By Chris Ocowun
AS the battle for LC5 seats heats up in the Acholi sub-region, voters say they want leaders who will fight poverty and end corruption in government.
People are looking for LC5 chairpersons who will deliver better social services such as water, education, good roads and health services in the rural villages.
Patrick Ocen from Pece division in Gulu town said the LC5 chairperson should be able to unite the people of Acholi and foster development by ensuring that government programmes reach in the villages.
â€œWe want leaders who listen to the views of the communities and not dictating and imposing things on us. The formulated education ordinances should be implemented immediately to better the standard of education in Acholi,â€ Ocen explained.
The communities are also saying they needed leaders who will lobby for scholarships for disadvantaged children from poor families.
â€œMany children, especially girls, drop out after P.7 and go for baby-sitting jobs because they lack people to sponsor them in secondary schools,â€ Ocen added.
Anthony Olanya from Laroo division in Gulu said LC5 chairpersons should also ensure that roads and bridges are built in the rural areas to ease the transportation of agricultural products to markets.
More than 30 people are contesting for LC5 seats in the districts of Gulu, Kitgum, Pader, Amuru, Agago, Lamwo and Nwoya, which make up the Acholi sub-region.
After failing in 2006, the retired Col. Walter Ochora Odoch, bounced back to seek re-election as Gulu LC5 chairman.
He is facing the district speaker, Martin Ojara Mapenduzi, an FDC flag-bearer, whom Democratic Party (DP) president Norbert Mao campaigned for during his presidential rallies.
Also in the race is a lecturer at Gulu University, James Nicholas Odiya of UPC, and an independent candidate, Ben Acellam, who pulled out of FDC primaries.
In Nwoya district, former DP national vice-president and MP for Nwoya county, Zachary Olum, is in the race to become the chairman as an Independent candidate.
Olum decided to contest as an independent after DP failed to organise primary elections and only endorsed Alero sub-county chairman Justine Ojara to be its candidate.
Also in the race are the Rev. Willy Olango of NRM and Prof. Charles Ayai Okello of UPC, who resigned his position as a lecturer at Gulu university and Denis Ochira Obwot (independent).
For Agago district, the current LC5 chairman of Pader district, Peter Odok Wâ€™Ocheng, who crossed from FDC to NRM recently, is tussling it out with George Odong Otto of FDC and Morris Ocana, an independent.
Alfred Akena, who is the current Pader vice-chairman, is in the race for the district chairmanship.
Akena said the five years he had served in the council had developed his capacity to understand the issues that affect the people of Pader.
He promised equal distribution of resources to the people.
â€œI will ensure equal distribution of resources to all the people of Pader regardless of their clan affiliation. We are all one people regardless to clan, religion or tribe,â€ he said.
Akena is being challenged by Anywar Okot Lajany (independent), Alfred Apenya (independent) and Charles Lagoro Lwanga (UPC) and Daniel Luciyamoi of FDC.
In Amuru district, the incumbent chairman, Anthony Atube Omach (NRM), is pleading for another term to finish up the government programmes he lobbied.
He is facing the district speaker, Michael Lakony (FDC), former commissioner of Police Zakeo Olyel (independent), Ting Traa of DP, Ignatius Oloyi of UPC and Basil Odongpiny Pâ€™akiyo.
Six candidates are battling for the Kitgum LC5 seat. They are Joseph Amone (DP), Eric Francis Lakidi (FDC), Luke Nyeko (NRM), Bosco Ochola (independent), Jimmy Olenge Oloya (UPC) and Jackson Omona (independent).
The current LC5 chairman of Kitgum district, John Komakech Ogwok of FDC, joined the race for Lamwo LC5 seat with the interim chairman, Mathew Ochen Akiya of NRM.
Others in the race are Otto Opira of UPC and George Williams Otto-Kumago, who is contesting as an independent.