NRM to Hold Fresh Primaries for Kamuli By-Election

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In short
The National Resistance Movement NRM party says it will hold fresh primary elections for Kamuli Municipality parliamentary seat. The seat fell vacant on February 14th after the Court of Appeal nullified the election of Rehema Watongola over the authenticity of her academic documents.

The National Resistance Movement (NRM) party says it will hold fresh primary elections for Kamuli Municipality parliamentary seat.

The seat fell vacant on February 14th after the Court of Appeal nullified the election of Rehema Watongola over the authenticity of her academic documents. This was after the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) candidate Salaamu Musumba challenged Watongola's election.

Watongola, who contested on NRM party candidate, garnered 8,175 votes against Musumba's 6,702 votes.
 
Speaking about the road-map for the re-election, NRM electoral commission Chairperson Dr Tanga Odoi told the media today that the party primaries will be held on March 20th.

Nominations will be held on 6th and 7th March followed by a joint campaign from 9th to 18th.
 
Odoi strongly warned what he called uneducated candidates against seeking to contest stating that they will face serious disciplinary measures. 

When asked about the current flag-bearer, Rehema Watongola, Odoi stated that she will have to go through the primaries since court ruled that her papers were not legitimate. He added that for her to also contest she will require a different document from that which court dismissed.

Dr Odoi said they will also seek guidance from party lawyers and Electoral Commission before admitting her. Odoi also said the NRM EC will ensure a rigorous examination exercise to get the right candidates.

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Watongola, however, vows that if NRM does not take her as the flag bearer, she will contest as an Independent candidate. When asked if she has legitimate documents, Watongola stated that she sat for the Advanced Level examinations in 2016 and has genuine results.

She however insisted that her previous documents presented to court are also legitimate.

"I have 90% of Kamuli Municipality residents as my supporters, and if NRM does not support me as a flag bearer I will have to go as Independent," she said. 

The Electoral Commission has set April 12th as the day of elections. The Commission chairperson, Justice Simon Byabakama, early this week stated that the court ruling did not bar Watongola from contesting in the future, but only challenged the legitimacy of her results.

He said if Watongola is to stand as a candidate, the same criteria to check her qualification will be applied.

 

About the author

Alex Otto
“Journalism that changes lives is my goal,” Alex Otto has said on more than one occasion. That is his career’s guiding principle. Has been since he was a radio journalist in the northern Ugandan town of Gulu in 2009.

Otto passionately believes his journalism should bring to the fore the voices of the voiceless like the shooting victims of Apaa. Otto tries in his journalism to ask tough questions to those in positions of authority.

Based in the Kampala bureau, Otto is especially interested in covering agriculture, politics, education, human rights, crime, environment and business. He has reported intensively on the post-conflict situation in northern Uganda.

A URN staff member since 2014, Otto previously worked with The Observer Newspaper from 2012 to 2013 and later the Institute for War and Peace Reporting IWPR based in Gulu.

He was the URN Gulu bureau chief 2014-2016.