ARUA CITY. Mr Robert Ejiku officially launched his campaigns for the Member of Parliament seat of central division, Arua city, at his residence on Sunday.
Ejiku, an independent candidate during the 2018 Arua municipal bye elections came third polling behind incumbent Kassiano Wadri and Nusura Tiperu.
He is seeking to vie under the national resistance movement (NRM) party although he must sail through the primary elections to become the official party flag bearer in the 2021 elections.
West Nile web captured some of the key highlights about the campaign launch, and below are some excerpts during the two hour address to the press.
Who is Robert Ejiku?
Ejiku: I was born in Moyo district but my parents shortly moved to Arua. My father Mr Julian Atima was a trade development officer (an equivalent of the commercial officer) and mother a primary teacher (all deceased).
I went to Arua hill primary school finishing in 1988, Mvara secondary for ordinary and advanced level before joining Makerere University where I graduated with a bachelors in food science and technology.
I further obtained a master’s degree in Business administration and a post graduate Diploma in Agricultural entrepreneurship and innovations and a host of other certificates.
I have spent most of my employment life in the tea sector where I worked for 17 years based in fort portal and Busenyi districts.
I later joined development work in partnership with USAID and later a Dutch funded organization, the integrated seed sector development (ISSD) on secondment to NARO holdings, the business arm of national agricultural research organization.
I have been a member of the Rotary club for the last 15 years.
I am the current captain of the west Nile golf club as well as the national team manager for the junior and senior golf teams under the Uganda golf union.
I am an entrepreneur with interests in real estate, green trading and hospitality industry.
Why are you vying for the MP seat in the central Division?
“I am contesting in central division to offer good leadership, it took only two years for the people to realise that we had fallen short of the good leadership we aspire to have, the central theme of democracy must be the people, if u purport to represent the people, then it’s their views, interests and needs that you should address but many of these needs have not been addressed
Some of the challenges including urban poverty, unemployment, poor infrastructure and a declining standard social services, land conflicts as well as high crime rates in the city still define our city.
What key roles do you intend to play as the MP that should set you apart from your predecessors?
Ejiku: In parliament, I seek to present people’s views and to be able to do that I will need to consult regularly with people which has not been happening.
I will create an office that will have people to keep in touch with what is on ground, I will regularly attend city council meetings so that we keep track of discussions and the issues in the community.
The appropriation of resources is one key role I will focus on because that is one key area for the growth of our economy.
Some of my other responsibilities will involve mobilisation of communities to supplement the efforts of the government.
How do you intend to unite the diverse people of the city?
As a leader, you need to be a unifying factor in the community and yet I have seen in west Nile region that has been a big problem, some of our leaders shamelessly talk about the unity of the Acholi, Lango and Bunyoro MPs but what about us the people of west Nile?
Unity should not be among the leaders alone, what are you doing as a leader to ensure that the people in the communities are united?
Once elected, I will represent all the people whether you are a voter or a non-voter, a woman or man regardless of your religion, party, tribe education, wealth, etc.
We should respect all the categories in their diversities and give due attention to all of them and that is key for me as a leader.
How will you use your position to advance the development agenda of Arua city?
The first thing that I will lobby for is increased funding to the cities, we must appropriate enough resources to do its master planning and once it’s done, we must ensure that peoples land rights are respected and protected.
If your land is affected by any development project of the city, this must be properly communicated, communities must be sensitized and if it is to be acquired, people must be sensitized.
I also encourage our people to register their land but my appeal to government is to make this a cheap process because the current costs are too high for the ordinary people.
Working with city authorities, we will have to find space for an industrial park and that is where the factories that will employ the youth, women and any other productive person will be and that’s how we will bring down crime and empower our people economically
Many people argue that disunity is caused by excessive use of abusive language during campaigns..
Ejiku: I have told my campaign team that we must after the campaigns be agents of unity to bring the people together because it’s only united people who can deliver the goals of transformation. I can pledge as a candidate that we would like to have peaceful campaigns.
We respect our opponents and they are worthy opponents because of the courage they have to come in the elections and I want to thank them and I hope they will reciprocate the respect we give them.
To the party NRM, I would like the campaigns to maintain the party cohesion and unity and after the primaries, we remain one as we go into the general elections.
Politics should not divide us and as leaders we make a lot of sacrifices, we forfeit resources and time to be able to serve our people and if after all this you end with a divided people, then the sacrifices are not worth the salt in them.
Finally I have read that our incumbent (Wadri) has been sickly but I am happy that he said he is improving, I pray for his full recovery and should he choose to run again, we will be meeting in the general elections.
I have heard some very cheap minds talking about his condition, I do not support that, we go into this race as brothers and sisters and after it all we still remain brothers and sisters.