Mr Emmanuel Omoding, an independent candidate has been declared winner of Serere County by-election after beating his closest rival of the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM), Phillip Oucor.
Ms Sylvia Chepetegei Nangendo, the returning officer for Serere District declared Omoding as victor with 15,638 votes against his closest contender Oucor who got 13,206 votes
Ms Alice Alaso of Alliance for National Transformation (ANT) got 3,339, Martin Onguruco 2,523, and Emmanuel Eratu of Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) trailed with 1,252.
“By the powers entrusted to me, I declare Emmanuel Omoding as the duly elected MP for Serere County, having obtained the majority vote,” the returning officer for Serere district, Ms Chepetegei said.
The returning officer, Ms Cheptegei said, they canceled results of four polling stations of Olomai polling station in Atiira, Kangod polling station in Ocaapa, Angole polling station in Kyere Sub County, and Odokai polling station in Atiira because of electoral malpractices which were reported by the various candidates from ANT, FDC, and the other independents.
Although the polls started peacefully and smoothly, they turned chaotic later in the day with many reports of electoral malpractices.
Armed officers are said to have stormed polling stations of Kateta Sub County, Kyere and Atiira where they allegedly ticked ballot papers allegedly in favour of the NRM candidate, leaving voters stranded in queues with voting materials.
By the time of declaring results at the tally center, only Mr Omoding was present, the other candidates were no show.
The chairperson electoral commission, Justice Simon Byabakama commended the people of Serere County for having what he described as a peaceful campaign with minor challenges.
Mr Omoding who is the son of the late MP, Patrick Okabe who died in a road crash in December 2022, commended the voters for his victory.
He assured them that his father’s legacy will continue.
“I pledge to continue with the projects my late father left, and I am ready for the task ahead,” he explained.
The NRM electoral commission chairperson, Mr Tanga Odoi, said his party concedes defeat, arguing that their loss was as a result of internal bickering and contradictions.
“We accept the defeat and the hinge is a learning point for us. This is the first time we are losing a by-election. We wish the candidate a good time during his tenure of service. As NRM we don’t have issues with him, we shall not go to court to challenge his victory,” Mr Odoi said.
Who is Omoding?
Initially, a rift had emerged as majority NRM leaders from Serere County fronted Mr Omoding.
Mr Omoding was chosen despite the party having Mr Oucor, who was the substantive NRM party flag bearer.
The two factions failed to harmonise, with Mr Omoding getting nominated as an independent candidate and Mr Oucor remaining as the NRM flag bearer. These were joined by Mr Martin Onguruco, also an NRM leaning independent candidate.
At the time of his father’s death, he had been living in Australia. Mr Omoding was backed to contest by a number of politicians, notable among them, the Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Mr Thomas Tayebwa. He rode on the father’s popularity among the NRM structures and the locals whose late father touched their hearts.