Alupo, Ogwang battle for supremacy in Katakwi

Sunday May 12 2019

No longer at ease. Usuk County MP and

No longer at ease. Usuk County MP and parliamentary commissioner Peter Ogwang (L) and former Education minister Jessica Alupo. FILE PHOTO 

By Peter Emwamu

As the 2021 general election draws nearer, the political tempo in the restive Teso district of Katakwi has reached alarming levels as parliamentary commissioner Peter Ogwang and former Education minister Jessica Alupo lock horns for supremacy.

The sticky points in the rivalry are hinged on suspected giveaway of Guyaguya land, which straddles the sub-counties of Ongongoja, Palam and Ngariam, which Members of Parliament Peter Ogwang (Usuk County, NRM), Violet Akurut Adome (Katakwi Woman, NRM) and Katawki LC5 chairperson Walter Elakas are allegedly accused of trying to grab, but the trio have dismissed the allegations as false, saying they are being brought to the fore by Alupo’s camp.

Key players on the side of Ogwang are LC5 boss Elakas, formally Alupo’s handler, and Woman MP Akurut.
On the other hand, the strategists for the former minister are Filbert Ocailap, former RDC for Soroti, and Stephen Ilemukorit, former LC5 chairperson for Katakwi District.

Recently, President Museveni had to shuttle between two nearby venues to address his supporters after the two warring camps of Ogwang and Alupo rejected to be addressed by the President in one venue.

The fight between the two NRM stalwarts has raised political temperatures, which might leave several political bruises and casualties as we build up to the 2021 polls.

In effect, Ogwang, who arrives in his constituency with a string of armed escorts, seems to be exploiting his incumbency to deflect inquest on allegations making rounds on social media over his farm in Okuliak, which Alupo’s handlers claim was a youth project now taken up by the MP.

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While Alupo, who has taken to personally grazing her cows in the lash grasslands other than enjoying the ambience of Kampala as former Education minister, seems to be working out her campaign antics to oust Ogwang and his protégé Akurut, who defeated Alupo in 2016.

The former minister has settled down in her home village in Ongongoja Sub-county, where her strategists make visits as she also treks the district, attending functions, burials, much to the detriment of Ogwang and Akurut with busy schedules in Kampala.
The political tempo is heightened by the entry of former Soroti RDC Ocailap on the side of Alupo.

Ocailap, a teacher by profession who unsuccessfully run for the Usuk LC3 seat in 2001, served as a political assistant to Alupo, under whose influence it is believed he was appointed Katakwi RDC before being transferred to Soroti where he was relieved of his duties in 2017, which Ocailap entirely blames on Ogwang and his protégés.

Since then, Ocailap retreated to his home village of Usuk and has expressed interest in the Usuk County seat currently being occupied by Peter Ogwang, and to many this is the reason for the public spats in Katakwi.

To Ogwang, there is no political tension, and mistrust from voters against his incumbency, “what is happening is that the old guard that lost 2016 elections is out to fight their way back through soiling and hiring youth to cause mayhem against the current leadership”.
“Those who lost elections, and have never appreciated the verdict of the people, should let us serve, [and] deliver services which people entrusted us to do,” the area MP said during the President’s visit to Ngariam Sub-county.

Ogwang says the Okulaik farm that is discussed on social media and other public places is a ploy by the other camp to cause public disbelief at a time that he is about to hand out goats.

“I started this farm project with my own efforts less than two years ago with the intention to rear more than 1,000 goats and distribute them to women in Usuk County as a means to fight household poverty. It is now one and a half years since I started this project and it is flourishing with more than 10,000 goats and I will soon be distributing them to communities,” he says.

On the issue of the land, Ogwang says it was a proposal by the leadership through the ministry of Agriculture to have a resilience programme on breeding of animals, but the programme was fought by his rivals.

When approached for comment, Alupo laughed off the allegations that she is she is bent on fighting the incumbents.
“I have no role in the current bickering between the voters land their MP,” she said.

But Paul Ongoet, aspiring LC5 chairperson for Katakwi, says the tension should be blamed on camps hating each other, “It is a war between some selfish politicians and the people.”

“The people of Katakwi know that their politicians are making a living out of politics and not fair representation. They misrepresented our position on age limit, they misinformed government on Angisa, Olilim, and Guyaguya land, now the people are homeless and unable to cultivate. The lands are under protection of army,” Ongoet says.

Players
Key players on the side of Ogwang are LC5 boss Elakas, formally Alupo’s handler, and Woman MP Akurut.
On the other hand, the strategists for the former minister are Filbert Ocailap, the former RDC of Soroti, and Stephen Ilemukorit, the former LC5 chairperson for Katakwi District.
The fight between the two NRM stalwarts has raised political temperatures, which might leave several political bruises and casualties as we build up to the 2021 polls.

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