Martin Onguruco, a civil engineer and one of the candidates in the Serere County parliamentary by-elections is moving with road equipment in an attempt to woo voters ahead of polls scheduled for February 23, 2023.
Onguruco, who came third in the 2021 general elections after garnering 10,513 votes is promising to improve the road network in the constituency if voted on Thursday. He says that he worked on 52-kilometer access roads in different sub-counties before and after losing the election in 2021.
“Serere County had been having a problem of very poor roads, and such a problem had affected people’s movements and accessibility to the market by especially the peasant farmers; access to social services like health care, security, and education due to poor roads,” he said. He says that some of the access roads he worked on were waterlogged, submerged, and cut off or nonexistent.
These include Omagara Junction – Lemtom swamp road 4km in Kateta Sub – County which had a big road choke and got cut off, Omagoro -Kakuja Road of 5 Km in Kyere sub-county that was non-existent, and Kateta corner Aisin Road 3km that was in a very poor state. He adds that he successfully lobbied for the opening and rehabilitation of the 8kilometer New york –Kangodo Banda Road in Kyere sub-county which was initially disconnecting the communities due to the swamp, Banda – Ojama Central – Amakyo Road 4.2 km connecting Kyere and Olio sub-counties, among others.
Ongurco says that he was forced into politics after losing his job with the Uganda National Roads Authority- UNRA. He worked as an Assistant Engineer with UNRA for eight years but was dropped during restructuring in 2015. Before joining UNRA in 2008, Onguruco was a Road Inspector with the Ministry of Works, Housing and Communication for another period of eight years.
Although he is a staunch cadre of the ruling National Resistance Movement- NRM party since 2005, Onguruco contested as an independent over what he describes as confusion in the management of internal elections. He told our reporter that his decision to join politics was informed by unfairness in the UNRA recruitment where he was left out without any clear reasons.
Born in 1976 in Ogobai Village, Kyere Sub County in Serere district, Onguruco holds a Master’s Degree in Public Infrastructure Management from Makerere University and a Bachelor of Civil and Building Engineering from Kyambogo University among other academic awards. He is competing with four other candidates to replace his former challenger for Serere County, Patrick Okabe who died in an accident in December last year.
Mary Adeke, a resident of Idupa in Olio Sub County says that Onguruco helped the community when he constructed Ayima Spring Well which is now serving people in Akusi Parish. “We had a borehole in Akusi but it was overstretched with several households. Most people would only go to the borehole for drinking water and use wells for cooking and washing. The wells were not protected but it took the intervention of Onguruco to get for us clean water”, she said in one of the campaign rallies of Onguruco in Ochaapa Town Council.
Richard Emanio, the former Serere District NRM Chairperson and now the campaign manager for Emmanuel Omoding, the son of the late MP, Patrick Okabe says that Onguruco is the only threat to his camp’s victory on February 23, 2023.
Emanio made the comments while appearing on a political radio talk show in Soroti on Saturday morning. “Among the candidates, the person who will follow us is Engineer Onguruco because everywhere we go, people are talking about Omoding and Onguruco”, he said while at Etop Radio. Besides Okabe’s son, Onguruco is competing with a senior politician, Alice Alaso Asianut who is on ANT ticket, FDC’s Emmanuel Eratu and NRM’s Phillip Oucor.