By Teso Vibez Reporter
The National Resistance Movement Party delegates in Soroti have thrown out their flag bearer Jimmy Ekemu in favor of Herbert Edmund Ariko for the Soroti city east by-election scheduled for 28th July 2022. This happened during a delegate’s conference that took place on 15th June 2022 at Jeresar High School.
The Electoral Commission issued a road map for the Soroti East MP by-elections on Monday last week.
According to the roadmap, the nomination of candidates will take place on July 18th and 19th followed by campaigns between July 21st and 26 while polling will take place on July 28th, 2022.
Earlier FDC declared Moses Attan Okia, the ejected Soroti East Member of parliament back unopposed as the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) party candidate ahead of the by-elections.
On May 24th, 2022, the Court of Appeal declared the Soroti East MP seat vacant on grounds that the Electoral Commission failed to conduct free and fair elections.
The judgment stemmed from an appeal by a voter challenging the annexation and transfer of Opiyai and Aloet wards from Soroti East to Soroti West after the nomination of the candidates, which disfranchised and denied over 4,560 voters the right to exercise their constitutional right to vote for the leader of their choice.
Court further pronounced that at the time of voter verification, the people of Opiyai and Aloet wards were verified and confirmed to fall under Soroti East thus the sudden change left voters at a loss and confused as to where they belong and whom to vote for as they were presented with ballot papers of strange candidates than the ones they expected to see and were known to them.
However, following this court ruling, most voters have been left wondering about the candidate that the NRM party would bring.
The NRM party flag bearer Jimmy Ekemu according to some sources within NRM has been regarded as a weak candidate after he polled less than 397 votes in the January 2021 polls.
Much as Ekemu had insisted that he would not relieve the flag he won for the five years electoral period, fresh details from Jerresar indicate that Ariko has been given the flag.
One of the NRM delegates whom we cannot disclose his names said that nine candidates had appeared with interest in the flag and they include Sarah Inachu, George Michael Egunyu, Richard Elimu former Gweri county aspirant, Carolyn Akope Aisu former independent candidate for Soroti city woman MP, Herbert Omoding, Herbert Edmund Ariko among others.
The decision to give Ariko the flag was reached after the NRM vice chairperson eastern region Captain Mike Mukula advised the representatives from the 13 wards to give Ariko and calmed down other aspirants to support Ariko.
“He won three-quarters of the votes. Ariko came himself but people had earlier decided to give George Michael Egunyu if he had not turned up. Representatives came from all the 13 wards, male and female. We also had representatives of persons with disability, youths, boda boda riders, drivers and business community all in the meeting” the source said.
Egunyu told our reporter that the party wanted a competitive candidate who can also garner support and Ariko having joined NRM party would be their choice. In the previous election, Ariko garnered 7167 against Attan of FDC who had garnered 7606 votes.
“The only person who can give us our lost glory as the party is Ariko, yes Ekemu was our flag bearer but he sent a message accepting to work with Ariko and the party,” he said.
Ariko is still serving as the current principal private secretary to the speaker of parliament Hon Anita Among and that means he has to resign before campaign time.
By press time, the NRM delegate’s conference was still on at Jerresar High school along Mbale road