Last Updated on: 18th June 2023, 12:07 pm
Lira, May 14, 2023: As Oyam North constituents continue to mourn the death of their MP, Col. Rtd. Charles Okello Engola Macodwogo who was killed on May 2, political aspirants have started showing their interest.
Col. Rtd. Engola was laid to rest on Saturday, May 13, 2023, in Awangi village, Iceme, Oyam North after succumbing to bullet wounds shortly after his bodyguard, Private Wilson Sabiiti, gunned him to death.
The deceased, by the time of his killing, was also the State Minister for Labour, Employment and Industrial Relations in the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development.
Engola has been well and sound. His last public appearance was on Labour Day, May 1 in Namutumbe district where national celebrations was held.
As per the constitution, the electoral commission is mandated to carry out a by-election in an area whose political representation has remained vacant for a number of reasons. Death is one.
Within 90 days, the people of Oyam North, by law, have to have another MP elected by them. In doing so, a top diplomat has expressed his interest in replacing the killed Macodwogo.
Ambassador Julius Peter Moto, 56, whose recent diplomatic duty was in London, will tussle it out with Engola’s ‘anointed son, Englola Jnr’ who was presented to the Vice President, Maj. Rtd. Jessica Alupo during his father’s send-off, Saturday.
There are reports of interest from Queen Dorothy Amolo, currently in the United States, and Olong George, among others.
“I’m expressing my interest to stand as a candidate in the forthcoming by-election for Oyam North Constituency,” Ambassador Moto told a media conference in Lira City, Sunday.
On Macodwogo’s death, his potential successor, Moto said, “Last week, we received the death of Col. Engola… We request God to allow his soul to rest in eternal peace.”
Asked about Engola’s endorsement by his family to replace his late father, Moto, who served as a top diplomat for nine years in Pretoria and London, said, “The family does not represent the interest of the people of Oyam North and the overall electoral population of the people of Oyam.”
He said the people of Oyam North could be having another view and that is why “I have come to offer my candidature just in case they don’t find Jnr Engola suitable for them.”
He’s an economist and holds a Master’s Degree in Business Administration. The former diplomat shared his key areas of focus if elected.
“Given my background, I’m going to focus mainly on economic infrastructure. Infrastructure like roads that connect or crisscross Oyam needs to be improved. There is a road that – part of the great north road which passes through Oyam – it starts from Corner Aboke to Iceme up to Bobi, that road needs to be tarmacked.”
“There is another road which comes from Apac and joins the highway that runs from Lira to Kitgum, it passes through Aromo via Oyam – that road is a very big road, it needs to be tarmacked and I’m going to advocate for equitable resources within this two to three years or even beyond to get resources to have that road worked on.”
Further, he said he will see to it that technical schools in Oyam, notably Acaba Technical School (Oyam North) and Minakulu Technical School (Oyam South) are well equipped and well staffed to continue training manpower for industrial development and this, according to Moto is the future for the industrial development of Uganda.
“We need manpower that’s in demand in the private sector,” he added.
The popular diplomat also says he will lobby for the upgrades of lower health units in the constituency if elected.
“And there are Health Centre IIs and IIIs that need to be upgraded into HCIVs and preferably we should advocate for a district hospital – well equipped and well staffed to serve the population of Oyam which is increasing rapidly every year.
“We only have one credible hospital that’s Atapara Hospital which is not enough, it has got a lot of demands and peak season when the time comes. So, we are served by Atapara and to some extent Lacor Hospital.
Moto is one of Lango’s prominent sons who crossed to NRM in 2010. In December 2011, he said, in Otwal primary school during a political rally, he campaigned for the then Presidential candidate Museveni Yoweri and through his influence and popularity, he started Museveni garnered massive votes in Oyam North.
In his quest to replace former MP and Minister Macodwogo, the ambassador said he will step down from the race if the party does not give him the flag, revealing that he will continue with his current work but most importantly, support Engola Jnr’s candidature.
“My party is NRM and I’m loyal to it.” Asked if he’s not handed the party flag, he responded, “Well, there are procedures for selecting a candidate in NRM. There’s the district executive committee working with the Secretariat they will organise primary elections. I understand there are about seven candidates, there could be more and I’m one of them.”
Otto backs Moto
Isaah Otto Amiza, the former Oyam South MP has come out to back Moto’s interest. Speaking at the same press conference, Otto said he’s an “experienced byelectionist”.
“In the history of Lango, I’m the only one I think if not mistaken who went to Parliament through a byelection successfully defeating five candidates
“I’m very proud of that and because of that I think it’s in order for me to say a word when we are going for a by-election,” Otto, now an activist, said.
Otto has asked the people of Oyam North to choose an experienced leader in Moto.
“The basis on which Oyam people elect leadership is number one: Oyam has a very long history of electing leadership based on experience, knowledge and serious charisma which is well defined. That trades back to Okello Engola, he was a distinguished soldier and that was the basis on which he was elected.
“Dr Okullo Epak was a distinguished engineer, and Hon. Ben Wacha was a distinguished legislator.
Otto further told the press that Oyam doesn’t vote for a leader based on hereditary process, not either from the family or the clan. “It’s not there. We don’t elect a leader based on money, buying votes. We don’t elect a leader in Oyam based on petty indifferences or even partnerships, party politics.”
As the people of Oyam North are prepared to have a byelection, Otto urged them to look for “a competent, well experienced and more so a local-national-international holder” who can carry forward the legacies of the people of Oyam.
“Our legacy is not about local politics in Lango and villages around – our politics in Oyam is about reputation at national and international grades and that should be maintained.”
The electoral commission and the NRM party electoral commission officials are yet to issue roadmaps for the Oyam North MP by-election.