The sharp political rivalry between the supporters of Emmanuel Omoding son of Late Okabe Patrick and the National Resistance Movement (NRM) Party Flag Bearer Philip Oucor has created panic among members of the NRM party.
Multiple credible sources in the top NRM leadership have told this website that they fear that the rivalry is setting fertile grounds for defections.
Sources told this website that Late Okabe’s son and his supporters are very bitter with the flag bearer and his team whom they said have intentions of undermining Late Okabe’s legacy.
In 2020 Okabe who lost to Philip Oucor penned a letter to the NRM Secretariat detailing how the NRM primaries in Serere were mismanaged and noted that the outcome of the polls didn’t reflect the rule of democracy.
Sources at the NRM secretariat told TNN that Late Okabe’s complaints were very strong but the party failed to resolve which prompted him to run as an independent.
Okabe stood as an independent and won against the NRM Flag Bearer in the January 14, 2021 polls. After winning the polls Okabe continued working with NRM with hope of reclaiming the flag in 2025 before he suddenly died in a road accident.
NRM’s Director for Communication and Public Relations, Emmanuel Ddombo while speaking to this website on Saturday said that the leaders of the NRM Secretariat are in Serere meeting various leaders of NRM and other state agencies in order to find out the state of politics in Serere County.
He noted that ever since Hon Okabe died there has been a lot happening noting that they have received so far two petitions from the NRM Party leaders detailing how the NRM Party may get depleted if the Serere by-election is not handled with care.
He said that they have listened and gotten views from NRM Serere and they are going to brief the Secretary General who will in turn brief the National Chairman on the state of Affairs in Serere.
He added that the secretariat has also already informed the people of Serere about the position of the flag bearer but the position now lies on the people when the time of voting comes.
“NRM is built on the power of the people and anybody who despises people creates a challenge. NRM’s first of all here are quarreling against one another. The other problem is there hasn’t been a program to train grassroot leaders about the roles of the party, what the constitution says, how leaders would conduct themselves while in the population,” He said.
Rose Mary Sseninde the National Director Mobilization NRM said that the NRM leadership and security in the district have briefed her on the ongoing bickering within the party which she said is threatening tear the party a part.
“I have noted that, we as the Party have a lot of work to do. Our people need to be trained and guided in order to enable them appreciate the ideology of NRM because if people have the ideology the leaders will know what to do, even the people who want to stand will know what to do but because we see there is a gap, we need to do a lot to close that gap,” Sseninde said.
But Emmanuel Omoding while addressing a press conference in Soroti City over the weekend said retaliated his earlier commitment to replace his late father revealing that he will be contesting as an NRM leaning independent candidate.
He said that his candidature shouldn’t cause panic within the NRM party leaders and supporters noting that he will work with NRM once elected Member of Parliament.
He also promised to reconcile all members of Serere just like his late father did.
On the other hand Philip Oucor while meeting the NRM structure leaders in Kateta asked for forgiveness from party leaders saying he has regretted his actions.
He said that he was going to work with all the structure leaders. “I will work with all of you. Serere is bigger than me and you,” Oucor said while kneeling.
The Electoral Commission has set February 23, 2023 as polling day for the Serere County By-election.