Political tensions are building in Gulu Municipal after a wild rumor swept the northern town that former Member of Parliament and president of Democratic Party Norbert Mao may return to contest as Member of Parliament (MP)
By Jolly Tobbias Owiny
Political tensions are building in Gulu Municipal after a wild rumor swept the northern town that former Member of Parliament and president of Democratic Party Norbert Mao may return to contest as Member of Parliament (MP).
But to Christine Atimango, a former Chief Administrative Officer and Lands Officer in Gulu and Amuru, whether Mao will contest or not, she is giving a final shot to elective politics in Gulu Municipal.
Atimango contested for the Gulu Municipal seat in 1996 and lost to Mao. In 2011, she contested for woman MP seat under the Democratic Party and lost to Betty Ocan Aol, then later crossed to NRM.
“I am determined to contest and win the Gulu Municipality seat; this thing of affirmative action implies women will forever remain the weaker link. As for Mao, I have contested with him in the past, I know all his tricks, strengths and weakness,” Atimango said.
Mao who is recuperating after a weeklong hospitalization about a month ago, has never commented on the rumor about his candidature in Gulu Municipal.
Tough battle at NRM primaries
It will however be an uphill task for Atimango to win the NRM primaries slated sometime in September, considering the number of people expressing interest is increasing by the day.
The latest entrant into the race is as Amuru Resident District Commissioner (RDC) James Nabison Kidega, who is loved and hated in Gulu Municipal in equal measure. Kidega was an RDC in Gulu and left a trail of records, some made him famous, while some dragged him into the mud.
He is famed for fighting thugery in Gulu town, and rumor has it that when he was transferred to Amuru in 2013, there was a wild celebration among some slum dwellers who are believed to be behind the theft and thugery that later hit Gulu town.
Kidega is a born of Laguti in Pader district, and in 2011 contested to for the Aruu county seat, losing to FDC’s Odonga Otto.
“A group of more than 200 youth and women came to me in my home in Gulu town, and asked me to contest in Gulu Municipal instead,” Kidega said, but added that he will not compete with Norbert Mao.
“For me I will only contest for Gulu Municipal seat if Mao is not contesting. You know you cannot contest with Mao and win an election in Gulu Municipal here. And considering he has been in and out of hospital now, people are bound to give him sympathy votes,” Kidega said.
Others who are optimistic they will contest as NRM flag for Gulu Municipal are Lira Deputy RDC Mwaka Lutukumoi, who has twice contested for the same seat and lost.
Mwaka, who recently launched a book he wrote about Acholi culture, is popular with the youth. Also in the race are Francis Uhuru, a businessman and Michael Ocora, the former flag bearer of the NRM party in the 2011 elections.
Following the announcement by Christopher Acire that he will not seek re-election in 2016, the opposition politicians in Gulu Municipal have a clean sheet to start from.
Apart from the rumors of a Nobert Mao comeback, the hustle and bustle among opposition politicians indicate that they will not allow the ruling NRM to grab this seat from them.
Among contenders for the opposition ticket are current LC5 chairman Martin Ojara Mapenduzi, a man who has for the last four years won the best LC5 award slot in the local government scorecard.
“I will confirm my candidature in due course, but what I want to rule out is the rumor that I will contest for Aswa seat against Reagan Okumu,”Ojara said.
Other’s are DP’s Lyandro Komakech, Komakech Henry Kilama and Caesar Lubangakene.
Until them, the political temperature remains high in Gulu Municipal, but like an old saying, “all can contest, only one can win.”
Atimango to battle men in Gulu race