Mao told Uganda Radio Network that people of Acholi can only send a strong message that they are unhappy by voting for him. Voting him, Mao argue will be Acholi’s contribution to the struggle of liberating Uganda. But he hastened to say that he will not complain if Acholi people don’t vote him.
When Democratic Party -DP’s Norbert Mao contested for
presidency in 2011, he won Nwoya with 54 percent. He also won Amuru and Gulu
districts scoring 44 and 42 percent respectively. Mao also polled 35 percent in
And Mao is the only candidate who has ever snatched a district
from President Museveni and Forum for Democratic Change (FDC’s) four-time
presidential candidate, Dr Kizza Besigye.
The north had another candidate in the 2011 election: ambassador
Olara Otunnu, who carried Uganda People Congress (UPC) flag. Otunnu’s best
scores were; Amudat where he polled 29 percent, Lamwo where he polled 20
percent and Nebbi where he scored 17 percent.
The presence of these two candidates greatly affected Dr.
Besigye's performance in Acholi sub region. Besigye had won all Acholi districts impressively
polling more 70 percent in all of them in 2006.
Yet in 2011, he did not score more than 22 percent in any Acholi
sub region district. But Museveni improved his scores in the region. He won
Agago which had been carved out of Kigtum with 59 percent and Lamwo also carved
out of Kitgum with 50 percent. He also scored above 40 percent in Pader and
more than 30 percent in Kitgum and Amuru carved out of Gulu.
In 2016, Mao did not contest. Besigye won Gulu and Amuru. He scored
45 percent in Pader and above 30 percent in Lamwo, Agago and Kitgum. Besigye
isn’t in the race but Mao is back.
Mao told Uganda Radio Network that people of Acholi can only
send a strong message that they are unhappy by voting for him. Voting him, Mao
argue will be Acholi’s contribution to the struggle of liberating Uganda. But he hastened to say that he will not
complain if Acholi people don’t vote him.
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Mao also argues that he will have a leverage over Museveni in
Acholi if people are interested in voting for issues rather than money. Mao
also says people of Acholi should not forget that they need a strong candidate advocating
for issues affecting them.
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Mao’s return to the race and Museveni's scores in Acholi in 2016
show that opposition has a chance to perform better in this sub region.
Museveni scored above 50 percent only in Agago district. He scored above 40 in
Lamwo, Nwoya and Kitgum.
Several political analysts in Acholi say there are people whose
voting patterns are still influence by past war memories.
Museveni’s defeat in 2001 and 2006 elections according
to Author Awor, the Executive Director of Center for African Research in Gulu
were indicators of a desperate move by locals having been distressed by the war
between Uganda People’s Defence Forces and Lord’s Resistance Army rebels. Owor
says the votes were in protest of the situation the locals were undergoing at
//cue in: “In 2001 Acholi…
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He notes that even when the violence subsided, locals still kept
holding President Museveni accountable for the political violence, a trend that
continued in 2006 till 2016 presidential elections favoring Besigye.
Owor however says much as the Opposition political candidates
thrived on ideas of the LRA war and land injustices in the region, Museveni’s
persistent messages on infrastructural development and consequent
implementation slowly started earning him an upper hand.
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James Ocen, NRM Party Chairperson for Gulu District also highlights
that a combination of factors including the LRA insurgencies, land matters, and
unfulfilled promises by president Museveni in the past gave a hostile ground
for the NRM party.
He says the opposition political candidates especially four-time
presidential candidate Dr. Besigye capitalized on peddling “lies” about the war
and land matter in Acholi which by then was still contentious, earning him
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Ocen believes unlike the past presidential elections in which
President Museveni failed to receive support in the region, the 2021
presidential poll projects their candidate will win massively. He says the
strong NRM structure rolled out in the villages and fulfillment of pledges and
developmental programs have galvanized support for Museveni.
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Does the opposition have a chance in
2021 general polls? Although National Unity Platform-NUP presidential candidate
Robert Ssentamu Kyagulanyi has emerged as hot challenger against Museveni’s
over three decades’ rules, Owor believes that the good grounds enjoyed by Dr.
Besigye in the past general polls may never repeat itself in 2021.
This he attributes to Dr. Besigye’s well composed structures
that comprised of influential figures from Acholi Sub-region which appealed to
the masses unlike Kyagulanyi’s NUP whose structure is not well-composed.
Emmy Daniel Ojara is a young journalist and has been practicing since 2013, during which he covered land rights violation in the contested Apaa and Lakang in Amuru as his first take ups while at Gulu Fm, Favor Fm and later Paidha Fm and Speak Fm where he is still attached.
Human rights abuses and denied access to land by security and government agencies has been the major aftermath of the contest over the lands. The underprivileged such as women, children and the elderly faced challenges in accessing soc