This week, parliament elected Uganda’s new representatives to the regional Assembly-EALA.
About 28 people were nominated for the nine seats but by the close the elections, the lucky ones were Rose Akol Okullu, Mary Mugyenyi, James Kakooza, Paul Musamali, Denis Namara, James Odong, Siranda Gerald, Amongin Jaclyn and Veronica Kadogo Babirye.
However, even as they won, not all went through a bed of roses. It was a real hell according to our Inspectors especially for Rose Akol who by the way, got the highest number of votes compared to her colleagues. But how did this lady from Bukedea manage to win MPs’hearts?
Inspectors said her return to EAC was twice a miracle. She received massive votes compared to the rest of the incumbent and new candidates. We’re actually told Akol up to now still thinks the votes were like manna from heaven given the fact that she was reported to have been the only MP who faced stiff resistance.
To begin with, in 2020, a dark skinned Akol wanted to return to Bukedea trenches and stand for woman MP. That means she wanted to face off with now speaker Anita Among who’s been the district woman MP since 2016.
As she planned this political ambush on Anita, Gen. Museveni was thinking otherwise!
He wanted Akol to go back to EALA and in effect was telling her to back off his gal Anita. Inspectors suggested that Museveni picked his mapesa phone and dialed Akol’s digits summoning her to meet him. Akol obliged and on her way to meet the general from Rwakitura, she went thinking Museveni was going to back her.
When she reached there, this is how it went according to Inspectors.
Gen. Museveni: “Akol, they have told me you want to stand for Bukedea again. Is that true?”
Akol: “Yes Sir because I have the support of the people and I am seeking the same from Your Excellency”
Museveni according to Inspectors, spent about 10 seconds rolling his eyes in the socket as he stared at a determined Akol.
He then roared that: “Hon. Akol, I appreciate your desire to represent the people of Bukedea. However, I also want to ask you not to stand” he said to which Akol responded saying ‘But sir, I…..’ even before she finished her statement, Museveni allegedly chipped in saying “I don’t want you to stand against Anita. Don’t stand again. I want you back to EALA. That Anita you see, I have a special assignment she’s going to do for me in parliament. So, don’t antagonize her. You will go back to EALA”
Indeed, when she came unopposed, Anita stood for deputy speakership and won massively. She even got more votes than her boss speaker Jacob L’Okori Oulanyah (RIP).
We are told, Akol was left speechless but at the same time, thought that maybe her rival Anita was going to be in a top position to help her win the EALA election. This is how she obliged and gave Anita a chance to sail through unopposed.
Inspectors said for Museveni to have dictated that the status quo remains on EALA NRM incumbents, it was because of this unwritten promise to return Akol to EALA which saved even the rest of the members.
Unfortunately, when time for EALA campaigns came up, another candidate from her home region of Teso (Amongin Jaclyn) emerged and came with alleged full backing by some senior members from Teso with a view of defeating Akol.
“We can’t have to Itesots in EALA. One of them must really fall” an inspector quoted one of the anti-Akol member as telling voters/MPs.
Indeed, according to Inspectors, Amongin was the most loaded of all contestants in this EALA and this scared Akol thinking her seat was on the verge of collapse. However, Amongin’s bag of cash could have come from PAn African Parliament where she had been also as an MP and was earning in dollars besides her salary as Ngora woman MP (then).
“Hon. Members, I am a broke lady as you see me. I can’t afford what my colleagues can offer. Just take me as I am. Kindly vote for me” Akol would plead with members as Amongin kept all over the place attending almost every function in MPs’ constituencies where she was able to mobilize votes.
Now, we’re told a close analysis of the votes, showed that Akol secured the highest number of votes.
“Those votes she got were sympathy votes. She was really under pressure. The MPs just made a protest vote to those who fought Akol. They viewed her as a humble lady and accepted her as such. But she was extremely broke compared to Amongin who was seen as her direct rival even as she stood as independent. Really, how would one sub-region have two formidable candidates in the race?” explained an inspector.
Interestingly, even her hitherto political rival Rt. Hon. Anita got more votes as deputy speaker and later speaker, implying that Bukedea ladies seem to be good at mobilization the reason Museveni is keeping them around in various political arena. Akol before heading to EALA in 2016 with the backing of Anita Among as woman MP, served a stint as minister for internal affairs and chairperson of the budget Committee of Parliament. Her time in that ministry is no doubt the briefest in Africa; that she was fired almost as soon as she arrived in the office. She however, left a clean lady the reason she’s still favored by Jjajja Mwami.
Enter James Odongo
The dark-skinned man from Lango is not a stranger in NRM politics. We’re told in 2010 when the politics of the north was hot, many NRM leaders feared associating with Museveni in Lango sub-region. It took the intervention of the likes of (now Ambassador) Rebecca Otengo who worked with Odongo to have something for Museveni in the ballot box. Otengo would later be named a minister for Northern Uganda as Odongo also joined the lucrative EALA in later days. He was one of the young men who helped Museveni there.
No wonder shortly after elections, he was posted as an RDC before he was called to the NRM secretariat under Justine Kasule Lumumba as secretary general.
In fact, we’re told Odongo who’s wife works in one of the financial institutions was brought forward to contest for EALA by the then SG Lumumba who saw seriousness in him. And because Lumumba is now dining as a minister, it was easier for him to secure his seat again since she had ready access to members and fellow ministers.
Watch out for why UPC’s Ebil Fred was rejected by MPs!