By Augustine Otuko
When the NRM National Chairman released a program to tour the country on wealth creation crusades, there was excitement among both senior and young NRM political cadres in Lango Sub-region to engage with their revolutionary leader on matters that date back to the controversies that surrounded the “Unholy political marriage” (as people of Oyam call it), between NRM and UPC. Lango political controversies relate to issues of mismanagement of the elections by the UPC and Electoral Commission, obscene Corruption by UPC led local governments, Poor service delivery and Political mercenarism by the UPC local leaders.
With the focus on Oyam District, when the UPC non documented marriage was announced, it all seemed rosy. However, the terms and conditions for the modus operandi of the marriage were not clearly documented or stipulated anywhere and if they were, the concessions were not revealed, shared or communicated to the NRM party leaders in Oyam or Lango.
Due to this unclarity, the NRM Party fielded party candidates at all election levels. To the surprise of many, the state apparatus including some police officers were used by UPC trick stars to subdue and molest NRM candidates at all levels in Oyam. Among the victims was my comrade and friend Patrict Obura Ogwang the NRM flag bearer for Oyam South, Senior Comrade Hon Beatrice Lagada and Dila Benson the District Woman MP and the LCV flag bearers respectively. The young Patrick Obura was abducted on the eve of election by people suspected to be accomplices of Hon Betty Amongi, a UPC candidate and it took the intervention of Gulu police division to rescue the young, energetic and promising NRM Cadre.
This mistreatment of NRM leaders continued to reveal itself recently in Oyam South where Mr Obura Patrick Ogwang was denied access to the venue by Police and SFC who were apparently under instructions not to allow the NRM leader to attend the function where the president was meeting Lango leaders on his wealth creation drive.
Intricate in the NRM-UPC marriage is the election performance statistics that clearly show a drop in percentages in Oyam. In 2011 before the “Unholy Marriage” President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni scored 44,577 out of 77283 votes cast representing 60.9% as opposed to 48,020 votes out of 100,062 votes cast representing 50.65%. This means that after the NRM-UPC Marriage NRM and President Museveni dropped in performance by 10.25%.
In scientific strategic studies, a drop by 10.25% is considered significant. This therefore means that UPC did not bring anything positive nor substantial onto the political table of men.
Further studies on the behavior and performance of NRM in local government shows a sharp drop in the number of councilors in the District Council. In 2011, NRM constituted 75% of Oyam District Council while opposition was 25%.
However, in 2016, NRM controls only 35% while the rest are opposition while in the entire twelve Sub-county councils in Oyam, NRM is controlling less than 24% of the Sub-county councils.
Scientifically, political actors in the NRM fraternity in Oyam or Lango and beyond expected that the undefined marriage should have brought more control to NRM than mischief. Today, Oyam and Lango sub-region that is controlled by majorly UPC in local governments have fallen short of glory to perform in the areas of service delivery. Heavy corruption cases and absolute sabotage of government development programmes are glaring in the entire region. Apac district local government (UPC) in the neighborhood of Oyam has been under strong criticism over their failure to deliver and account to the local wanaichi. Colossal sums of money are being swindled by the alternative UPC government across the region.
The NRM fraternity in Lango now looks orphaned and wonders what the future will be like for those who have interest to compete on NRM ticket amidst this ambiguous marriage. It is therefore important for the NRM leadership to explain the terms of reference of this NRM-UPC Marriage. If it is a coalition, then there should be a clear agreement so that where NRM fields a candidate, UPC should not and vise versa. Otherwise for now, NRM committed cadres in Oyam and the entire lango are in political marshland, imbroglio and leadership awkwardness. In a worst case scenario NRM top leadership should consider a permanent divorce.
The writer is the NRM Youth Chairman Katakwi District