FeaturedNational

BUKEDEA MULTIPLE ARRESTS: Is NRM Planning to Tame Speaker Anita Among

By Our Reporter

 

 

NATIONAL

Key political observers in the Teso sub-region have suggested that Speaker of Parliament Anita Among is facing significant pressure to re-establish herself as the most influential figure in the area.

This comes after a series of recent setbacks, including the arrest of her close allies. Among’s political position is at risk as she faces multiple challenges in maintaining her grip on power in the Teso sub-region and retaining the speakership in 2026.

Last month, the Directorate of Public Prosecutions brought four of Among’s lieutenants to court, accusing them of orchestrating violence and irregularities during the recent Bukedea LC-V elections. Among, who is the Bukedea district Woman MP, is now confronted with a four-pronged battle to maintain her political influence in the Teso sub-region and preserve her position as speaker.

 

RDC, GISO and DPC at Bukedea court

At the urging of President Museveni, the State House Anti-Corruption Unit (SHACU) arrested the Bukedea RDC William Tukei, District Police Commander Charles Okoto, Gombolola Internal Security Officer Maimud Oluka, and seven others. They were charged with robbery and assaulting David Stephen Omagor, a former Bukedea by-election candidate, and were remanded for their roles in the violent by-elections.

This move is seen by insiders as an attempt to limit Among’s overwhelming influence in the Teso sub-region’s political landscape. Although they were granted bail on July 26, top NRM officials believe this is just the beginning of efforts to curb Among’s powers.

However, observers also intimate that the early release of the trio and, others is an indication that the cases against them are bound to collapse. In fact, President Museveni reportedly told a recent cabinet meeting that issues in Bukedea are political and therefore, will be resolved politically.

Nonetheless, with several forces against her, Among faces a series of battles to remain relevant in the political arena.

BACKGROUND

On June 26, President Museveni surprised many by denouncing the violence and irregularities that occurred during the Bukedea LC-V by-elections. He instructed the State House Anti-Corruption Unit (SHACU) to investigate the matter and hold those involved accountable.

Interestingly, despite several by-elections being marred by irregularities over the years, Museveni strongly opposed Bukedea, even though the NRM candidate emerged as the winner. The NRM-backed Mary Akol won the LC-V chairmanship with 91 percent of the vote, following the death of Moses Olemukan.

However, the election was tainted by violence, vote rigging, and voter intimidation. Among is believed to have played a significant role in Akol’s victory, with her lieutenants, such as NRM vice chairperson for the Eastern region Mike Mukula, MPs Solomon Silwanyi, Patrick Isiagi and Peter Ogwang campaigning extensively for Akol. Ogwang is also the mastermind behind the MK [Muhoozi Kainerugaba] presidential project in the sub-region.

GENESIS

After Olemukan’s passing, Vice President Jessica Alupo, also Katakwi’s woman MP, swiftly proposed Loyce Akiror, Olemukan’s daughter, to succeed him in his seat. However, the NRM-Bukedea group viewed this as interference in their district’s affairs and rejected the idea.

They believed that at only 24 years old, Akiror was too young to handle public affairs and instead favoured Akol, the district’s deputy chairwoman, for the position. An MP who preffered anonymity expressed concern about appointing young individuals to such crucial roles, citing the need for experience in handling district affairs, planning, execution, and engaging with the public effectively.

Eventually, Among’s camp emerged victorious over Alupo’s and granted the party flag to Akol, sparking a complex power struggle in Teso.

THE OMAGOR CAMP

 

Steven Omagor after being clobbered by goons commanded by Owenge

At first, Omagor was considered an outsider, but it became evident that he garnered support from former Bukedea Woman MP Rose Akol, an arch-enemy of Among, and the disgruntled backers of Olemukan’s daughter.

Given the significant influence the LC-V chairperson wields in the district’s daily operations, Among’s camp did not want to take any chances, especially with the 2026 elections approaching.

For context, Rose Akol previously defeated Among in 2006 and 2011 for the Bukedea district woman representative position. She enjoys support from many of Among’s critics, and with her second and final term as one of Uganda’s representatives in the East African Legislative Assembly (Eala) ending in 2025, she could potentially challenge Among in the 2026 elections.

 

EALA MP, Rose Akol Okullu

This group’s best hope now lies in presenting Rose Akol to unseat Among in 2026, hoping they will have support from influential politicians in the country and Teso. When approached for a comment, Omagor requested more time to respond.

TEAM ALUPO

Regarding Teso, the most influential figure in the sub-region is Alupo, and sources indicate that those who disagree with Among find solace with her. Among these key figures is Dan Mulalu, an associate in the president’s office. Mulalu and Ogwang are bitter foes and the latter is said to be a key factor in the split between Alupo and Among.

To counter Alupo’s team, Among is reportedly close to Violet Akurut Adome, the former Katakwi woman MP, who defeated Alupo in 2016. While Alupo got her revenge in 2021, Akurut remains a formidable force and is keeping Alupo on edge in the run-up to 2026.

Meanwhile, Among’s opponents in the neighboring Busoga sub- region have reconciled and united to work together. First deputy prime minister Rebecca Kadaga and Persis Namuganza, the state minister for Lands, who was censured by parliament earlier this year, are said to have buried the hatchet.

Among’s growing influence in national politics has ruffled feathers among many previously powerful figures in the NRM. As speaker, she has bypassed various power centers to directly address critical issues, leading to resentment among those who controlled those corridors.

They have engaged in proxy wars, like the iron sheets scandal, to challenge her authority. Despite attempts to tarnish her reputation, Among was saved by senior officials in the Office of the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) in the iron sheets scandal, which accused her of diverting 600 iron sheets for her school in Bukedea.

There are speculations within parliament that Deputy Speaker Thomas Tayebwa has been promised the speakership if Among does not return as MP. However, some believe this is a ploy to weaken the speaker’s position and hold her on a “lifelong leash” to follow instructions.

LGBTQ FRONT

Finally, the LGBTQ issue may appear insignificant from a Ugandan perspective, but it carries lifelong implications for the speaker. Following the passing of the Anti- Homosexuality Act in May, Among is facing significant pressure from the international community, particularly Western powers, to abandon her radical stance towards the gay community in Uganda.

On May 26, Among enthusiastically announced on Twitter that the president had signed the Anti- Homosexuality law. However, soon after, the USA government declared that her visa to the United States was revoked. As a result, she has not been able to travel to the USA or Europe, and it is rumoured that she has been declared persona non grata in those countries.

It remains to be seen how Among will navigate the complex waters of Ugandan politics to maintain her relevance beyond 2026. Efforts to reach Among were unsuccessful, but one of his aides who preferred anonymity acknowledged that there is an ongoing attempt to tarnish the speaker’s reputation. He asserted that all such machinations will not work because she is clean.

“We are aware that some people are envious of her popularity and success, but it will not deter her from serving the nation,” he said.

-observer newspaper

Back to top button
Verified by MonsterInsights