The 2021 political campaigns for leaders to retain or reclaim seats have rapidly started even with electoral commission [EC] yet to come out with a road-map.
Ahead of next general elections – many people are expecting it to be the fieriest ever, across the country, some political hopefuls interested in different offices have kicked off ‘their small campaigns’.
Back to Lira politics – especially Erute South, there are visible signs that someone is already campaigning to reclaim the MP chair he lost in 2016 polls.
Among candidates who have ‘expressed interest’ to vie for Erute South County MP seat in the next election is Honourable Sam Engola. Mr. Engola is a renowned businessman; a politician who is currently the Lira district NRM Chairperson. He’s also the NRM party vice chairperson for northern Uganda.
In recent months, Mr. Engola who could not retain his MP seat in past elections  is now carrying out key activities in the constituency, among them donating to the clergy, churches, and community groups, constructing roads, among others.
On Tuesday, TND News’ Milton Emmy Akwam sought the opinion of the incumbent MP, Jonathan Odur and below are their conversations.
TND News: We would like to hear from you, the latest ‘development’ taking place in your constituency, Erute South. Your predecessor, Sam Engola in recent months embarked on giving what many we have talked to are calling “hand-outs”; among them a car to clergy, working on roads, etc. In 2016, you defeated him and it’s like he’s fighting to reclaim his seat in next polls. Isn’t this early campaigns contrary to the law?
MP Odur Jonathan: I am unable to determine whether he campaigned or not since I was not there. If he did campaign to be elected in 2021, then it’s a blatant violation of the law and Electoral Commission and Police ought to have acted swiftly to prevent him.
TND News: Do you call it [his help] “a commitment to the community from the heart?”
MP Jonathan Odur: What you call “donating a vehicle to Rev” is actually a business he has been dealing in for many years. He is a Broker or Akayungirizi who earns from commissions from his effort to convince buyers. As an MP of the area, I am aware that he has been brokering deals for sale of motorcycles, vehicles, cement and iron sheets to my voters using the trickery of “donations” which later turns out to be loans and I don’t see anything different.
In fact many of my voters especially the youth have been arrested, imprisoned and impoverished by his dubious brokerages of motor cycle loans which he dupes them as free and they sign loan documents ignorantly disguised as transfer or registration forms.
Does a man who destroyed tap water in Lira Municipality after losing elections have a “commitment to the community from the heart? Does a man who dismantled boreholes in Barr Sub County in 2016 have “a commitment to the community from the heart? Does a man who insulted voters after losing in 2016 have a “commitment to the community from the heart? Does a man who picked millions from churches as broker to buy for them Iron Sheets in vain have “commitment to the community from the heart?”
Does a man whose mind is poisoned with dirty deals and tireless efforts to block kinsmen from progressing have a “commitment for the community from the heart?” The answer is definitely a NO.
TND News: What are your general say on what he is doing?
MP Jonathan Odur: By law, he is free to move around and do lawful activities in his legitimate capacities but I advise him to find better ways of doing business brokering and avoid trapping unsuspecting persons into unintended loans. He should also stop interfering in implementation of district local government projects by making false claims that he is the one financing government projects.