The Opposition political candidates vying for the Omoro County Parliamentary seat are accusing the National Resistance Movement – NRM Party officials of allegedly bribing voters.
Six candidates are campaigning to fill the vacant Omoro County Parliamentary seat ahead of the by-election slated for May 26th, 2022.
The candidates are; Simon Toolit Akecha, National Unity Platform-NUP flag bearer, Andrew Ojok Oulanyah, NRM flag bearer, and Oscar Kizza, the Alliance for National Transformation-ANT flag bearer. Others are; Terrence Odonga, Jimmy Walter Onen, and Justine Odong, the Forum for Democratic Change-FDC flag bearer.
Some of the opposition candidates however allege that since the open campaigns commenced on Monday the NRM officials have been dishing money in every rally convened by their candidate Ojok.
Akecha says they have evidence of NRM party members giving out money to voters in various areas within the constituency where they have been campaigning. He alleges that the majority of those being given money are women who receive about shillings 1 million at every rally.
Uganda Radio Network has also witnessed the issuance of money by some NRM party members to electorates in several areas after campaign rallies held between Monday and Friday in Omoro Constituency.
For instance, in Te-Olam Village, Odek Sub-county on the first day of the campaigns, the NRM candidate Ojok through his campaign team left supporters with shillings 1.2 million at the end of his rally.
Other areas where the candidate issued the same amount of money include Te-Ober village, Lwala Parish in Odek Sub-county on May 17, Binya Central Village in Binya, Oropwoyo Sub-county on May 18, Parish, and Ocok Village in Kec Okela Parish, Akidi Sub-county on May 20.
But Emmanuel Dombo, the NRM Director of Communication denied the allegations that their members are dishing out money to bribe voters during rallies. He says they have instead been giving out sodas and water to quench the thirst of their supporters due to the current hot weather.
Dombo notes that the party doesn’t support its members giving money to voters during campaigns unless it’s a meeting that requires a transport refund.
Rosemary Seninde, the NRM Director for Mobilization equally refuted the claims that they are bribing voters during their campaigns arguing that they are well versed with the electoral commission guidelines. She says it’s not a crime to give their supporters a “drink” at the end of a meeting or campaign.
The Electoral Commission Spokesperson Paul Bukenya told URN in an interview on Friday that they can only handle the complaint of voter bribery if the claims are formally tendered before them for further investigation.
“We handle cases that are brought to us formally, the evidence and all that. If someone has observed non-compliance with the guidelines for the campaign should report them. We were very clear on guiding the candidates,” says Bukenya.
According to the Electoral Commission road map the campaigns are expected to end on May 24th, 2022. URN