Elections for National Resistance Movement flag bearers in Kitgum district may be over, but the long journey to secure key posts for the party has just begun.
The NRM has had a troubled relationship with voters in Kitgum. This dates back to 1986 when Yoweri Museveni overthrew Tito Okello Lutwa as President of Uganda. The period following that was chaotic and bloody as the Lord's Resistance Army terrorized and killed residents during its 20-year guerilla war.
With peace returning to Kitgum, many voters are approaching the NRM with caution. Some of them blame President Museveni's government for not ending the rebellion sooner and causing untold suffering to thousands of people.
69-year-old James Opoka of Namukora Sub-County says many people remember the overthrow of Tito Okello Lutwa who was a son of Kitgum district. He says that although the appointment to cabinet of Henry Oryem Okello, Tito Okello's son, healed some wounds, not everyone is ready to forgive Museveni or the NRM.
Julius Okullo Mambo, also a resident of Namukora, agrees with Opoka. He says the NRM needs to ask for forgiveness from people if it wants to secure a definitive win in the 2011 elections.
Luka Nyeko, an NRM candidate for the Kitgum LC5 chair, is more positive in his outlook. He says the NRM has done a good job of organizing its members to increase its support in the district.
Nyeko says party members are discussing reconciliation and development and he believes that the time is ripe for the NRM to win majority votes in Kitgum.
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Jane Achiro, the winner of the NRM election for Kitgum Woman MP, says that although a tough race lies ahead for party members, it will be easier that it has been in the past. She says many people are grateful for the end of the LRA war and are happy to return home after decades of living in camps for the internally displaced.
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The NRM Kitgum chairman, Jimmy Ayella, is appealing to party members to put aside their differences ahead of the 2011 elections. He says the NRM is strong enough to win all elective seats in the district.