NRM divided over  Serere by-election

Montage (L-R): The NRM electoral commission chairman Mr Tanga Odoi, the son of the late MP Patrick Okabe, Mr Emmanuel Omoding Okabe and  NRM flagbearer for the 2021 election Mr Phillip Oucor. PHOTOS/FILE

What you need to know:

  • Display of the voters register shall be conducted from January 23 to February 1 in all the 38 parishes. There are 138 polling stations.
  • Nomination of candidates will take place on February 9 and 10 while campaigns will run from February  13 to  21 from 8am to 6pm .  

Some leaders of the National Resistance Movement (NRM) have rejected Phillip Oucor as the party’s flagbearer in the Serere County by-election. 
During a meeting held on Monday, the party’s electoral commission chairperson    Mr Tanga  Odoi asked more than 200 party leaders to support Oucor in the by-election slated for next month. 
 But some leaders disagreed. They fronted Emmanuel Omoding Okabe to replace his father Patrick Okabe.  Okabe, the Serere County Member of Parliament, died in a car accident on Mbale-Tirinyi highway on December 19, 2022. As a result, the parliamentary seat fell vacant. 
Mr Charles Erimu, the Chairperson Atiira Sub-county, said he and more than 250 leaders petitioned the NRM secretariat last week. They asked the party to endorse Okabe. He reiterated the same position during the Monday meeting.
“We the structure leaders of NRM disagree with any position of the party as long as it’s not the son of Late Okabe, Emmanuel Omoding. The problem is the way Mr Oucor came to the politics of Serere was not in the right way,” he said.

Mr Stephen Otage, the chairperson Kateta Sub-County, said the party must listen to the majority.
 “Our position is clear to the party and they know it,” he added.
 Mr Odoi  held the meeting in the county to canvass support for Mr Oucor, who was given the flag ahead of the 2021 elections. 

 He, however, said he would continue reaching out to the rival camp.
 “I want us to have dialogue and we must respect the opinions of everybody including the current flag bearer,” Mr Odoi added.
 Mr Oucor said:  “The NRM party constitution shouldn’t be raped, just because we want to hand the flag to the late Okabe’s son.”

 He added that he was rightfully elected during the NRM party primaries as the flag bearer, which flag he still has the right to hold until the five years expire.
 Mr Oucor said it is in the spirit of protecting the party constitution that he has offered himself to contest for the seat.
He was convinced he would win the by-election slated for February 23, based on his performance in the 2021 poll.

He finished second with 12,631 votes while Okabe, an independent candidate, polled 17,826 votes.  
The race had six candidates who also included Forum for Democratic Change’s Joshua Eyaru, National Unity Platform’s Richard Mukhalu Okodel and independent candidates Martin Onguruco and Emmanuel Eratu. 
Onguruco garnered 10,513 votes while the remaining three candidates polled less than 2,000 votes each. 

Four people have so far expressed interest in the seat. They include Mr Oucor, Mr Onguruco, Mr Omoding Okabe and Ms Alice Alaso Asianut, the Secretary General of the opposition party Alliance for National Transformation (ANT).  
Ms Alaso previously served as the Serere District Woman Member of Parliament for three terms on the FDC ticket.
She contested for the same seat on the ANT ticket in 2021 but lost to NRM’s Hellen Adoa. Adoa garnered 50,254 votes while Alaso got 19,424 votes in the race that attracted 5 candidates.