The opposition have accused the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) camp of bribing voters to vote for their candidate Andrew Ojok Oulanyah, ahead of Omoro county byelection slated for tomorrow, 26th May 2022.
Six candidates are vying to fill the vacant seat previously occupied by former speaker of parliament Jacob Oulanyah who passed away on March 20, 2022. The candidates are; Simon Toolit Akecha of National Unity Platform (NUP), Andrew Ojok Oulanyah (NRM) and Oscar Kizza (Alliance for National Transformation). Others are; Terrence Odonga, Jimmy Walter Onen, and Justine Odong of the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC).
Today, the Leader of Opposition (LOP) Mathias Mpuuga said they have information that NRM officials are distributing 20,000 shillings to each household in Omoro in a bid to influence the result of tomorrow’s election.
Mpuuga also claims NRM is ferrying people from the neighboring Lango sub-region to illegally participate in Thursday polls.
“We have information of ongoing voter bribery, the NRM is distributing 20,000/= per household, they’re also ferrying people from Lango to vote for the state’s candidate” Mpuuga said in a tweet after a press conference held today in Gulu city.
Mpuuga said tomorrow’s vote is about the dignity of the people of Omoro and sending an unequivocal to the authorities all and sundry that they deserve better because they have endured poor living conditions as if they do not belong to Uganda. He said the 20,000 being distributed by NRM is a sign of disrespect since it cannot offer essential services the communities lack.
“We’re nonetheless prepared to deal with all the machinations they state is trying to employ in this by-election. We don’t fear losing an election if it is an honorable defeat! What we shall not allow is losing fraudulently” Mpuuga added.
Ever since the campaigns started in Omoro, the opposition has consistently levelled bribery claims against NRM saying it happens in every rally convened by their candidate Ojok.
Mpuuga says what he expects tomorrow is to really expose what happened in previous elections and the Electoral Commission must up it’s game to redeem the tainted image.
“Our message to the people at EC is that, we don’t trust you, we remember what you did in Kayunga, you have a change to redeem your image. But we are here to defend the integrity of the people of Omoro. You are in the dock and the jury is there to see whether you have learned from your past mistakes.” He stated.
The opposition says they are aware of plans of ballot-stuffing in areas of Lakidi, Lwakwana and some places of Lwakwaya and have alerted locals to be on the watch out for strangers who have been ferried from Lira and other places to interfere with their choice.