The Serere County Member of Parliament, Patrick Okabe has said the decision by the ruling National Resistance Movement- NRM party to use lining up in the primary elections was a huge mistake. Okabe made the comment while addressing a press conference in Soroti where he announced his decision rejecting the outcome of the party primaries in his constituency.
According to the results, Okabe garnered 10,302 votes while Phillip Oucor who was declared winner polled 18,751 votes. Okabe describes the primaries as a total sham, saying it was conducted in disregard of the democratic principles of the party. He claims that the number of voters was inflated in Serere constituency with ghost voters.
Okabe also reveals that although polls didn’t take place at more than five Polling Stations in Omagoro parish in Kateta Sub County, they were included on the tally, something he notes cost him the party flag.
Okabe, who has petitioned the NRM Electoral Commission in Kampala, wants the results nullified, lest he contests on the Independent ticket. He says the election was mismanaged, which he attributes to the voting system used for the primaries.
Okabe, who doubles as the Chairperson of Teso Parliamentary Group, says the decision of lining up of voters in NRM primaries needs to be revised.
In July, the Central Executive Committee (CEC), the supreme organ of the NRM rejected the secret ballot system and supported lining up to ensure transparency and credibility of the electoral process. CEC also argued that secret ballot process was costly in terms of printing ballot papers and other election materials. However, Okabe’s other rival, Samuel Otaala says the election was free and fair. In his statement published by his aides, Otaala concedes defeat and pledges to rally behind the party flag bearer, Phillip Oucor. “The party Primary Elections went well and there was no rigging and I thank the NRM party Electoral Commission chairman, Dr. Tanga Odoi for organizing these elections”, Otaala’s post reads in part.
Nine NRM MPs lost the Primaries across Teso Sub Region. Majority of them have expressed discontent over the election.