The High Court in Gulu last Friday threw newly elected Aruu County Member of Parliament Dr Christopher Komakech out Parliament.
After losing his Aruu County seat in the 2021 general elections, Odonga Otto in February, filed an election petition against Komakech saying that he did not officially resign from his civil service job before joining Parliament.
Komakech, a son to fallen Maj Gen Paul Lokech was kicked out of the August House on grounds that before joining elective politics, he addressed his resignation letter to the wrong person ( Executive Director Butabika Mental Hospital) instead of Permanent Secretary Ministry of Health or Ministry of Public Service as per the public service standing order.
Court has since ordered for fresh elections.
Following the development, Otto who couldn’t hide his excitement said he is ready to return to Parliament.
“After going through :Harassment during campaigns, detaining my car for 90 days, remand to gulu to prison,going to nairobi hospital after poison..Justice ASIMWE TADEO nullifies Aruu elections.I see Gods hands through him.I am all in tears,” Otto tweeted.
However, despite winning an election petition against Komakech, Odonga Otto still faces an up task hill in regaining the seat he held in the 10th Parliament. Here is why:
1. The Sympathy vote will be 10-fold for the late Paul Lokech’s son and incumbent, Christopher Komakech (28) for losing his well decorated and highly respected dad, Gen Paul Lokech. SYMPATHY VOTE! His short lived victory was nullified by Gulu High court following a successful petition by Otto on technical NOT electoral malpractice grounds, then his dad Lokech died the following day.
2. The state will rightnow be there for the ‘orphan’ more than ever. Police, Military, Statehouse, all of them. There is nothing President Museveni loves more than “taking care of his comrades children.” Akena, Taban Amin, Okello Oryem, Auma Oyite, Ayume. Trust him on Lokech’s children. He will pledge full support.
3. NRM will still be there to deploy all their dirty tricks like voter bribery, outright rigging, and violence
4. Acholi NRM bigwigs like Hon Todwong, Speaker Rt Hon Jacob Oulanyah, Gen Otema Awany, Ministers Hilary Onek, Okello Oryem etc. will want to prove to the NRM once again, that Acholi is indeed for NRM in 2021. Pader is also the home of Justice Owiny Dollo, they are still indebted for appointment of their son Chief Justice. NRM astoundingly won 16 MP seats in Acholi sub region. Just 10 years ago, NRM had THREE MPs in Acholi. Northern Uganda was the Mecca of Opposition since 1986. A lot has happened since. The LRA war ended in 2004, the government has made many promises, poured resources and programs and penetrated the region like never before in its 35 years in power.
5. Oulanyah once disclosed to the media that there was an elaborate plot hatched by NRM’s CEC to rid Acholi Sub-region of MPs who had served longer in Parliament but with less impact. The plan was straightforward, all party structures got Shs300,000. Besides money, NRM provided each of these agents with bicycles and motorcycles, which greatly motivated them to work, and improved their mobilization capacity. Countless funds are dished out daily by the one and only Uncle Money. Since May 2020, Museveni’s brother Salim Saleh has pitched camp in the heart of Acholiland, Gulu. Not to enjoy Odii, but to reverse opposition fortunes in northern Uganda. Otto has no money
6. Salim Saleh is still based in Gulu.
7. Otto doesn’t have the FDC advantage anymore. The ONLY solution Hon Otto could have used to counter the Deep State machinery is – The FDC Structures, Big Wigs, and FDC Experience Defeating NRM! This was the case for him in 2001, 2006, 2011 and 2016. No more as Otto comically prophesied before the polls, to be called former MP, if FDC was the only Gate Way to Aruu County in 2021; FDC had its own candidate who poached his votes and denied him the party structures. Nadala Mafabi is not there to do his magic.
8. Voter Fatigue. Okumu Reagan, Otto, and Beatrice Anywar are among some of the longest-serving legislators in Acholi sub-region. All of them suffered heavy defeat in the hands of relatively unknown new opponents as they sought their 6th, 5th, and 4th terms, respectively. Otto has been in parliament 20 years, there’s a phenomenal in politics called “Anti-incumbent factor” typically characterized by wave elections. Otto benefitted from this twice first in 2001 with the Movement system fall, then with the Besigye wave of 2006, and is now a victim of an NRM wave in northern Uganda having stayed on for 2 decades in the same seat.
9. Numbers. In 2021, Lokechs son Komakech, an Independent NRM candidate scored 9,327 votes against Mr Odonga’s 5,953. NRM had another candidate Hellen Achieng who garnered 2,982 votes. NRM will ensure they have one candidate this time. Compare these results and 5 years ago in the 2016 General Election, Mr Otto scored 14,216 votes, beating his NRM rival, Mr Navinson Kidega, who garnered 12,653 votes. Talking of fatigue, in Aswa County, FDC’s Reagan Okumu, who has been in Parliament since 1996, polled less than 2,200 votes and emerge 4th in the contest that was won by NRM’s Simon Wokorach with more than 14,000 votes! Just 5 years ago in 2016, Reagan obtained 16,859 votes against Christopher Achire’s 5,316 votes! With this trend if Otto is in the race in Aruu, he will have not more than 3,000 votes.
10. Ottos Grave Problem. We will never know why Otto penned a missive against Lokech even before he was buried, but we know Otto is very erratic. He claims he wanted to reconcile and forgive Lokech for his misdeeds towards him; instead many see his article as beating the dead- night dancing even. Dead or alive, the honors of a hero live. The mere fact that a man’s works outlive him, makes his works even superior to the man himself in life. I was telling someone that Lokech was not a perfect man, he does have skeletons in his closest. But that doesn’t stop his people from honoring him. Once you die, your works remain a reference for the living, good or bad. The Yoruba even have a saying that: a person is not relevant or reckoned with when alive; “it is when he dies that he becomes an idol.” This is where Otto misfired his missive, the effect has been absolute condemnation by many prominent Acholi Opinion Leaders from respected church leader Baker Ochola, Paramount Chief Rwot Onen Achana, his Senior Parliament colleagues Prof Latigo, Hon Ojara Okin, even NRM’s basket mouth Bosmic Otim.
Otto can reconcile at the burial on Friday if he attends, that’s if he’s not booed or even given the mic. Looks like a simple article, BUT the ramfications will be felt more heavily on the campaign trails; his opponents will use this no doubt given that it touches on tradition and faith. Acholi aphorism, Christianity and life’s reality all teach us reconciliation contrary to Otto’s mimicry.
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