Lira – 29 October 2020: George Abdul is not relenting in his quest and bid to represent the youth of Karamoja, Lango, Acholi and West Nile as their youth MP in the 11th Parliament of Uganda.
Despite his denomination and disappointment by the National Resistance Movement (NRM) party electoral body headed by Dr Tanga Odoi on the basis of his age, Addul caught up with TND News’ political correspondent Frank Oyugi and assured the youth of Northern Uganda to keep their hopes high “because many options are still at play”.
On October 6, 2020, a letter from NRM EC’s John Arimpa announced the party had denominated two candidates namely; Abdul George of Northern Uganda and Mercelina Busomoke who was contesting for National Youth MP.
Arimpa didn’t delve much into more reasons why the party chose to denominate the two contestants, but for Abdul, the letter signed by Dr Tanga Odoi indicated that Abdul had falsified his age which disqualified him from contesting in the NRM primaries. The flag was later won by Boniface Okot.
This was according to a petition from a one Patrick Odongkara who argued that Abdul already participated in elections of NRM youth primaries in 2015. At that time, the petitioner claimed that Abdul was aged 29 and therefore would be over aged to run again in 2021.
Abdul clarifies on his age
Abdul has dismissed with contempt the grounds raised by his party’s electoral commission, and said he was baffled because he presented his authentic academic documents and the National Identicard Number from NITA which indicates that he is still eligible to run as a youth MP.
“As you all know I ran in 2015 for this same position, but there was too much intimidation; i was even kidnapped before my nomination. However, my team managed to nominate me in absence and they gave information to NITA about my age which I later corrected,” Abdul tells TND News.
According to him, he was born on 6th October 1991, an information corroborated by baptism card from Uganda Marty’s Cathedral Lira. This means currently he is 29 years of age.
What does the law say?
According to the national youth council Act, 1993 parliamentary elections Act and special interest group regulations of 2001, only a youth; a person of not more than 30 years at the time of elections is eligible to contest.
Bitter row with Tanga
“Imagined it was only three days to the polling day and I was busy canvassing for votes in Koboko after he (Dr Tanga) had cleared to me to proceed with my campaigns but I was shocked when friends started calling me about a letter of denomination circulating on social media,” Adbul recalls.
He says it had bad motive that Dr Tanga could not call him to alert him of any matter arising nor were his lawyers informed of the decision which he calls “malicious”.
“I had to stop my campaigns and I headed to Kampala to pick the said letter, Dr Tanga was lucky; I would have punched him right on the head,” an infuriated politician says.
Voting for youth MPs in the four regions of the country is in January 2021 according to the guidelines issued by the independent electoral commission and Abdul says there is still much to reckon with.
He says he has petitioned Office of the national Chairperson of the NRM, Gen.Y.K Musveni for his intervention.
Just like the president ensured that the NRM tribunal did due diligence in reviewing the entire NRM primaries, Abdul says he has asked the president to take keen interest in the unfairness exhibited by the party’s electoral commission.
He is further demanding that the victory of Boniface Okot be nullified and fresh elections held for the NRM flag bearer for Northern Uganda.
Abdul reveals he is not giving up on the options of running as an independent candidate just like he did in 2015 if the party does not resolve his issue in the affirmative.
“NIRA which is mandated to carry out birth and death registrations in this county has cleared me, my National Identity Card shows I am 29; they are an authority and if my party cannot respect this, the independent electoral commission will not disappoint, I am already secretary finance in the National Youth Council Structure of Lira district, so let the youth know I am still around,” he said.
He, however, commended young people who support his candidature, beseeching them to remain peaceful despite intimidation and bribery exhibited during the polls from which he was already registered.
Asked what his chances were if he was to remain on the card, Abdul boasted that he had done an effective mobilisation and would have won by a landslide.
Abdul George went to Amach Complex for his UCE, Dr Obote College for his UACE, Pakwach UCC and currently a student at Lira University.
About his papers which others say might tally with his age, Abdul said there is not any cause for alarm because in the education system of Uganda it is not stipulated at what age one should sit a particular level of national exams.