NRM cadres split over candidate for Soroti East by-election

Edmund Herbert Ariko, the NRM candidate for Soroti Municipality MP seat. Photo | Courtesy

What you need to know:

  • On Tuesday afternoon, a number of NRM leaders who converged at Soroti Sports View Hotel protested the choice of Mr Herbert Edmund Ariko, a former member of the Forum for Democratic Change party, as their flag bearer.

A group of National Resistance Movement (NRM) party cadres in Soroti District have protested the choice of  the flagbearer for Soroti City East Division by-election.

The seat was declared vacant by the Court of Appeal last month.

On Tuesday afternoon, a number of NRM leaders who converged at Soroti Sports View Hotel protested the choice of Mr Herbert Edmund Ariko, a former member of the Forum for Democratic Change party, as their flag bearer.

Mr Stephen Omoding, one of the aggrieved cadres, who has since expressed intentions to contest as an Independent candidate, told the Monitor that they were not consulted.

“The consensus building was done by the secretariat in bad faith without asking who the interested aspirants for the seat are. They dished out money to the NRM party executive members from the 13 wards of Sorot i City,”  he said.

Mr Ariko was chosen by consensus during a meeting chaired by Capt (Rtd) Mike Mukula, the NRM vice chairperson for eastern region, at Jerresar High Shool in Soroti Town two weeks ago.

Mr Omoding said as party members, they had a flag bearer by the name of Mr Jimmy Ekemu, who he claimed was compromised by the party leadership.

Ms Sarah Inachu, another NRM cadre, threatened to contest as an Independent, unless the anomalies in declaring Mr Ariko as flag bearer are corrected.

“It should be noted that we never stepped down for anyone,” Ms Inachu said. Mr Willy Bisanga, the Soroti City NRM chairperson, said the party cadres shouldn’t be complaining because Mr Ekemu sacrificed the flag for the good of the party.

Capt Mukula, who is also the former MP for Soroti Municipality, while unveiling Mr Ariko as the NRM flag bearer, said the decision was reached by consensus. 

He said bringing on board Opposition stalwarts is part of party building.

Mr Ariko, who has officially crossed to the NRM party, said he was a formidable candidate who would unite the people of Soroti.

In 2016, Mr Ariko contested as the FDC party flag bearer and won the MP seat for Soroti Municipality, but in 2021 elections, he lost to Mr Moses Attan Okia after Soroti was elevated to city status.

He dragged Mr Okia and the Electoral Commission to court on grounds that he lost because elections were held outside the gazetted boundaries.

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