Feature: The silent NRM hands that defeated Museveni in Serere by-election
By Executive Editor
President Yoweri Museveni is reportedly angry with some NRM officials for convincing him that the late Patrick Okabe’s son was unpopular and could not have won Serere County by-election seat.
In the just concluded by-election, Emmanuel Omoding defeated NRM candidate, Philip Oucor; a joint NUP and ANT candidate, Alice Alaso; and an FDC candidate.
While the NRM had a flag bearer (Oucor) in 2021, sources in the NRM say that the President was informed that Omoding was unpopular and as such, he (Museveni) needed to throw weight behind the NRM candidate (Oucor).
Against the above background, the President personally campaigned for Oucor. However, Oucor lost miserably to Omoding. Museveni is said to be angry to have been lied to. In other words, sources say the President was willing to convince either Omoding or Oucor to step down before polling day.
“The President didn’t need to be part of the division,” a source told Kampala Gazette. “He was going to settle the divisions before going to Serere but our people lied to him. He is bitter.”
Kampala Gazette has learnt that while the President campaigned for the NRM candidate on the last day of the campaigns, some NRM party officials decided to stay away, defied the party’s position and silently threw their weight behind an Independent candidate, Omoding. Omoding defeated NRM’s Oucor after garnering over 15, 000 votes compared to Oucor’s 13 000 votes.
In a post polling interview, NRM Electoral Commission Chairman, Dr. Tanga Odoi attributed the loss to internal divisions.
The silent hands
The Speaker of Parliament, Anita Among, had a good working relationship with Okabe. Well-placed sources say that while Among did not openly show support for Omoding, she was with him at heart all through. In fact, one of Among’s right hand men, Elijah Okupa (Kasilo County MP) was in Serere throughout the entire electoral process and ensured that he delivered a victory for Omoding.
During Okabe’s funeral, Deputy Speaker of Parliament Thomas Tayebwa openly asked mourners to ensure that Omoding replaced his father in Parliament. In fact, he summoned NRM National Vice Chairman – Eastern Mike Mukula and handed Omoding over to him.
Throughout the entire campaign process, Mukula never showed up for campaign for NRM candidate, Oucor. Instead, sources say Mukula was rooting heavily for Omoding. Omoding’s late father, insiders say had a good working relationship wih Mukula and as such, they opine that it was next to impossible for Mukula to back any other candidate apart from Omoding.
The Minister of State for Sports, Peter Ogwang, is the other silent hand in the NRM that defeated Museveni in Serere. Ogwang, like Mukula has 1: a good working relationship with Speaker Among and could not have been on a different side but 2: Had a good working relationship with deceased Okabe. However, he maintained is support for OModing in the background, until recently when Omoding made his way to the NRM Secretariat to sign a deal with the party. Ogwang was in company of Omoding.