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Disunity, Voter Bribery Cost Opposition Seats in Acholi

NRM won 18 out of the 27 parliamentary seats in Acholi. FDC secured only six positions, one position went to DP, one other to the Peoples Progressive Party-PPP and one to an independent candidate.
03 Feb 2021 07:43
NUP rally at Awere Play Ground in Gulu City - Photo by Dominic Ochola

Audio 5

The Forum for Democratic Change – FDC and the Democratic Party have cited disunity, intimidation and voter bribery as the cause of their dismal performance across Acholi region, in recent elections.

Acholi has been a stronghold for the two opposition political parties over the years. However, the recent Presidential, Parliamentary and local government elections changed the tide in favour of the ruling National Resistance Movement – NRM party.

NRM won  18 out of the 27 parliamentary seats in Acholi. FDC secured only six positions, one position went to DP, one other to the Peoples Progressive Party-PPP and one to an independent candidate.

The Opposition lost seats that were initially occupied by Ronald Reagan Okumu, Franka Judith Akello (Agago), Lyandro Komakech, and Simon Oyet, among others. However, FDC's dominance in the region was also reduced after its influential and long-serving supporters like Samuel Odonga Otto and Prof. Ogenga Latigo exited.

But Okumu asserts that the opposition lost the grip on their stronghold in Acholi because of disunity which NRM exploited to their advantage.

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Patrick Oola Lumumba, the FDC Chairperson in Gulu City attributed their loss to gross voter bribery by the NRM compounded by widespread intimidation of the population by the government security personnel before and during elections.

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Betty Aol Ocan, the Leader of Opposition – LOP in Parliament, explains that the government curtailed the freedom of rival parties through an imposed lockdown and restrictions over the spread of coronavirus disease.

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Meanwhile, Norbert Mao the Democratic party – DP flag bearer in the just concluded Presidential elections accused the Electoral Commission - EC of being partisan in its activities which favoured the NRM government to leverage the opposition.

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But Jacob Oulanyah, the Deputy Speaker of Parliament and NRM National Vice Chairperson for Northern Uganda attributed their victory to the hard work exhibited by the party structures and consolidated achievements of the party in the LRA post-war era.