A growing concern is growing among National Resistance Movement (NRM) chairpersons in Northern Uganda, particularly in the West Nile, Lango, and Acholi sub-regions.
The apprehension stems from the void left by the untimely demise of former Speaker of Parliament Jacob Oulanyah, who held the crucial position of NRM National Vice Chairperson for Northern Uganda.
The absence of a replacement in the Central Executive Committee since Oulanyah’s passing is raising fears of potential vote loss in the upcoming 2026 polls.
The district chairpersons, numbering 32, express their predicament in conducting grassroots activities without a voice in the central executive committee.
Oulanyah, credited for the NRM’s resounding victory in Northern Uganda during the 2021 general elections, has left a leadership gap that the party has yet to fill.
Odoki Lutukumoi, NRM Chairperson for Gulu City, articulates the frustration during a meeting held at the Gulu city yard, emphasizing the prolonged vacancy’s impact on their mobilization efforts.
“We are in a dilemma,” laments William Nokrach, NRM Chairperson for Amuru district, capturing the sentiment shared by many district leaders in the region.
The discontent among NRM chairpersons is viewed as a sign of a potentially dysfunctional system, raising concerns about their ability to effectively mobilize the masses leading up to the 2026 general elections, as highlighted by economist Alfred Oyet.
Akena Lamex, the NRM Administrative Secretary for Gulu District and city, suggests a temporary solution by proposing that NRM Secretary General Richard Todwong act as a caretaker until the 2026 elections.
However, the plea goes beyond internal party dynamics. The NRM chairpersons are calling on the national party chairperson, President Yoweri Museveni, to fulfil pledges made to the region.
The dual challenge of leadership void and unmet promises adds a layer of complexity to the political landscape in Northern Uganda.
As the 2026 elections approach, the NRM finds itself grappling with internal structural issues that may have far-reaching consequences on its electoral performance in a region crucial to its political success.