Serere By-election: Candidates at a Crossroads over Voters Demands

Demands for individual and community needs from voters are putting candidates at a crossroads as the race for the Serere County parliamentary seat starts.

The candidates are now forced to make promises that are outside the major roles of legislators as they seek to woo voters into their camps. Some are now digging deep into their pockets to pay for school fees for learners or shelter for agents as well as buying saucepans, chairs and tents for burial groups among others. 

Emmanuel Omosing Okabe, an independent candidate in the race says that the community needs quick interventions that will help them out of certain situations, especially during death. He believes that giving a boost to Savings and Credit Associations in the villages goes a long way in relieving the communities aside from performing other roles of a Member of Parliament.

Martin Onguruco, another independent candidate told Journalists after his nomination that he will promote programs like SACCOs, construction of roads, access to water, agriculture and education needs even though these fall outside the four major roles of legislation, budget approval, oversight and representation.

“I am currently helping in educating 67 needy but bright children from different parts of the constituency. Just yesterday, I was approached by two other children who excelled in PLE but aren’t able to continue with their education because of fees challenges”, Onguruco, a civil engineer said. He notes that the community challenges force politicians to dig deeper into their pockets because they feel the burden.

But Alice Asianut Alaso, the candidate for Alliance for National Transformation -ANT Party says that much as the community has pressing issues making them seek relief from politicians, effective representation in Parliament is key in addressing community issues through legislation and policy changes.

Citing biting poverty, Alaso said that there should be efforts to help people come out of poverty through good legislation and policies in the government. She adds that her term will focus mainly on providing effective representation and leadership.

Phoebe Agwaro, a resident of Serere Town Council says that her choice of candidate is one who will be able to lobby for support to open feeder roads, boost the savings and credit associations, and construct classrooms but also be available to commiserate with the community during trying moments. She said MPs should be able to buy tents, chairs and plates for Tabu groups.

Solomon Erau, a resident of Abuket- Kamese in Kyere Sub County wants the MP to share his salary with the constituents. “First of all, the MP is given allowances for reaching us and whatever he is paid, we don’t get anything. That’s why we also ask them to cater for some things so that the community benefits”, he said.

Before his demise, the late area MP Patrick Okabe had opened more than 150 SACCO groups in the constituency. Each SACCO had a seed capital of one million Shillings. He also gave out goats, pigs and seeds to the community during the planting season and boosted each burial group with plates, saucepans, chairs and tents.

In Serere and almost all the Constituencies in Teso, the MPs shoulder burial costs, treatment, paying school fees and other emergencies that affect their electorate. Serere MPs also make contributions of at least 100,000 Shillings to every burial, a trend that was adopted in the past few years.

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