FDC backed Aciro Otim wins Aruu North County seat

Friday April 7 2017

Ms Lucy Achiro Otim being congratulated by the Electoral Commission Ch

Ms Lucy Achiro Otim (L) being congratulated by the Electoral Commission Chairman Justice Simon Byabakama after being declared winner of the Aruu North parliamentary by-elections on Thursday night  at Pader District Council Hall. Photo by Julius Ocungi 

By Julius Ocungi, Robert Owot & Cissy Makumbi

Pader- Ms Aciro who contested as an independent candidate in the Aruu North County by-election has won the race.

She garnered 16,608 votes (63.36 percent) to beat her close rival closest rival Mr Nabinson Kidega who polled 8,450 votes (32.75 percent) who contested on the National Resistance Movement ticket.

Mr Bernard Ology Obina of the Democratic Party polled 411 votes (1.59 percent). Mr David Ojera got 54 votes [0.21 percent],  Mr Justine Boswell Oryema, polled 173 (0.67 percent) votes  while Mr Henry Komakech Banya got 108 votes (0.42 percent).

The District returning officer Mr Joseph Omona declared Ms Aciro the new Aruu North MP at 11 pm.

President Yoweri Museveni camped in the area to campaign for Mr Kidega. Although the Forum for Democratic Change did not field a candidate, the party supported Ms Aciro.

"My team faced a lot of intimidation and financial challenges but we sailed through. The people of Aruu have spoken and decided who they want as leader and that I promised to lead them," a joyful Ms Aciro told reporters.

The seat fell vacant in February after the Court of Appeal upheld the High Court decision to nullify Ms Aciro’s victory citing non-compliance with electoral laws. Ms Aciro was sued by Mr Kidega.

Some violent scenes

Voting was, however, marred by violence caused by supporters of both the ruling National Resistance Movement and Opposition Forum for Democratic Change parties.

Voting started on a calm Thursday morning, but by midday, the situation threatened to boil over with supporters of the two candidates attacking each other.

The first incident was reported in Atanga Sub-county where FDC mobiliser in charge of the North, Mr Kerry Komakech, was attacked by suspected NRM supporters.

He was severely beaten up in Lacekocot by these individuals who were travelling aboard a tipper lorry. An agent of Ms Aciro, Mr Walter Oringa, who was with Mr Komakech at the time, also suffered the unprovoked wrath of this mob.

Both men ended up at Atanga Health Centre III where they were admitted for medical treatment.

Mr Komakech said about 50 people, who he suspected were ferried by Mr Kidega, assaulted them as they were monitoring the on-going election and on their way to Laraba Polling Station. The suspects allegedly robbed him of Shs200,000 which was in his pocket.

“As we followed them, they stopped and some of them jumped out and began beating us. They used clubs while others kicked and boxed us,” Mr Oringa said.

A case of assault has been reported at police under reference SD06/06/04/2017 at Angagura Police Station. Electoral Commission spokesman Jonathan Taremwa visited the victims at the health centre where he condemned the attack and promised to take up the matter with the police.

“There is no need to assault each other,” he said.

Dr Kenneth Omona, deputy NRM treasurer, said his party wants a peaceful election and in case NRM supporters assaulted someone “we shall take it up as a party for disciplinary action”.

Dr Omona also instructed the police to protect the victims so that they are not harmed while receiving treatment.

“In case the victims had done something, they should have called police to intervene rather than taking the law into their hands,” Dr Omona said.

In Angagura Sub-county, the LCI chairman, Mr Francis Oryema, and his wife were beaten up at their garden in Kalawiny village.

They were wearing NRM T-shirts when they were attacked by yet unidentified persons.

“At the moment, the victims are admitted at Angagura Health Centre III, but plans are underway to transfer them to Lacor Hospital for further treatment,” Dr Omona said.

He said the NRM will still caution their supporters not to engage in revenge attacks. The LC3 chairman for Angagura Central village, Mr Lazarus Kidega Obo, blamed the police for what happened.

“I informed the police about what was on the ground on Wednesday but they did not pick interest in it. I observed unfamiliar faces in the area but when I informed police they did not show up,” he said.

One of the other contestants, Mr Justin Boswell Oryema said, “There has been a lot of intimidation and threats to the residents.”

EC registrar Joseph Omona told Daily Monitor that the situation is now calm.

“Those [were] isolated cases and they have been managed, I have been monitoring and in all the polling stations I have reached the situation is normal and voting is going on well,” he said yesterday.