NationalSpecial Reports

SERERE COUNTY BY-ELECTION: How Mukula Won Elections for Independent Candidate


By Our Investigators




The Serere County by-elections ended on Thursday, 23rd February, 2023 with NRM registering its first by-elections’ loss since 2021 when Richard Todwong took over as NRM Secretary General.


Emmanuel Omoding an Independent candidate and son of the late Patrick Okabe, was declared winner of the Serere County parliamentary by-election after garnering 15,638 votes beating his closest rival, NRM’s Phillip Oucor who got 13,206 votes.


Alice Alaso of Opposition Alliance for National Transformation (ANT) got 3,339; Martin Onguruco, an independent, got 2,523, and Emmanuel Eratu of FDC came last with 1,252.




Our Investigation Team that has been on the ground in Serere County from the time members of NRM strongly proposed that Emmanuel Okabe be given the flag in order to replace his father, has largely attributed the loss to Mike Mukula’s influence.


It is important to note that the Late Okabe lost the flag to Phillip Oucor in the last primaries but went ahead to contest as an Independent although NRM leaning. Okabe was later to grab all the NRM Sub County Chairpersons in Serere County. At the end of the day, Oucor was abandoned by his own Party mobilizers, something that greatly contributed to his eventual loss.


For starters, at the burial of the Late Bishop Okabe, NRM stalwarts in Teso including the Deputy Speaker of Parliament openly campaigned for Emmanuel Okabe.


Later, the NRM Secretariat pitched camp in Serere County to convince the NRM County leadership to stop fronting Okabe’s son because the Party already had a flagbearer in Phillip Oucor. Oucor had beaten the late Okabe in 2021 Party Primaries and is constitutionally still NRM’s Party flagbearer.


The Senninde, Tanga Odoi and Todwong’s efforts seemed to have gone to waste with Mukula, the Eastern Region NRM Vice Chairman conspicuously keeping silent. His silence however followed his earlier attempts at convincing the Party leadership to hand over the Party Flag to Okabe’s son against the Party’s constitution.


Our Team is informed that Mukula’s support for Okabe’s son did not stop despite the Party’s position that it would campaign for its flagbearer.


As if to make his position absolutely clear, Mukula who is President Museveni’s Deputy for Eastern Region refused to turn up for the final campaign rally which was led by the President himself on 21st February, 2023.


The only senior NRM official at the rally was the State Minister for Fisheries, Hon. Hellen Adoa.


However, Adoa’s contribution towards Oucor’s campaign was also watered down when she appeared in Serere Central Police Station where, Hon. Elijah Okupa was detained for allegedly campaigning for Okabe’s son beyond the Electoral Commission’s set dates.


The images of Adoa protesting Okupa’s detention and even shedding tears sent mixed signals to the electorates who perceived her actions as supportive of Okupa’s actions and intentions in the by-elections.


The Serere County by-election saw NRM stalwarts led by Mukula join forces with the opposition as seen by Okupa’s lead involvement in the campaign for Emmanuel Omoding, an Independent candidate against their own.


This is not the first time Mukula is accused of supporting Independent candidates against NRM flagbearers in Teso.


In the last general elections, Mukula was accused of supporting a one Akiror, an independent candidate against NRM’s Hellen Adoa for Serere Woman Member of Parliament.


“It’s only an illusion unless if am arrested and put in. Those external forces will not like Serere’s environment this time. If they think am the same Adoa of 2011, they are dreaming. Let him (Mukula) not think am Aluga. I have sacrificed a lot for Serere and nobody should play with it,” said a furious Adoa then after learning that Mukula was financing her rival.

Minister of State for Fisheries, Honorable Hellen Adoa speaking to our reporter in Soroti City about Mukula

Adoa also said that, she had also organized a team of her voters to counter Mukula and his team in Serere.


Meanwhile, the former Serere District LCV boss, Joseph Opit Okojo who had shown interest to contest against Okupa said during the burial of Elijah Okupa’s mother where Mukula was the guest of honor that he wouldn’t hesitate to deal with any NRM leaders who openly supported Okupa. He meant Mike Mukula.



The Vice President Jessica Alupo Epel also told off Mukula to stop meddling himself in the internal politics of Katakwi during the last general elections.


There are also allegations that Mukula supported Elijah Okupa for Kasilo County despite NRM having a flag bearer (No wonder they were in the same Omoding camp). These accusations are of great concern to many NRM leaders who see Mukula as sabotaging the Party fortunes in the region.


In fact, the Current RDC, Gulu City, George Akuwan Owanyi who on two occasions stood against Okupa on NRM ticket has variously been quoted in the media accusing Mukula of supporting Okupa.


The frustration in the NRM Party leadership was best echoed by NRM Electoral Commission’s Chairman, Dr. Tanga Odoi who openly accused Mukula for not receiving His Excellency, President Museveni and has threatened to crack a whip on what he calls, “NRM leaders who opposed the Party to support a deferment candidate.”


The other factor was the Missing In Action (MIA) of the Soroti City East by-election NRM campaign Team. That team which delivered victory for NRM’s Herbert Ariko against FDC’s Moses Attan Okia had H.E, the Vice President, Jessica Alupo and Sanjay Tanna, a former contestant for NRM Eastern Region Vice Chair.


The Soroti City East Team was arguably a well composed team that understood the Teso politics and dynamics. They also understood that the Iteso are a proud people who will resist intimidation, even if it means losing lives.


It was also able to bring together many MPs, NRM leaders and opinion leaders from the entire Teso and segmented the Constituency according to individual campaign member’s abilities and comparative advantage, something that the Serere County team did not do.


The question now lingering in the minds of many NRM strategists is, why did the Party leave out the Winning Soroti City East team?


The sharp divide amongst NRM leaders in Teso according to some Party insiders is frustrating President Museveni’s efforts of recouping Teso for the NRM Party.


“By appointing a Vice President, ensuring election of Speaker fromTeso and other senior Ministerial appointments, President Museveni was trying to reward Teso for supporting NRM. However, this sharp divide which has started costing the Party shows how fragile the Teso vote is,” said a senior party cadre.



Back to top button
Verified by MonsterInsights