Gogonyo County By-Election: EC Insists There Are Three Candidates

the Pallisa District Electoral Commission Returning Officer, Daniel Othieno, says that there are three candidates in the race including Okoboi as far as he is concerned since he hasn't recieved any formal communication indicating his withdrawal from the elections.
Daniel Othieno Returning Officer Pallisa District

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The Electoral Commission insists that there are still three candidates in the Gogonyo county parliamentary elections in Pallisa district. It comes days after Papa Paul Sande Emokol, the embattled Emorimori of Teso issued a statement indicating that the National Unity Platform-NUP candidate, Joseph Okoboi Opoloti had withdrawn from the race.

“I have had cordial discussions with my son Mr. Joseph Okoboi Opolot of Gogonyo county, Pallisa district on various matters of common interest pertaining to the unity of our people the Iteso and the country at large. Upon my advice, and in the interest of our people, and the unity of the region, he has agreed to step aside and withdraw his candidature for any leadership role in Gogonyo,” the statement that went viral on social media reads in part. 

Okoboi couldn't be reached for comment on the matter. However, our reporter saw a copy of a letter purportedly signed by Okoboi to the NUP Secretary General confirming his withdrawal from the race. “Democracy and participation are by choice; I, therefore, wish to notify you that I have withdrawn my candidature without any fear or favor,” he said. According to the letter, Okoboi notes that he decided to withdraw from the parliamentary following consultations with his Cultural leader and his close family members.

However, the Pallisa District Electoral Commission Returning Officer, Daniel Othieno, says that there are three candidates in the race including Okoboi as far as he is concerned since he hasn't recieved any formal communication indicating his withdrawal from the elections.

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Okoboi’s withdraw from the race has not gone well with opposition leaders who accuse the Emorimori of taking sides in political matters contrary to the laws guiding cultural leaders. John Baptist Nambeshe, the Opposition Chief Whip and the NUP vice president for Eastern Region wondered why it is the cultural leader who announced Okoboi's purported withdrawal from the elections.

Martin Opolot Chedikol, Okoboi’s personal Assistant said that it was very unfortunate for the cultural leader to take a side in this election instead of playing a uniting role. 

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Isa Taligoola Bantalib, an independent candidate in the  Gogonyo county parliamentary elections accuses the ruling National Resistance Movement-NRMof using propaganda and social media to hoodwink voters that he has withdrawn from the race.  He also wonders why the Emorimori would take on the role to persuade candidates to withdraw from the race yet he is supposed to be neutral and a unifying factor.

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Gabriel Opolo Onoge, the Iteso Union Cultural Union Information Minister, says the public has blown the cultural leader's role out of proportion. He explains that both Okoboi and the NRM candidate, Derick Orone approached the Emorimori with an already agreed position for the unity of the people of Pallisa. 

"The emorimori was just approached to mediate between the two leaders for the good of the people of Teso," he said. The Gogonyo County seat fell vacant following the court of appeal decision that nullified Orone’s victory over election irregularities.  The by-elections are slated for August 11th, 2022. President Museveni is expected in the constituency today to campaign for Orone in his capacity as the National NRM party chairperson.

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