Fight in FDC Over Aswa Primary Elections

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Christopher Acire, the incumbent Member of Parliament for Gulu Municipality (extreme right) during a rare public appearance after his election in 2011(Photo: James Owich

A decision by the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) not to hold primaries for aspirants for the Aswa County in Gulu district has drawn anger among a section of the party supporters.

The FDC has suspended primaries for Aswa and reportedly zeroed on incumbent Member of Parliament Reagan Okumu who is also the party’s Vice President, as its candidate for the Aswa parliamentary seat in the 2016 elections.

This has, however, not been received well by Christopher Acire, the current member of parliament for Gulu municipality who has declared interest to contest in Aswa instead of defending his seat.

Acire described his party’s decision not to hold primaries in Aswa as unconstitutional and has petitioned the FDC electoral commission for the decision to be reversed.

Acire says no one will block his ambition to contest in Aswa even if the party primary is not held.

For FDC’s internal democracy, Acire insists, the party should conduct a primary election in Aswa.

Acire and Okumu have had a rocky relationship although the former says his decision to contest in Aswa is not a personal war against the latter.

The Gulu Municipality MP accuses the Gulu District FDC Chairperson Toolit Simon Akecha of acting illegally in contravention of the party constitution.

He has also threatened to drag the party election commission to court if it fails to call for primary elections.

Akecha dismissed Acire’s claims questioning why he abandoned Gulu Municipality seat for Aswa. According to Akecha, Okumu will be FDC’s official flag bearer for the Aswa seat.

Democratic Party (DP) president Norbert Mao and former Gulu Municipality MP has declared his interest in reclaiming his old seat.  Mao who remains popular in his former constituency has already received backing from FDC which has said it will not field a candidate in Gulu municipality because no aspirant under the party picked nomination forms for the seat.

On his party, Okumu alleges that Acire’s action is an act of desperation and that he is being pushed by elements within the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) who want to see his downfall.

For the nearly five years that he has served as Gulu municipality MP, Christopher Acire’s performance has been questioned with his critics saying he has not measured up to his legislation duties.