District Councilors, Urban Council III Chairpersons, Mayors and Sub-County LCIII Chairpersons. 

Acholi sub-region has for decades been a stronghold for the opposition but with primaries for the different political parties fast approaching, the opposition candidates in Omoro, Lamwo, Pader, Agago, Nwoya and Kitgum Districts are thin at the grassroots with exception of Kitgum and Gulu compared to the NRM party.

Most opposition politicians have opted to contest on the independent ticket while others have since reversed their decisions and joined the ruling NRM, a party they once vehemently opposed. For instance is Beatrice Atim Anywar, the Kitgum Municipality Woman MP, who crossed from Forum for Democratic Change -FDC party to NRM.

Those who opted to contest on independent ticket include former Leader of Opposition Prof. Morris Ogenga Latigo in Agago North, Samuel Odonga Otto Aruu County and Simon Oyet Nwoya County.

Others include Emmanuel Mwaka Lutukumoi who crossed from DP to NRM and is now contesting for Gulu East City Division MP under the independent ticket. Martin Ojara Martin Mapenduzi, the incumbent Gulu District LCV Chairman also opted out of FDC to contest as an independent candidate for Gulu West City Division parliamentary seat.

Moses Laker, a member of the Democratic Party in Gulu observes that the recently implemented three-month lockdown by President Yoweri Museveni against the COVID-19 pandemic highly popularized the NRM party to the disadvantage of the opposition parties.

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Justus Tugume, an NRM leaning independent candidate contesting for Kilak North parliamentary seat in Amuru District argues that NRM has better resources to identify, develop and sustain or woo talented leaders from other parties.

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Alex Odongo Okoya, the interim UPC party Chairman in Gulu notes that UPC is still strong on the ground and will front potential candidates for all elective positions ahead of 2021 polls. He says that the party will produce the next Leader of Opposition in Parliament.

Speaking during a recent party dialogue meeting in Gulu, Patrick Oboi Amuriat, the FDC party President lambasted individuals who associate with NRM party. He accused the NRM of underdevelopment and the prolonged war in Acholi.

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Several opposition politicians in the region thrived underneath emotional intelligence, facilitated by the narrative of the two-decade-long insurgency orchestrated by the Lord’s Resistance Army rebels against the government.

However, since flashing out of the LRA rebel outfit from Uganda and subsequent restoration of peace in the region is 2006, the NRM government has significantly enjoyed increasing support from local community.