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NRM secretariat pitch camp in Serere to garner support for party candidate

NRM director of mobilization Rosemary Seninde.

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The National Resistance Movement-NRM secretariat has pitched camp in Serere County in an attempt to build consensus within the party structures to support Phillip Oucor, as the party candidate.

This follows a sharp division within the NRM camp over the choice of a candidate for the Serere County by-election. A section of the party structures in Serere have defied the party by declaring support for Emmanuel Omoding, the son of the late MP Patrick Okabe.

Earlier attempts by the NRM Electoral Commission chairperson, Dr. Tanga Odoi to bring the structures together to support Oucor didn’t yield any fruit. On Saturday, the NRM Secretariat led by the director of mobilization, Rosemary Seninde arrived in Serere on a fact-finding mission.

The team accompanied by the director of communication, Emmanuel Dombo, a senior mobilizer in the NRM Secretariat, Sam Eyenga, and the other staff started consultation meetings on Sunday with different stakeholders. At one of the meetings, Oucor was seen on his knees, pleading with the party members for support in a video clip that circulated on social media.

“I promise to work with all of you as a leader. Let’s work together for the development of Serere which is bigger than all of us,” Oucor said in the video clip. But Dombo, in an interview with our reporter on Monday, said that they are building consensus to drum support for the party candidate. He adds that as the NRM, they are standing with the flag bearer against an earlier communication by some party members to back Okabe’s son.

Since the demise of Okabe in an accident in December last year, there has been controversy among NRM party members. Some of the party members have thrown support behind Omoding while others are behind Oucor.

This stems from the declarations made by the Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Thomas Tayebwa at the burial in Serere. Tayebwa presented Omoding to the mourners as a replacement for his father and proceeded to invite the NRM chairman for Eastern Uganda, Capt. Mike Mukula to bless him.

The decision was preceded by several calls from MPs and ministers at the burial to support Omoding as a replacement for his father. But a few weeks after the burial, Dr. Odoi disagreed with the proponents of Omoding’s candidature under the NRM party, arguing that the NRM had a flag bearer whom the Constitution shields when it comes to by-elections.

Stephen Otage, the NRM Chairperson in Kateta sub-county who doubles as the chairman of all NRM chairpersons in Serere County insists that their decision to back Omoding won’t change. Omoding on Friday told Journalists that he will contest as an independent in the forthcoming by-election slated for February 23, 2023.

According to the Electoral Commission roadmap released early in January, the nomination of candidates for the position of Serere County MP will take place on February 9-10, 2023.

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