The police have mounted a number of checkpoints and deployed security personnel along major roads within Omoro district to beef security ahead of the Omoro County Parliamentary by-election.
The checkpoints are visible within Opit town council and along roads connecting Opit town council to Lalogi town council and Acet town council.
The Aswa River Region Police Spokesperson David Ongom Mudong told Uganda Radio Network-URN in an interview that the move is part of police readiness to avert any possible wrong elements from entering Omoro.
Mudong says they are expecting very important persons in government to take part in the campaigns and as such, it’s a routine to provide security.
According to Mudong, the checkpoints will help police to screen people especially those who are strangers and entering Omoro district at the time campaigns are ongoing and a by-election around the corner.
The security beef-up comes just a few days after security claimed that suspicious individuals had been ferried into Omoro district to interfere with the ongoing campaigns and by-election slated for May 26th, 2022.
Meanwhile, police fired teargas on Thursday evening to disperse hundreds of supporters of the National Unity Platform-NUP for allegedly holding campaign rallies past the recommended 6pm. The scuffle which took place at about 8pm in Acet town council reportedly left a toddler in a coma after reportedly inhaling tear gas.
Mudong notes that reports indicate the group was violating the EC time frame of the campaign adding that when police responded to stop them, they instead decided to pelt police officers with stones prompting retaliation.
He acknowledged that a young child suffocated from inhaling tear gas fired by police but noted the child is in good shape after being rushed for medical treatment at Lalogi Health Center IV.
Simon Toolit Akecha, the National Unity Platform flag bearer says he wasn’t at the campaign venue since he had been summoned by the Electoral Commission to answer a petition against him.
Akecha says he isn’t surprised by the action of the police who have been trailing him ever since he was nominated for the Parliamentary race in Omoro County.
His campaign manager Secondo Okot Abok, however, refuted Police allegations that they were campaigning after 6 Pm. Abok says Police officers fired teargas into the crowd while they were already leaving the venue.
“It’s not true that we violated EC campaign guidelines, it’s just the routine target we are facing from the police because of the huge support we have on the ground. We are peaceful and abiding by every set guideline,” says Abok.
He also notes that the checkpoints being erected in the constituency are targeting their campaign teams and supporters.
“The road blocks are majorly to target our team because they know we are a threat to the NRM candidate,” he says.
Six candidates are in the race and holding campaign rallies to occupy the Omoro Parliamentary seat that fell vacant following the death of former legislator and speaker of Parliament Jacob L’Okori Oulanyah on March 20th, 2022.
The other candidates are National Resistance Movement Party flag bearer Andrew Ojok Oulanyah, Oscar Kizza, the alliance for National Transformation party candidate, Justine Odong, FDC flag bearer, and Terrence Odonga, and Jimmy Walter Onen all contesting on independent tickets.