OYAM, UGANDA: The National Resistance Movement has elected Samuel Engola Junior, the son of late Minister Charles Okello Engola as the ruling party flag bearer for the upcoming Oyam North Constituency by-election.
Engola’s election followed Saturday’s party primaries and executive meeting with the aspirants which was mediated by high-ranking party officials including secretary-general Richard Todwong, the NRM electoral commission chairperson Dr Fred Tanga Odoi, and mobilization director Rosemary Sseninde.
According to results announced by Dr Tanga Odoi, Engola Junior garnered 532 votes (62.3%) to emerge as the winner against her rival; Queen Dorothy Amolo who returned 322 votes (37.7%).
“I, therefore, declare Mr Engola Okello Samuel who has got the highest numbers of votes 532 representing 62.3 per cent as the dully elected NRM flagbearer for Oyam North Constituency MP by-election 2023,” announced Dr Tanga.
During Saturday’s primaries, seven other candidates in the race of nine aspirants graciously conceded and stepped down in favour of the late Minister’s son to hold the party flag apart from Queen Dorothy Amolo who went for a head-on race with the eventual winner.
Speaking shortly after the primaries, the NRM Secretary General, Richard Todwong urged all party members to support Engola ahead of the July, 6 by-election.
“We have all witnessed free and fair elections. Delegates lined up on a broad day and a winner was announced. So, there is no excuse for saying that one was cheated. I urge everybody to rally behind the flagbearer and consolidate party support up to the voting day,” Todwong said, adding that the party is going to kick off a village-to-village campaign strategy to ensure that they retain the seat.
In his acceptance speech, the party flag bearer Mr Samuel Engola Junior assured the party delegates and supporters that come July, 6, the win is theirs.
“You have trusted me with your votes and I will not disappoint you. I will ensure that the NRM retains the Oyam North parliamentary seat,” Okello said.
“The primary elections are over and I have been chosen to provide leadership. We now aim at winning at the next level. Our mission is to unite towards the common cause of transforming the lives of the ordinary people under the stewardship of President Yoweri Museveni.”
Queen Dorothy who lost to Engola ultimately decided to go against the party’s decision and run as an independent candidate in the next month’s general election.
“It was six people versus one but I still got 322 votes. I am therefore going to stand as Independent and I am declaring that I am going to be nominated on Monday as an Independent candidate. All the voters were ferried away to Lira where they were bribed with money in hotels,” Ms Amolo told journalists on Saturday evening.
Mr Julius Peter Moto, Uganda’s former Ambassador to South Africa and the United Kingdom who was among the six contesters convinced by NRM Secretary General, Mr Richard Todwong to step down in favour of Mr Engola Okello, told his supporters not to lose hope saying two years is not a long wait since he would return in 2026.
“I have surrendered and I am now going to support my son Engola Junior. I appeal to my supporters not to be offended by my decision but let us now support our NRM flagbearer,” Mr Moto said.
Engola Junior will now face off with Dr Eunice Apio Otuku of the opposition Uganda People’s Congress (UPC) who remains the biggest threat from the opposition after he was widely backed by the Gender Minister Amongi in 2021 and Mr Daniel Okello of the National Unity Platform (NUP).
In 2021, then NRM’s candidate Okello Engola Macodwogo retained the Oyam North seat after garnering 22,895 votes, beating four others. UPC’s Apio Otuku polled 17,114 votes; Krispus Ayena Odongo (Ind) managed 8, 498 votes, Henry Oboke Edonga and Nam Joe, all Independents polled 175 votes and 140 votes respectively.
The Oyam North MP seat fell vacant in May after the then area MP and former State Minister of Labour for Employment and Industrial Relations [Okello Engola] was gunned down by his bodyguard Private Wilson Sabiiti.
The electoral commission set July 6 as the date on which constituents in the county will vote for the new area Member of Parliament.
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