“Even if your position on a political issue was wrong yesterday, once you changed to a correct one and you take good position, I welcome you,” President Yoweri Museveni once said while closing the first Movement conference held on July 17th 1998.
Lira – 2, August 2021: Analysts say, perhaps the above statement has been the strategic political strength why he has successfully managed his political opponents and maintained his leadership for over 35 years and no wander several opposition politicians are ever appointed to prominent government roles and responsibilities.
In 2016, President Museveni teamed up with the Uganda People’s Congress (UPC) party during the campaign, a move that saw NRM severely pummeling FDC’s Col Kizza Besigye in the general election.
During the 2016 campaigns, President Museveni was joined by the then Kole district Woman MP Joy Ruth Aceng who accompanied him to all his campaign rallies across the country.
This was the first time we saw openly a serving opposition MP campaigning for the ruling NRM. In fact, she lost her seat since she had campaigned much outside the region for Museveni.
In what started as a simple political support for NRM soon saw President Museveni trusting Aceng and subsequently fully recruited her into the NRM power.
Indeed, after the election, President Museveni opted to drop the then Minister of State for Northern Uganda, Rebecca Amuge Otengo when she lost her seat, among other reasons from the cabinet and instead appointed Aceng as the State Minister for Fisheries.
A group of NRM outrightly fought her appointment as a minister from Lango until she was dropped by the appointing authority.
It’s on record that a section of NRM leaders from Lango thronged State House Entebbe and while meeting President Museveni demanded for Aceng’s removal from the cabinet. They accused Museveni of favoring UPC leaders.
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President Museveni subsequently dropped her and maintained Col P. Charles Okello Engola, Betty Amongi and Dr Ruth Aceng, a move that enraged Lango cultural leaders.
Few weeks later, President Museveni again appointed Aceng as Uganda’s Envoy to Ottawa (Canada), and deployed former Minister Otengo to Ethiopia. However, this did not go down well with several groups, including a former Minister from Lango who had been ignored by the President – according to our reliable sources.
Recent attacks on her
We should recall that towards 2021 campaign, President Museveni entrusted Amb Aceng to coordinate and garner votes for NRM and subsequently accompanied him to his various rallies across the country like she did in 2016.
This move reportedly angered some leaders including her colleague Amb Rebecca Otengo who apparently had also mobilised a separate NRM media team [members]; the NRM Director for Communications, Emmanuel Dombo resolved this during the campaign.
It is also reported that Aceng’s recent trouble was strategically planned and executed by a female ambassador who had been terribly disturbed by her growing political trust from the President.
Another source revealed that this “same former Minister was for long angered by the President Museveni’s decision to deploy her in a third world country” and instead “deployed Aceng whom she considered junior to a first world country by ranking”.
We have also established that a young boy and a “dependant” to this same former Minister now Ambassador was once deployed at the home of Amb Aceng apparently to “spy on her”.
“This boy who was studying at Makerere University Kampala reportedly approached Amb Aceng pretending to be seeking for where to stay yet he was on a spy mission and soon after allegedly completing his spying task on Amb Aceng, he reportedly left the place,” a source told TND News.
The dispute against Amb Aceng by some politicians from Lango started some years back.
It’s on record that Amb Otengo and Aceng doesnot see eye to eye much as the two have for long been downplaying it from the public domain.
“Otengo’s family has for long and now still holding a personal grudge against Amb Aceng, accusing her of allegedly frustrating the marriage of their sister only identified as Sarah.”
Sarah was formerly married to John Ogweng, Aceng’s former husband whom she later separated with because of “several clandestine wars against her.”
Also, the fierce political dispute has clandestinely been existing between Amb Otengo and the State Minister for Sports, also the Ajuri County MP, Denis Hamson Obua since she lost her Parliamentary seat.
In fact, this rift escalated when one of the Otengo’s dependants opted to contest against MP Obua during the NRM Primaries but he miserably lost the race.
There has also been a prominent rift between Otengo and former Minister, Sam Engola and Dokolo South MP, Felix Okot over the years.
In August 2012, a group of NRM cadres led by the then NRM youth chairperson, Willy Omodo Omodo among others, staged a mega demonstration in Lira town protesting what they termed as “manipulation by Amb Otengo against various presidential appointments for key positions including RDCs”, a claim which she denied.
According to Omodo, several members of Amb Otengo’s family are employed (appointed) and holding senior positions in government including her sisters Mirriam Otengo now working at the Embassy of Uganda in UK as the Minister Counselor, Susan Akany now RDC Omoro District, among others.
It is reported that Mirriam Otengo, a younger sister to Amb Otengo once fought her former husband Amb Dickson Ogwang Okul shortly after separating with him.
Late last year, Amb Ogwang was deployed to Khartoum.
More in our subsequent edition.