Ministers Amongi, Aceng battle for political supremacy in Lira

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Ministers Amongi, Aceng battle for political supremacy in Lira
Ministers Amongi and Aceng look set for big battle in Lira in 2026

LIRA CITY | A political storm continues to brew in Lira City as the Minister for Gender, Labour, and Social Development, Betty Amongi, declares interest to run for the position of Woman Member of Parliament for Lira City.

Ms Amongi, currently representing Oyam South and affiliated with the Uganda People's Congress (UPC), is seeking to unseat the Health minister Jane Ruth Aceng who is presently occupying the position under the NRM ticket.

“Oyam is my home district, Jimmy Akena married and brought me to senior quarters in Lira City. Marriage brought me to Lira City, and I have now carried all my saucepans from Oyam to take care of my in-laws in Lira City,” Minister Amongi said while officiating at a function in Lira City recently.

Ahead of the 2026 general election, the two ministers have each launched an array of mobilisation strategies, rallying support from women's groups and religious denominations as they gear up for what promises to be a fiercely contested electoral battle.

The struggle for supremacy has not only fragmented the city's leadership but also has sown discord within the business community, political parties, and religious bodies.

For instance, the two are said to be invincibly battling over the removal of Lira City West Speaker, Daniel Okello, who has expressed disloyalty to the sitting Woman MP.

This single battle was until recently brought to rest after 20 councillors from the City West Division wrote to Local government minister Raphael Magezi seeking blessings to remove the embattled speaker who has for several instances publicly shown support for Ms Amongi, despite being an ardent NRM member.

The two have, on several occasions, organised gatherings of the business community as they seek loyalty from the men and women who run the economic life of Lira City.

The meetings are usually organised at their home residences, where renowned businessmen publicly declare support towards the politicians.

Mr Nelson Adea Akar, a veteran politician in the region, warned that the struggle for supremacy could cost the two ministers soon.

“They are both daughters of Oyam. I have equal support for both of them, and my humble prayer is for them to agree and sort out the current tension so that they both get back to parliament for more appointments,” Adea told Nile Post

Ms Amongi, a seasoned politician, has embarked on an extensive outreach campaign within the city, leveraging her position as Minister for Gender and wife of UPC party president Jimmy Akena Obote, to garner support from various constituencies.

Mr Akena is the Member of Parliament for Lira City East Division. A son of Uganda's founding president Milton Obote, family remains the political bedrock of Lira.

Ms Amongi's aspiration has ignited hope among her supporters, who view her as a beacon of change and a visionary leader who could change the leadership system in the city.

"Betty Amongi represents a new era of leadership for Lira City. We have in the recent months seen her engagements with women groups, and she has expressed support towards promoting economic independence among the women in business," said Joyce Akello, a businesswoman in Lira City.

However, Ms Amongi's bid for the Woman MP seat has not been without controversy. Critics argue that her aspirations threaten to destabilise the existing political harmony and undermine the achievements of Dr Aceng.

Amb Julius Peter Moto, a resident of Lira City, described Minister Amongi’s plot to unseat the health minister from the city as "malicious".

“Dr Aceng has ensured that health investments are included in the health sector strategic plan as a social good for the benefit of all Ugandans. Within three years, she has ably represented the people of Lira City as recorded by the Parliament of Uganda, where she is among the top 100 contributors in debates on national importance,” says the former ambassador to the UK.

Amb Moto noted that the recent delivery of eight ambulances and surgical camps in Lango, where over 400 patients from Lango were operated on, was another stamp of confidence for Dr Aceng's service delivery.

"Lango people are advocating for the same annually. I shall back her again in her re-election bid for 2026-2031,” he said.

Dr Aceng, who until the declaration by the Gender Minister to unseat her would hardly make appearances in social gatherings in the constituency is currently riding on the successes of upgrading health centers in the region of Lango, giving start-up capital to women groups, and mobilizing the boda-boda operators in the city for soft loans.

The rivalry between Ms Amongi and Dr Aceng has deepened existing fault lines, with tensions simmering as the 2026 elections draw near. The race for political dominance has polarized the city's residents, with allegiances divided along partisan lines.

Several supporters of the two ministers have on several occasions taken to the airwaves including on local radio stations and WhatsApp groups that gather key political figures in the region to rally for support while at the same time criticising each other for their contribution to developing the region.

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