Published by Patra K on

The Money Kings of Soroti City Who Lost the Election

One of Echodu Calvin's bill boards in Soroti district.

In Soroti City West, money bag Echodu Calvin used a chopper to move from one campaign ground to the next. As if using a chopper to campaign in a small city division was not enough profligacy, Echodu is alleged to have made a cash contribution to Mr. Museveni’s election campaign.

ACFIM monitors report that Echodu met Museveni at Soroti State Lounge and offered a campaign finance contribution of UGX 8 billion ($2.7 million). The norm is that the National Resistance Movement (NRM) party flag bearers always look to access campaign war-chest from party leader and incumbent presidential candidate Yoweri Tibuhaburwa Museveni.

Echodu also bank rolled other NRM flag bearers in Soroti at different electoral levels including Soroti City Woman Member of Parliament race, District Chairperson, City Mayor and a number of candidates for City Councilor.

Across the street in Soroti City East was another money bag, incumbent Member of Parliament Hon. Herbert Eriko Edmund who reportedly donated credit facilities to groups of youth and women, repaired boreholes, donated an ultramodern ambulance with an in-built mobile theatre, and built a maternity ward at Eastern Division Health Centre III which he furnished with complete beds.

Unfortunately for the two money bags, their profligate campaign spending notwithstanding, they both lost the election. Echodu lost to incumbent Jonathan Ebwalu while Ariko lost to Okia Moses Attan.

The source of Echodu’s campaign money remains unclear but unconfirmed reports say that he married a member of the wealthy family of John Hopkins Foundation. As for Ariko, ACFIM understands that before being elected to the 10 Parliament, he was the director of human resource in the Parliament of Uganda.

The voting decisions of the people of Soroti City is a bold statement and message to political opportunists who take voters for granted and imagine that they will throw money to the electorate and induce them to reciprocate with their votes.

The arrogance of using a chopper to campaign in a small city division deserved to be punished in the ballot box. However, in many other places, the money bags went on to win the elections. Cases in point are several in western Uganda and the north.

With urbanization comes a level of civic awareness that helps voters to transcend money and look at the competence of a candidate. In the case of candidate Echodu, he could not even put out a campaign message by himself. He always had a campaigner who moved with him and did all the talking, only to invite the candidate at the end to just greet the electorate.

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