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Akena condemns ‘undemocratic acts of ballot stuffing’ in Oyam North

(Last Updated On: 12 July 2023)

Kampala, July 12, 2023: Uganda Peoples Congress (UPC) members and leaders continue to celebrate their remarkable win in the just concluded Oyam North MP by-election against the ruling party – NRM.

UPC was one of the active participants in the by-election held on July 6 – beating the affluent party – the National Resistance Movement (NRM). The Congress also beat Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) and National Unity Platform (NUP) parties.

At 11:34 pm on July 6, the Returning Officer for Oyam Electoral District, Onoba Richard declared Dr Eunice Apio Otuko of UPC party as the MP Elect after obtaining 15,781 votes.

Samuel Okello Engola Jr of NRM came second with 15,161 votes whilst Okello Daniel of NUP and Newton Freddy Okello of FDC got 403 and 714 votes, respectively.

The total number of valid votes cast for both candidates was 31,996, a result announced by the electoral commission (EC) shows.

The July 6 poll was engulfed with counter-accusations, especially between UPC and NRM top leaders. Days before the poll, UPC party president Jimmy Akena and the secretariat kept sending warnings to those they perceived were planning to conduct electoral malpractices.

Read more: “Do not think you can threaten us and rig the votes,” UPC president cautions

Besides several warnings against vote rigging and other related crimes, on July 6, UPC said it thwarted planned ballot stuffing, accusing NRM of the wrongdoing. The allegation was substantiated when Akena and NRM’s chairman of the electoral commission (EC) Dr Tanga Odoi clashed – with both of them uttering bitter words.

On July 12 at the UPC Headquarters in Kampala, Akena “congratulated the Member of Parliament (MP) Elect for Oyam North Hon. Dr. Eunice Otuko Apio upon emerging victorious and making the congress fraternity proud in the just concluded by-election”.

The party leader says the UPC campaign team was composed of MPs, District Chairpersons and other elected leaders, both in the party structures and in various elective positions. “I thank the whole team for their determination, commitment, sacrifice, unity, vigilance, strategies and organization which led to the ultimate success in the polls.

“I want to congratulate and thank the people of Oyam North for the warm reception accorded to us during the campaigns, embracing our message and standing by their position to vote for the UPC Candidate. I appreciate the contribution of the Regional Leadership for successfully mobilizing the entire leadership and membership of the sub-region who believed in the Party message and ideology as well as those who came from across the country to offer their support to our candidate.

Akena also extended gratitude to his fellow Members of Parliament who generously invested their time, resources, and experience to ensure the win for UPC. “I further appreciate the Party Cabinet and Secretariat Staff for the tremendous work done in such a short period of time. This is indeed the kind of solidarity we needed and should give throughout to increase Party’s political strength.

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“This victory of UPC and its flag bearer is a great one and it has set our pace that needs to be sustained with hard work, commitment and teamwork, which gives tremendous hope for the Party in the rebuilding phase and competing with others on the national political scene thus getting the Party ready for the entire processes of 2026 General Elections,” he adds.

The Lira City East Division MP, Akena says, “We presented a very strong candidate and our message was well received by the electorate. The demand we made to all stakeholders was to ensure Free and Fair Elections.”

“We strongly condemn, the undemocratic acts of ballot stuffing especially, at the three noticeable polling stations of Wang Lobo, Acokara and Baromele in Otwal sub-county, in full view of men in uniform. This is a clear manifestation that a lot of similar incidents may have happened in other areas where we had less manpower.

“We take note that the President of the Republic of Uganda H. E. Yoweri K. Museveni acknowledged the election malpractices. This remains a very real threat to democratic practices and undermines the will of the people.

“As UPC, we are going to pursue this matter to its logical conclusion. We need to deepen our democracy by holding free, fair and peaceful elections devoid of malpractices and violence. We wish Dr. Eunice Otuko Apio a good completion of the current term of office and service delivery,” Akena notes.

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