KARAMOJA VOTED OUT THE MONEY LORDS
Karamoja Voted Out the Money Lords
Political money lords in the Karamoja sub-region lost the election on account of lessons learned by the electorate from the performance of the 10th Parliament. Unlike previous elections where money translated into electoral victory, this time around voters were more interested in the manifesto of the candidate and accountability of past performance.
This sounds quite un-Karamoja-like, right? But yes, the candidates who came with money and had no clear ideas were denied the votes. This however did not mean that the voters rejected the money. Far from it, they took the money but voted their conscience.
For instance, in Abim district, one of the political money lords who fell victim was the outgoing Member of Parliament, Micheal Ayepa. He was reported to have openly told voters that even if he has not been in the constituency for so long, he would present himself with so-called “baboons” literally used to mean currency notes of UGX 50,000 ($ 13.5).
Hon. Micheal Ayepa is also said to have dished out to each village between UGX 400,000 (US$108) and UGX700,000 ($189). Overall, on the village scheme alone, he is estimated to have spent on the 400 villages in Abim, about UGX 400,000,000 ($ 108,108).
Even after using money as a strategy to lure voters, this did not help because people voted him out saying they needed services and not the money he was dishing which to them as taxpayers. One community member stated that “we have set traps and captured all his baboons/ money, he can come join us now.”
Other Political Money lords who lost in Karamoja are Ethics and Integrity Minister Fr. Simon Lokodo of Dodoth County West, Chairperson Karamoja Parliamentary Group MP for Dodoth East Sam Lokeris, Angella Fred of Moroto Municipality, Bildad Adome of Jie County, Bokora MP Terence Achia, and Namoe Stella of Napak district.
The secret known is that the people in Karamoja realized that politicians who use money to get themselves elected in office do not serve in the interest of the people. They keep away from their constituents for the entire tenure in office.
It must be recalled that the journey to cause attitudinal change of voters in Karamoja begun in 2016 when ACFIM conducted an anti-vote buying campaign educating citizens about the dangers of vote selling and buying.
The message ACFIM passed on was very clear to voters, calling upon them to vote wisely by shunning candidates who were using money because they would not offer good leadership. The fruit of this message whose seeds were sown in 2016 are now being harvested.
More details about the anti-vote buying campaign can be accessed on this link
It’s now evident that ACFIM fruits are beginning to pay off in Karamoja sub-region and a lot more still needs to be done to ensure that politics of ideas prevails over transactional politics.