Views: Why NRM can never win by-elections in Lango

(Last Updated On: 24 March 2024)

Dokolo | Previously, a winning card would be placed on the ruling party’s palm during by-elections. This was because some – if not many – felt it needed too much energy to outcompete “a master, holder of power and authority”.

The above beliefs were justified when the NRM party won a number of by-elections in other parts of the country before meeting two defeats in less than a year after crossing Karuma Bridge.

An example and what would be their last victory in Lango’s neighbourhood was the Omoro County MP by-election in Acholi sub-region in which the son of the late Speaker of Parliament, Ojok Oulanyah, won.

Since then, the ruling party has had litmus tests in Lango in their quest to retain a parliamentary seat previously held by their own or take over from a political adversary.

The first red slap in the face came in July 2023 in Oyam North and last week on March 21 in Dokolo.

In all these by-elections, the chairman of the NRM, Museveni Yoweri Kaguta flew to mobilise support and tell the people of Lango to vote for NRM candidates.

Besides flying to the Amuka land, Museveni’s party has invested billions of shillings to ensure the vacant Legislative seats in Lango are turned yellowish.

For example, his wish was to turn the Dokolo woman MP seat from blue to yellow. Sadly, it turned red!

UPC candidate Sarah Aguti Nyangkori beat NRM’s Adongo Rose Elau to succeed the late woman MP, Cecilia Atim Ogwal.

Elau’s loss – to a bigger percentage – has not surprised many, especially those in the ruling party.

On Saturday, March 23, in Lira City, a section of NRM party supporters spoke their minds, telling what went wrong for their party.

Addressing reporters at Palm Garden in Lira City, a Roman Catholic priest who is leaving God’s ministry for politics, Rev. Father Alfred Okello, said what is killing NRM is money and division among the top NRM officials.

If the party can not do something to address this challenge, then the party will crumble and the Dokolo by-election must be a very big lesson to the NRM party, Rev. Father Okello added.

Father Okello said top officials from the secretariat were “mixed in Dokolo” – something he argued led to the loss of flag bearer, Elau.

“Because the party was not respecting the minds and choices of local people. I therefore want this matter to be addressed early ahead of the general elections in 2026.

“I want to assure the general public that if we were to have a vice chairperson of NRM for Northern Uganda, NRM was not going to lose both Oyam and Dokolo by-elections.

“Officials from the secretariat must work hand in hand. If not, NRM must forget about winning other political parties in the main election for 2026,

Speaking on why the UPC party won two by-elections in Lango, Father Okello claimed that like in Dokolo, some people of NRM voted against NRM candidate Adongo Janet Elau.

“All this happened because a senior director of mobilisation Rosemary Nansubuga Seninde disobeyed all the party organs on March 2, 2024, at Dokolo Technical School.

Meanwhile, workers’ councillor to Lira City Council Awor Sarah Angweri, said: “We shall petition all the secretariat team, starting with the secretary general Richard Todwong, party chairman and director of mobilisation Rosemary Nansubuga Seninde.”

“If members of the secretariat fail to address this matter, they must forget about having more MPs coming under NRM tickets here in Lango.

“Also, NRM needs an amendment to their constitution to allow their candidates who have held a flag in the main election to deliver a flag to other candidates if the candidate is weak.

“The top officials from the secretariat must first consider language barriers. How could a senior director of mobilisation come and start campaigning for their candidate who doesn’t speak the same language from that area,” Angweri said.

Sodrick Ogwang is the Lira district youth councillor on the NRM ticket. He said the future of this country is in the hands of the young generation. 

“I want to tell the public that if NRM wants to achieve more, they must include youth in doing other mobilisation apart from using only one person.

 “And let NRM party officials tell the public about the coordination which is there between UPC and NRM. The party must use the party structures from the district to help promote and spread the NRM achievements.

To avoid the mistakes, Ogwang said all the party structures should be changed to avoid any division.

Last week, Elau attributed her loss to division and confusion in NRM. 

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