Bukedea By- Election: State House Cracks Whip on Security

The hotly contested Bukedea LCV Chairperson by-election has left several officials including security heads behind bars. The latest suspects are the Bukedea Resident District Commissioner- RDC, William Wilberforce Tukei, and the District Police Commander- DPC, Charles Okoto.

The duo was picked from their respective offices on Monday afternoon and driven to Kampala by the State House Anti-Corruption Unit. They are accused of failing to act on, among others; the rampant acts of intimidation and assault of some candidates, polling agents, journalists, and voters.

According to the statement released by the State House Anti-Corruption Unit, the said incidents occurred before, during, and after the Bukedea by-election elections conducted in June 2023.

The statement notes that as the head of the District Security Committee, the RDC who is expected to play an oversight role in the coordination of smooth transition in the elections and other government activities/programs in the district, failed in his part when the Electoral Commission held by-elections in Bukedea.

The by-election was marred with several irregularities including violence, ballot stuffing, intimidation, and robberies. One of the aspirants, David Stephen Omagor was attacked twice by men in uniform where he lost more than sh200 million and nomination documents.

The first attack was orchestrated at his home in Bukedea Town Council at night while the second was carried out in the presence of police officers and electoral commission officials. As a result, Omagor failed to register as a candidate for the elections.

How Bukedea By-Election was plotted

After the demise of the then Bukedea LCV Chairperson, Moses Olemukan in December 2022, it took the appointing authority only 55 days to deploy his close challenger in the 2021 general election, Wilberforce Tukei in Bukedea as RDC. Tukei who was deployed in Kween district on March 23, 2022, was transferred to Bukedea early this year.

When he took over office, the Bukedea District Council attempted to block the LC V Chairperson by-election. Sources in the district say that the council hatched the plan to have the then LC V Vice Chairperson, Mary Akol made  LCV Chairperson but the idea was cut short by the legal provisions that require a replacement by voting after six months.

According to Santos Osekeny, the Chairperson of Civil Society and Nongovernmental organizations in Bukedea, Tukei’s deployment in Bukedea as RDC was strategic and caused highhandedness in the Police operations in the district.

He says that through Tukei’s orders, the Police started arresting Olemukan’s supporters who were backing his daughter, Loyce Akiror.

Akiror declared her intentions to replace her father but her dream was short-lived when she faced several threats from the security teams in the district. She surrendered after the arrest of her husband, John Bosco Otim which was followed by a meeting with President Yoweri Museveni at State House. Osekeny alleged that all the arrests, intimidations, and fear in the district are attributed to the strong Bukedea woman and Member of Parliament, Anita Among.

Our reporter couldn’t independently verify the claims. Among, who doubles as the Speaker of Parliament, was said to be an ally of the newly elected LCV Chairperson, Mary Akol, while the RDC is one of her confidants and loyal servants. Osekeny notes that when Akiror stepped down, she recommended David Stephen Omagor whom the majority of the people in Bukedea supported for election as LCV Chairperson.

Joseph Ilaborot, an NRM supporter and elder in Bukedea faults the top leadership of the district for being self-centered. He says that the issues in Bukedea have been exposed because the top leadership fought Omagor whom he notes was the choice of the majority of the voters.

Ilaborot alias Edees Opalakiro says that those arrested were only agents working for other people especially within the top leadership of the district. He says that his leaders have selfish interests in the management of the district affairs, something he notes has failed service delivery.

He notes that the by-election has only been able to expose the rot that has kept Bukedea down for years. Since Investigations started late in June, the State House Anti-Corruption Unit together with the Police have arrested at least eight people.

Those arrested earlier are the officer in charge of criminal investigations Alex Enguloit, the Bukedea Town Council LC V councilor, Dan Malinga, and police constables Onesmus Akankwasa, Oriokot Simon Peter, Kamakoin Difas, and Born Naibei.

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