What you need to know:
- Ms Sylvia Chepetegei Nangendo, the returning officer for Serere District declared Omoding as victor with 15,638 votes against his closest contender Oucor of NRM who got 13,206 vote.
- Omoding replaces his father, Patrick Okabe, who died in a car crash on December 19, 2022 alongside his wife Christine Okabe
Mr Emmanuel Omoding, the son of the late Patrick Okabe, has been declared the winner of the Serere County parliamentary by-election.
Ms Sylvia Cheptegei Nangendo, the Serere District returning officer, declared Mr Omoding the winner with 15,638 votes, while his closest rival, Mr Phillip Oucor of NRM, got 13,206 votes.
“By the powers entrusted to me, I declare Emmanuel Omoding as the duly elected MP for Serere County, having obtained the majority vote,” Ms Cheptegei said.
Ms Alice Alaso of Opposition Alliance for National Transformation (ANT) got 3,339; Mr Martin Onguruco, an independent, got 2,523, and Mr Emmanuel Eratu of FDC came last with 1,252.
The returning officer said they cancelled results of four polling stations of Olomai in Atiira, Kangod in Ocaapa, Angole in Kyere, and Odokai in Atiira because of electoral malpractices, which were reported by the various candidates.
The election that started well in the morning hours turned violent in the afternoon when armed security officers raided some polling stations in Kateta, Kyere, and Atiira with pre-ticked ballot papers, allegedly in favour of the NRM candidate.
By the time of declaring the final results at the tally centre, Mr Omoding was the only candidate present.
The Electoral Commission chairperson, Justice Simon Byabakama, commended the people of Serere County for a peaceful campaign and voting exercise amid some irregularities.
He assured the voters that their choice will be respected. “To you the declared winner, don’t take the victory for prestige, rather use it for sharing development ideas, and build the bridge between the people,” Justice Byabakama told Mr Omoding.
Mr Omoding thanked the voters for the support, saying the victory is an assurance that his father’s legacy will continue. “I pledge to continue with the projects my late father left, and I am ready for the task ahead,” he explained.
Dr Tanga Odoi, the NRM electoral commission chairperson, said as a party, they concede defeat.
He explained that the party loss was caused by internal differences.
“We accept defeat and this is a learning point for us; we wish the candidate good time during his tenure of service, as NRM, we don’t have issues with him, we shall not go to court to challenge his victory,” Dr Tanga said.
A total of 35,954 votes were cast, total rejected votes were 812, total counted votes were 36,766 and spoiled votes were 170.
The entire registered voters for Serere County were 75,000 voters.
What they say
Emmanuel Omoding, winner: “I pledge to continue with the projects my late father left, and I am ready for the task ahead.”
Dr Tanga Odoi, the NRM electoral commission chairperson: «We accept defeat and this is a learning point for us; we wish the candidate good time during his tenure of service, as NRM, we don’t have issues with him, we shall not go to court to challenge his victory.”
Justice Simon Byabakama, EC chairperson: “To you the declared winner, don’t take the victory for prestige, rather use it for sharing development ideas, and build the bridge between the people.”
Who is Omoding
Initially, a rift had emerged as majority NRM leaders from Serere County fronted Mr Omoding.
Mr Omoding was chosen despite the party having Mr Oucor, who was the substantive NRM party flag bearer.
The two factions failed to harmonise, with Mr Omoding getting nominated as an independent candidate and Mr Oucor remaining as the NRM flag bearer. These were joined by Mr Martin Onguruco, also an NRM leaning independent candidate.
At the time of his father’s death, he had been living in Australia. Mr Omoding was backed to contest by a number of politicians, notable among them, the Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Mr Thomas Tayebwa. He rode on the father’s popularity among the NRM structures and the locals whose late father touched their hearts.