NORTHERN UGANDA: Simon Toolit Akecha, the National Unity Platform flag bearer in the Omoro County Parliamentary by-election, says he wouldn’t contest if Andrew Ojok Oulanyah hadn’t been fronted as the NRM flag bearer.
Toolit says he was not interested in the race but decided to join the contest after the former legislator and Speaker of Parliament Jacob L’Okori Oulanyah’s son was chosen.
Ojok, 32, was first endorsed by President Museveni late last month before the NRM party unveiled him as its official party flag bearer last week in Omoro District.
Toolit says that the NRM’s choice of Ojok over more mature and experienced candidates was a mistake that made him want to run for office.
Toolit, who was a member of the Forum for Democratic Change-FDC party, was unveiled as the NUP flag bearer by the party’s President, Robert Ssentamu Kyagulanyi, late last month.
He explained that crossing from FDC to NUP was a better choice since they are currently the strongest opposition political party in the country with the highest number of Members of Parliament. =
Toolit contested earlier with Oulanyah in Omoro County in the 2016 Parliamentary election and came second with 9,088 votes against Oulanyah’s 11,044 votes. He, however, claims the election was rigged and casts doubt on the fairness of the coming by-election, arguing that they will do their best to safeguard their votes.
Toolit was among three other candidates who were nominated on the first day of nominations on Thursday in Omoro District Council hall. The others are Jimmy Walter Onen, Terrence Odonga, all independent candidates, and Oscar Kizza, the Alliance for National Transformation-ANT party flag bearer.
The NRM Party Chairperson for Omoro District, Denis Kidega, however, says Ojok was chosen as the party’s flag bearer based on his leadership competencies.
He adds that whereas it’s true that the mantle was given owing to the passing on of his father, who previously held the same seat, Ojok, as an individual, possesses the required skills and educational level that warrants him to contest.
“We are in a period of mourning, and choosing Ojok as the flag bearer is one way of wiping the tears of mourners in Omoro.” “Ojok is capable and we believe he can make a great leader in Omoro,” he said.
Ojok was nominated on Friday by the Omoro District Returning Officer, Moses Kagona.
Ojok, in his address, said he intends to foster unity among the people of Omoro and put emphasis on the upgrade of roads, clean access to water, and revamping the education sector.
He, however, asked the people of Omoro to desist from acts of violence, arguing that the by-election should bring unity instead of divisionism.
Eleven people, including Akecha and Ojok, picked up nomination forms for the Omoro County Parliamentary by-election.
Other candidates who have yet to return their nomination forms are Jolly Grace Laker, Eric Lajul, Andrew Okot, all independent, Brian Cana of Justice Forum (Jeema) and FDC flag bearer Dick Denis Owani.