By Fred Kiva
KAMPALA. Government Spokesperson Ofwono Opondo says despite losing, National Resistance Movement (NRM) had an upper hand in the recent Arua Municipality polls.
The seat which fell vacant following assassination of Member of Parliament Ibrahim Abiriga in June, was won by Kassiano Wadri, an independent candidate in the by election held on Wednesday.
Wadri beat his closest rival and NRM flag bearer Nusura Tiperu and ten others. Appearing on 'The Capital Gang', a popular radio talk show on Saturday, Opondo said votes for ruling party were shared by the official NRM candidate and the five party leaning independents, who he says bounced back because of messed up party primaries.
Opondo noted however, that Tiperu's votes and those of NRM leaning independents combined are higher than those of the winner and the FDC candidate combined.
"9786 votes of all NRM candidates combined show that NRM had an upper hand in this election. NRM lost because of internal dynamics," he said adding that messed up party primaries show five losers coming back as independents, which he claims divided the ruling party's support and gave chance to an independent candidate.
Opondo argues that Wadri and FDC's Bruce Musema's votes combined were slightly above 7000, which is far below the over 9000 combined votes of NRM's Tiperu and the five leaning party independents.
Wadri got 6421 while Tiperu polled 4798 votes. Another independent candidate Robert Ejiku came third with 2694 while FDC's Bruce Musema got a dismal 1369 votes.
"Our NRM primary elections were messed up and the party Secretariat owes us an explanation," Opondo emphasized.
Meanwhile, addressing journalists after the Arua election loss, NRM Secretary General, Kasule Lumumba blamed the loss on the campaign violence, which she said scared away party supporters from voting. Violence erupted on Monday during climax of the Arua campaigns.
The violence culminated into an attack on the President's convoy by opposition supporters. A number of suspects including the election winner Kassiano Wadri have since been arrested and charged with treason.