NRM Blames Defeat in Arua on Violence By Opposition, Split Party Support

NRM Secretary General, Justine Kasule Lumumba

The ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) has blamed their loss in the recently concluded Arua Municipality MP by-elections to violence allegedly caused by the opposition camps during the election period.

Detained and Independent Kassiano Wadri won the Arua Municipality by-election held on Wednesday August 15 beating NRM candidate Nusura Tiperu and other ten candidates amidst reports of low voter turnout.

Out of the 46,000 registered voters, only 16,000 voters (34%) turned out to cast their ballots with Mr Kassiano polling 6,421 votes and Tiperu 4,798 votes.

However, the election was characterised by reports of confrontations between supporters of Mr Wadri and those supporting Mr Bruce Musema, of the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC).

On the last day of campaigning (Monday August 13), MP Robert Kyagulanyi’s driver was shot dead in the chaos which erupted when Mr Wadri’s supporters pelted stones at the President’s convoy, destroying a rear window glass for one of the cars.

While addressing journalists at the NRM headquarters in Kampala on Thursday afternoon, Justine Kasule Lumumba, the party Secretary General said that the violence witnessed in Arua polls threatened away women from participating in the exercise yet they (women) are largely known to be NRM supporters.

“Violence during elections affects us more as it scares away the women after developing fear,” she said.

“Such acts are not called for and I appeal to the security agencies to always react to them with maximum attention in order to protect the innocent women from shying away from their constitutional rights,” added Lumumba.

Asked about the growing so-called ‘people power’ as used by detained Kyadondo East MP, Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu (Bobi Wine) and his supporters, Ms Lumumba explained that the slogan (people power) is used by the wrong side (opposition).

According to Lumumba, that slogan should instead be used by the NRM since it commands majority support in the country than those without even clear “political inclination”.

Originally, NRM had two leaning candidates in the race including Angupale Swadic and Jackson Atima, but later on Mr Angupale agreed to step aside and back the party flag bearer.

Going by the outcome of the election, Nusura’s votes combined with Atima’s would have give NRM an outright victory.

But, Ms Lumumba says the party failed to convince their Independent leaning candidate out of the race because, they held their primaries late.

“NRM held its primaries late and there was therefore no time to reconcile its candidates some of whom ended up getting nominated for the general elections,” she explained.

“The total number of votes gathered by the party flag bearer and other NRM-leaning candidates was far bigger than the opposition. This is an indication that NRM would have taken this seat if it had only one party member in the race,” she added.

She further noted that the party will embark on correcting those mistakes to reclaim the lost positions in future.

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