By Ronald Odongo
“Even if your position on a political issue was wrong yesterday, once you change to a correct and good position, I welcome you,” President Yoweri Museveni once said while closing the first Movement conference held on July 17th 1998.
Perhaps this has been the strategic political strength why he has successfully managed his political opponents and maintain his leadership for over 35 years and no wonder several opposition politicians are often appointed to prominent government roles and responsibilities.
In 2016, President Museveni teamed up with the Uganda People’s Congress (UPC) party during the general campaigns, a move that saw NRM severely trouncing FDC’s Col Kiza Besigye in the general election.
During the 2016 campaigns, President Museveni was joined by the then Kole district Woman MP, Joy Ruth Aceng who accompanied him to all his campaign rallies across the Country.
This was the first time a serving opposition MP was seen openly campaigning for the ruling NRM, in fact she lost her seat since she had spent much time campaigning outside the region for Museveni.
What started as a simple political support for NRM soon saw President Museveni trust Aceng and subsequently fully recruiting her into the NRM Party.
Indeed after the election, President Museveni opted to drop the then Minister of State for Northern Uganda, Rebecca Otengo when she lost her seat among others from cabinet and instead appointed Amb. Aceng as State Minister for Fisheries. However, her appointment was out rightly fought by a section of NRM leaders from Lango until she was dropped.
It’s on record that a section of NRM leaders from Lango while meeting President Museveni at State House Entebbe demanded for Aceng’s removal from Cabinet accusing him of favoring UPC leaders.
President Museveni subsequently dropped her and maintained Col Engola, Betty Amongi and Dr. Ruth Aceng, a move that angered Lango Cultural leaders.
A few weeks later, President Museveni again appointed Aceng as Uganda’s Envoy to Ottawa (Canada), and deployed former Minister Otengo to Ethiopia but this still did not go down well with several leaders including a former Minister from Lango who had been ignored by the President.
HER RECENT WAR
It should be recalled that towards 2021 campaign, President Museveni entrusted Amb. Aceng to coordinate and gunner votes for NRM and subsequently accompanied him to his various rallies across the country like she did in 2016.
This move reportedly angered some leaders including her colleague Amb. Rebecca Otengo who apparently had also mobilized a separate NRM media team but this was swiftly resolved by the NRM media Director, Emmanuel Dombo during the campaigns.
It’s reported that Aceng’s recent trouble was strategically planned and executed by a female Ambassador who had been terribly disturbed by her growing political trust from the President.
Another source revealed that this same former Minister was for long angered by the President Museveni’s decision to deploy her in a third world country and instead deployed Amb. Aceng whom she considered junior to a first world country by ranking.
We have also established that a young boy and a “dependent” to this same former Minister now Ambassador was once deployed at the home of Amb. Aceng apparently to spy on her.
A source revealed that this boy who was studying at MUK reportedly approached Amb. Aceng pretending to be seeking for where to stay yet he was on spy mission and soon after allegedly completing his spying task on Amb Aceng , he reportedly left the place.
It’s also established that the dispute against Amb Aceng by some politicians from Lango started some years back and on record that Amb Otengo and Aceng do not see eye to eye much as the two have for long been downplaying it from the public domain.
The source revealed that Otengo’s family has for long and is still holding a personal grudge against Amb Aceng accusing her of allegedly frustrating the marriage of their Sister only identified as Sarah. Sarah was once married to John Ogweng, Aceng’s former husband whom she later separated with due to several clandestine wars against her.
It is also reported that a fierce political dispute has clandestinely been existing between Amb. Otengo and the State Minister for Sports, also the Ajuri County MP Denis Hamson Obua since she lost her parliamentary seat.
In fact this rift escalated when one of Otengo’s dependents opted to contest against MP Obua during NRM Primaries but he was miserably defeated.
There has also been a prominent rift between Otengo and former Minister Sam Engola and Dokolo South MP Felix Okot over the years.
In August, 2012, a group of NRM Cadres led by then NRM youth chairman, Willy Omodo Omodo among others, staged a mega demonstration in Lira town protesting what they termed as manipulation by Amb Otengo against various Presidential appointments for key positions including RDCs, a claim which she denied.
According to Omodo, several members of Amb. Otengo’s family are employed in and holding senior positions in government including her sisters Mirriam Otengo now working at the Embassy of Uganda in UK as the Minister Counselor, Susan Akany now RDC Omoro District among others.
It’s also reported that Miriam Otengo, a younger sister to Amb Otengo once fought her former husband Amb Dickson Ogwang Okul shortly after separating with him but recently Ogwang was redeployed to Khartoum.