By Jackson Onyango
Several candidates in the ongoing Serere county by-election have already cast their votes as the constituency moves to vote for their next Member of Parliament. Both the Alliance for National Transformation candidate, Alice Alaso, and the National Resistance Movement candidate Philip Oucor had by 9:00 am this morning cast their votes.
They expressed optimism about winning the vote as they applauded the Electoral Commission for a well-organized election exercise.
The Electoral Commission had by 6:00 am dispatched the polling materials to the 138 polling stations where 74,394 voters are expected to cast their votes.
The three other candidates in the race are Emmanuel Omoding, the son of the former MP Patrick Okabe who contested on an independent ticket, Martin Onguruco another independent, and the Forum for Democratic Change Candidate Emmanuel Eratu.
Though there has been relative peace in the area, the police on Wednesday arrested the Kasilo County MP Elijah Okupa who they say was found campaigning past the Tuesday deadline. Okupa had not been released by Thursday morning.
However, Okupa disputed in an audio recording the ground for his arrest arguing that it was orchestrated by the National Resistance Movement camp. He stated in the audio recording that they were training the candidates’ agents when he was arrested.
There has been tension between the NRM and Okabe’s camp who appears to have the support of the NRM leaders from the region.
This was confirmed at the last rally of the NRM candidate where the director for mobilization stated that the campaign had not been easy.
On the other hand, the minister of state for fisheries Hellen Adoa told the gathering that she had been away for two months indisposed by an emergency delivery. However, she urged President Yoweri Museveni to always have the party iron out issues before they head for a by-election.
The by-election follows the death of the former MP Okabe who was killed in a motor accident together with his wife in December last year