President Yoweri Museveni touched down in Soroti City East Constituency at mid-day on Monday July 25,2022 to canvass for support in an election that the ruling NRM party appears to be so desperate to win since Capt. Mike Mukula lost it in 2016.
The NRM is facing stiff opposition from the opposition Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) party whose co-founder, Dr. Kizza Besigye is also on ground. The race is between incumbent Hon. Moses Attan and NRM flag bearer Herbet Edmund Ariko.
The monitoring team from ACFIM reports that the Prime Minister, Rt. Hon. Robinah Nabbanja, Vice President Hon. Jessica Alupo and other ministers from Teso sub-region including Hon. Musa Ecweru and Peter Ogwang, are on ground canvassing for votes.
Also visible on ground are the Resident District Commissioners (RDCs) from the entire Teso Subregion moving with their escorts, leaders of NRM (past and present). The Rt. Hon Prime Minister, the Vice President, and other ministers not least the President, travelled to Teso using their official public vehicles and security detail.
In these circumstances, it is difficult to draw the line between what is for public interest and party interest in this by-election. The secret known is that the Ugandan tax-payer has shouldered the burden of fuel, tear and wear, and per diem for the said political bigwigs and their security detail to pitch camp in Soroti City for at least 5 days.
President Museveni spent the entire afternoon on Monday (July 25, 2022) campaigning for the NRM flagbearer, Herbert Edmund Ariko. He told voters that politics is not about Ariko or Museveni.
“It is about a party that can help Ugandans to solve the great challenges of the day. And the which has a record of solving them and has the potential to solve more, is NRM.” he said.
With retired Col. Dr. Kizza Besigye and President Yoweri Museveni on ground, the stakes for this by-election could not have been higher. There are unconfirmed reports that each of the cells in the constituency is receiving a cash donation of UGX 3 million ($789) from the agents of ministers or NRM party officials. Voters in Camp-Swahiri cell 3 and cell 6 claimed to have benefitted from the cash donations.
On Sunday, the NRM bigwigs including the Hon. Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja capitalized by attending prayers / praise and worship services and donated cash to the poor and money loving voters. There is anticipation within the electorate in the various villages, cells that that with the coming of President Museveni and his camping at St. Kizito Technical Secondary school, “money will rain”.
The FDC rallies have been drawing and pulling crowds as much as the rallies of the NRM party which are characterized by dancing and merry-making. Each side is promising a landslide victory.
Meanwhile there are allegations from the FDC camp making rounds across the constituency that the voters’ roll has been inflated by 100 voters at every polling station. However, SecretsKnown has not succeeded in independently verifying these allegations.
ACFIM is monitoring the elections through Election-Day on Thursday July 28, 2022.