SOROTI – Moses Attan Okia, the former Forum for Democratic Change FDC Party candidate in the Soroti East by-election has explained his decision to challenge the July poll results.
Okia represented Soroti East Division in Parliament before the Court of Appeal cut short his term over mismatched wards in the city.
He attempted to reclaim his seat and lost to the National Resistance Movement-NRM party candidate, Herbert Edmund Ariko.
However, Okia rejected the July 28, 2022 poll results promising to seek legal redress. This is the first time Okia, who has been running in the Soroti parliamentary race since 2011 is running to court.
Okia challenged NRM’s Mike Mukula in the 2011 elections and lost. In 2016, he lost Ariko, who was then a member of FDC. He, however, didn’t challenge the poll results in court.
Contrary to the previous polls, Okia has this time around decided to go to court, which has generated mixed reactions from voters on social media. This prompted Okia to take to social media to explain his decision.
“Let me take this opportunity to share why we are in court and why we won’t fear to take the risk of being slapped with heavy costs or even death”, Okia’s dossier starts before asking four rhetoric questions.
Attan Verbatim: “Our election petition, is premised on the believe that for evil to prevail all good men and women must remain silent in the face of injustices. If we remain silent now, in the future elections they may come to kill at any polling station aware that nothing can be done by the victims of their injustices. They could kill your mother, father, brother, sister or even your own child because he or she has a preferred choice. It can happen anywhere in Uganda and we shall be growing Ugandans with the culture of impunity and the untouchable.”
Yes, I am very aware of the risks associated with taking this direction I have chosen. My supporter, maybe fear the costs that may be slapped on me but it even entails being murdered anytime. However, for the record, I will state, that I wouldn’t love to remain alive while silent in the face of injustices. I am spending and willing to pay the highest cost, even if it’s death for us as a people to have a free and democratic society. This is a struggle, I decided on and joined in 2001.
With the injustices of the recent Soroti East Bye-election and what ordinary citizens faced and continue to face because of their belief and choices, I will be the biggest traitor to them if I went silent as they continue to suffer beatings and sleeping outside their homes. Those thinking of 2026, I respect your position. However, respectfully I will defer because this is beyond ceremonial electioneering but rather a focus on the subject matter to check the growth of impunity and a section of Ugandans to think that they are above the law.
We are in court to test the law, to test the democratic principles and rule of law that we are told was brought into Uganda some 37yrs ago. It will be remembered that in 1981, the current leader of Uganda went to the bush because of rigged elections and over half a million people died in the five years- 1981-1986.
Given what happened in Soroti East Division Bye-election, if those who died in the five-year bush war were alive today, would they remain silent? Would Mr. Museveni of the 1980s remain silent? If you’re an NRM fun, or follower reflect a little and ask yourself, why they did the NRM have to rob Attan’ victory in broad daylight? What was at stake? Why did they have to beat and injure people in order to force a win? What crime did Attan commit against the state of Uganda?
After, you have thought through, u will appreciate why Attan won’t go silent against injustices and that is me since 2001 to date. This election petition shouldn’t worry the one who supported me, calm down. We shall handle it, this is a struggle and a long-term one that eventually Ugandans shall rejoice over some day. Even the NRMs too shall enjoy the fruits of this struggle one day when we have a free and democratic country.
In every struggle, some individuals must take the responsibility to pay the heaviest price. I am sure, we draw inspiration from the Late Nelson Mandela for what South Africa is today, what America is today, the late Martin Luther King Jr. is a role model, in the present India, Mahatma Gandhi stood out and spoke out against injustices in the colonial India.We have a duty as citizens, to stand up and speak out against injustices because injustice to anyone is injustice to everyone.
Yesterday was Attan and his supporters, and you celebrate the injustices against us because you’re NRM, tomorrow it could be done unto you and there may be no one left to speak out for you. If you doubt, ask former Prime Minister Amama and the former IGP- Kale, and the famous chairman boda- boda 2010-Kitata. No one is free until all of us are free. Yes, you may hate Attan and his supporters but respect the rule of law and if you don’t observe it, don’t expect us to not speak out because we must fear costs that may be slapped on us from the captured courts or even being murdered.
Although the grounds for the petition are not yet out, Okia argues that the Soroti East by- election was marred grave irregularities including ballot stuffing, bribery, intimidation and imprisonment of party leaders by state machinery.”
Ariko won with 9,407 votes against the 8,771 votes garnered by Attan in the July 28, 2022 by- election. The matter is at Soroti High Court, awaiting response from Ariko, the electoral commission and the Soroti City Registrar, Chritine Eyuu.