EXCLUSIVE: Linda Auma, Dr Aceng campaign teams disagree ahead of party polls

In a white circle is Dr Jane Aceng waiting for Auma Linda (inset) at Pauline Hotel on Sunday.


Key arguments:

  • Both teams deny monetary request and offer.
  • Dr Jane Aceng won’t run-away from the political contest.
  • Linda Auma wants Dr Jane Aceng to give her the way.
  • Both sides’ campaign managers spoke to the publication.
  • Two meetings have failed to reach consensus.

Lira—20, July 2020: The contest for Lira district Woman MP seat is getting fierier each day with both candidates from ruling party, National Resistance Movement (NRM) yet to reach a consensus ahead of party primary elections due soon.

Linda Agness Auma who’s also the Lira district NRM party vice chairperson is competing for the same legislative office she lost in 2016 polls to Uganda People’s Congress (UPC) party aspirant, incumbent Joy Atim Ongom.

In NRM, Auma is competing with ‘mama corona’—Dr Jane Ruth Aceng who is a Health Minister. The latter has been commended in recent months for her role in fighting Covid-19 in Uganda.

Auma—who resigned last month as the Amuru RDC, according to report, if the ongoing negotiations aimed at agreeing on who carries the party flag without going through primary elections fail, will face a determined Doctor.

This publication has been privy to two flopped meetings between the two NRM strong women which meetings have failed to reach a consensus.

The first meeting involving Linda Auma’s team was held in Kampala recently. This meeting was hosted by Dr Jane Aceng herself. Both aspirants agreed that another meeting be held in Lira town to forge a better way going forward.

On Sunday, 19 July 2020, a meeting organised by Linda Auma and was to be attended by Dr Jane Aceng and her campaign team in Lira ‘flopped’.

According to Jacob Ocen, in an exclusive interview with TND News on Monday morning, “the meeting has been going on to have only one flag bearer”.

“Those in government had the same idea,” he added. Asked why? He responded: “The idea reached us (as a rumour) that the President wants Dr Jane to carry the flag without primary elections and we (team Linda) resolved that it should be us to carry the flag and to contest in the bigger elections.”

Further asked about the Sunday meeting, Ocen said it was not possible to make it at 2pm as it was initially planned, revealing that “we were consulting delegates”.

“At 6:30pm, we reached Pauline Hotel (meeting venue) and found team Jane had left and we called her and she agreed to mobilize her team—among them Dr Laury Lawrence Ocen (campaign manager), Sam Ebuk aka Sam Samu, Geoffrey Etwop (Lira NRM treasurer) and Sam Engola (Lira district NRM chairperson also the Northern Uganda national vice-chairman),” Ocen added.

After the above people arrived, Mr Ocen told the publication that “I communicated our position to them and told them if that’s the case, we want an audience from the President.”

In that meeting, Ocen says Linda Auma didn’t attend due to a busy schedule.

He strongly reiterated that the meeting was convened to build a consensus on who should hold the flag, but not to discuss offers in term of money from Dr Jane for Linda Auma to step down.

“I’m not aware of any money being offered and I am not about to talk about it.” This was his last statement.

On Sunday evening, several social media platforms for Lango natives, especially WhatsApp groups, was served with an announcement showing that Dr Jane Aceng had offered shs300m to Auma Linda in order for her to step down.

In an interview with this same publication Monday afternoon, Dr Laury Lawrence Ocen, who is Dr Jane Aceng’s campaign manager, says he was not aware of any monetary offer in place.

“First of all, I don’t speak for the presidency and I’m not aware of that meeting….” Dr Ocen responded.

“In my honest opinion, the candidate (Dr Jane) told me she met Linda Auma and one of her agents in her office in Kampala, and they talked and agreed that the next meeting would take place yesterday (Sunday) at 2pm. At 2pm, we went there and Linda didn’t show up. When the Minister was leaving for Kampala, she (Linda) called and we met at 6pm; we didn’t meet Linda there. We waited for about 30 minutes. Me myself as campaign manager, Sam Engola and other businessmen,” he explained.

According to Dr Laury, they didn’t know what Linda and her team wanted to tell them, adding “but it was about consensus”.

“The particular meeting of yesterday was initiated by her (Linda). I don’t see why you initiate a meeting, you don’t have its purpose.”

“Whether she wants to be compensated or pull away, I really don’t know her term,” he further said.

Will Dr Jane step down in case she’s defeated in the primary elections or she has options? Replying to this question, he answered: “That’s absolutely not possible and it can never be. The Minister will win NRM primary elections.”

On the available option, he briefly said: “The Minister can best answer that because she’s a candidate.”

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