ARUA CITY. A section of parliamentary candidates in Arua city divisions have expressed mixed reactions over the pending January 14th elections.
While others are optimistic that things will go smoothly, some have expressed reservations towards the outcome accusing their opponents of planning to ferry voters from neighbouring districts.
Mr Bernard Atiku, the current Member of Parliament for Ayivu county and now contesting in Ayivu West constituency said he was able to dispel harmful propaganda by opponents that he sold Ayivu land.
“I told them that according to our 1995 national constitution, land belongs to the people, when we were passing the motion for the cities, there was no statement saying that as soon as the 15 cities are passed, land in those cities shall cease to belong to the citizens of Uganda particularly those who are residents in the city”, Atiku said.
He said in general a city is a good thing but one will feel the pinch if he/she is a tenant who does not own any piece of property particularly land of ant tenure system adding that land owners and those who have educated their children stand a better chance of tapping opportunities which come with the city.
“The city comes with a lot of employment opportunities both in formal and informal sector meaning there are opportunities for people to do labour work, non-skilled work and all kinds of work while those who are educated have the opportunity to do business or to get employed in the formal sector in the city council”, Atiku added.
He encouraged locals to engage in wealth creation activities like doing urban farming such as poultry and green house farming and many more.
Mr Fadhil Lemeriga, the Democratic Party candidate for Arua central said he expects the elections to be free and fair considering the transparency the electoral commission has exhibited in the short run but was quick to point out challenges he he experienced during the campaigns.
“The campaigns because they were scientific, they were very expensive, the biggest challenge was you cannot address people if you don’t have financial inducement to give them, if you don’t have the inducement, they don’t take your massage which affected our penetration into the communities and Arua central is bigger than the 50 cells, we had to go up to Mutukula, Ociba, Muni and Onduparaka but the people are convinced that I will be their next MP”, Lemeriga said,
While campaigning at Bethany prayer centre on Monday, Mr Jackson Atima Lee Buti asked the Christians to pray for peaceful elections especially in the hotspots in the country where tensions are already high. He said his candidature was to cause change in the city which many residents have desired and to change the face of the city. But his campaign team separately told journalists that one of the opponents was planning to ferry people from Terego district to come and vote in the city, a claim that could not be independently verified by West Nile Web.