The National Resistance Movement (NRM) will hold its primaries for mayoral flag bearers in September as the party fights to win back Lira City from the Opposition Uganda Peoples Congress (UPC).
According to Daily Monitor, in the 2016 elections, the Opposition party inflicted a heavy defeat on the ruling NRM party by winning major political seats in Lira District.
However, NRM has vowed to reclaim top-dog status in the 2021 elections in Lira, beginning with the mayoral seat for the recently created Lira City.
Each party has three aspirants who are eyeing their respective flags.
Among the contestants is former Gulu University guild president Morris Chris Ongom who has abandoned UPC and crossed to NRM to uproot the incumbent, Mr Mike Ogwang Veve (UPC).
If elected, Mr Ongom promises to promote “pro-poor, pro-talent nurture education” for the urban poor.
“In view of the current leadership expeditions by the sons and daughters of this nation, I am much convinced that my orientation, training, positioning, preparation, experience and aspirations now warrant me to contribute to the building of our society,” he said on Monday.
Others are Mr George Mawa, the former councillor for Barogole Parish in Ojwina Division. Mr Mawa, who lost to UPC’s Ogwang in the 2016 poll, contested on the NRM ticket.
“I’m on my way to bring to an end to the corrupt leadership in Lira City. 2021-2026 is our time,” Mr Mawa said. “I’m aware of the pain people of Lira are in as a result of electing weak political heads,” he added.
Both Mr Mawa and Mr Ongom will, however, first have to beat Mr Willy Omodo Omodo in the race for the NRM flag.
Mr Omodo Omodo is a former NRM youth league vice chairperson for northern Uganda and also former Oyam North parliamentary candidate.
“Let’s join our hands together for a great change,” he said.
Those eyeing the UPC ticket are Mr Ogwang Veve (incumbent), Mr Michael Ogwal Aconga and Mr Martin Ocen Odyek. Mr Ocen, the former speaker of Lira District, said: “Clean leadership, which will put people first, is coming to the city.”
Mr Ogwal is the former UPC spokesperson in Lango and a businessman.
Mr Ogwang, the current Lira City interim mayor, has been accused by his own council and some members of the public of corruption.
Early this year, Mr Ogwang, former town clerk Assy Abirebe, his deputy Patrick Ogwang, and others were arrested by the State House Anti-Corruption Unit over alleged corruption and the matter is still in court.
A political analyst, Mr Patrick Odongo, urged voters to be careful when electing Lira City leaders. “I have one disappointment: I don’t want Lira to go back to just normal. I want Lira to go for the extraordinary. I want Lira to reclaim its rightful place as the premiere business capital of northern Uganda,” he said.
“We should be exporting our delicious Agricultural products from Lira international airport directly to Europe and China.” At the moment, Lira does not have an international airport though the government has secured land at Anai Cell for the establishment of one.