Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) and the National Unity Platform – NUP parties in Gulu have accused the ruling National Resistance Movement – NRM party of stage-managing defections in Acholi.
This follows a recent wave of alleged defections involving over 1,000 supporters from the opposition parties to the ruling NRM.
In December, at least 500 NUP supporters in Gulu and Nwoya District including their leaders allegedly crossed to NRM. This week, the NRM party officials again announced the defection of 400 supporters from the opposition FDC to NRM from across Gulu East and West Divisions. Also, 780 NUP coordinators reportedly abandoned their party in Agago District.
But Caesar Rubangakene, the NUP Spokesperson for Northern Uganda Chapter argues that the staggering defection figures are fictitious. He noted that the defections are being manipulated by NRM in the wake of their diminishing grassroots support ahead of the polls.
Andrew Ogwetta, the Gulu City FDC Spokesman also downplayed the alleged defection of party supporters and scorned at the NRM for buying FDC t-shirts and paying the alleged defectors to adorn
them and portray defections.
But Geoffrey Oceng Osborn, the Spokesperson of the NRM in the office the National Chairman in Acholi disputed the statements reiterating that the NRM is a winning team which anyone will be willing to join once they understand its ideology.
According to Samuel Oyet Agwani, the Gulu City NRM Youth League Chairperson, statistics already compiled by the party indicates that more than 2,000 defectors from the rival parties which also include the Democratic Party have crossed to NRM in the region.
However, the opposition parties refuted the claims and instead belittled NRM for sponsoring the printing of opposition t-shirts to enable money-hungry youth to dress up in them to disguise as defectors.
While the NRM under President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni appears to be making in-roads in Acholi ahead of the general elections, the party still faces an uphill task to win hearts of voters in Gulu City according to observations made by area political pundits and opinion leaders.