By Patrick Okino
On the April 6, 2014 former lands housing and urban development minister Daniel Omara Atubo attended the opposition`s king pin rally at Mayor`s Garden in Lira municipality advocating for electoral reforms.
The rally was graced by former FDC president Dr Kiza Besigye, UPC president Olara Otunu, DP`s Norbert Mao, Rtd Bishop Zac Niryegye, FDC president Mugisha Muntu and several members of the opposition.
This is the excerpts of his version of the story when New Vision interviewed him from his office at Maruzi Road in Lira town.
You are known as a strong NRM supporter under the chairmanship of President Yoweri Museveni, can you explain why you attended an opposition rally advocating for electoral reforms.
I was elected in 2006 as an independent after the Uganda People`s Congress (UPC) rigged me out together with Cecilia Ogwal, Ben Wacha, Ojok B`leo, Charles Angiro Gutomoi and the Late Okullo Epak.
President Museveni contacted me and requested me to work with him. Before I could accept his request and appointment as minister for lands, housing and urban development, I conducted consultation with elders and opinion leaders in Lango and they gave me a blessing.
My major role to accept working with Museveni was to usher in peace in Lango and Northern Uganda which has been devastated by the prolonged Lord`s Resistance Army (LRA) rebels insecurity.
This is the origin of my joining the National Resistance Movement (NRM) party, but I was serving as an independence.
During my tenure as a senior minister, two vital things happened, peace negotiation between LRA and the government occurred and the recruitment of more Amuka militia to help the Uganda People Defence Forces (UPDF) flushed out the LRA.
In 2010 there was total peace in Lango, Acholi and Teso and people trekked back home from internally displaced persons camps.
People overwhelmingly voted for President Museveni in 2011 and in Otuke district in particular Museveni got 70% of the vote leading in northern Uganda.
When I was a minister, a regional land office was built in Lira, push for the kicking off of Lira University College, completion of the tarmacking of the Lira-Soroti road, more money injected in PRDP and NUSAF programmes, initiating the project for the construction of Akii Bua stadium and other projects.
During the 2011 elections I opted to contest on NRM ticket so that government brings more service and development in Lango.
Am very disappointed to say NRM members rejected me that is why I lost the election. I could not force them to support me because they didn’t want to. Right now I am advocating for peace, development and electoral reforms.
I support good things and reject in totality any bad intension. Electoral reforms are not for NRM or President Museveni, but for Ugandans.
A free and fair election is a driving force to vote for leaders and peace prevails in the country development too will also come.
But if elections are rigged there are always wrangle between the opposition and the winning party and this at the end affects development. Therefore, I support electoral reforms because it is for all Ugandans.
I am not fighting Museveni, but fighting bad things because I want good things for Uganda. I am advising my colleagues advocating for good electoral laws not to base their augment on Museveni.
Then I am also urging the President to welcome initiative for electoral reforms for Ugandans and also not to continue clinging onto leadership. He should leave power peacefully without bloodshed.
Do you think the alliance of opposition and civil society organisations has a point in the demand for electoral laws?
Electoral reforms don’t sort out all the bickering and row in the party, what is important is internal democracy in the party and transparent elections of a flag bearer. Vote buying should not be entertained.
If there is no internal democracy and constant vote-buying then electoral reforms will be useless.
The alliance of groups advocating for electoral reform have a strong message and I am urging NRM MPs to allow the proposal to go through because they are the majority in Parliament.
Some people fear that President Museveni will fail election if the law is revised, but our vision is to create change in the electoral laws.
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The NRM rejected me - former minister Omara Atubo