TORORO. A declaration by the Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP), Sam Omala, that he will be contesting for an elective position in the forthcoming 2021 general elections has attracted mixed reactions from the voters in Tororo District.
Mr Omala came to the limelight in 2011 after he commanded a team that was assigned to block former Forum for Democratic Change President, Col Dr Kizza Besigye, from leaving his house in Kasangati, Wakiso District during the “walk to work” protests.
He is known for breaking up Opposition demonstrations.
The maverick police officer at the weekend announced he will contest for district chairperson or Member of Parliament for Budama North constituency come 2021.
He was addressing journalists at his ancestral home in Senda Village, Kirewa Sub-county.
Mr Omala who has risen through police ranks says he is responding to popular calls for him to contest and has consulted widely before considering joining active politics.
“I have consulted widely and the voters have supported my decision to join active politics to help restore harmony in the district,” Mr Omala said.
“People have also been calling and telling me that I’m the right person to represent them,” he added promising to mediate over Iteso and Jopadhola to end tribal divisionism that have lingered on due to what he termed as poor leadership.
The Iteso of Tororo County have for long complained of high levels of marginalisation and suppression by their Jopadhola counterparts from West Budama County.
The Iteso now want an independent district carved out as per the boundaries drawn in 1948.
But a section of Tororo residents are urging him to shelve his political ambitions.
“Mr Omala should know that politics is not for everybody. Let him retire and do farming. Politics is not for retired officers, we had a number of them but none delivered,” Mr Paul Ofwono, a resident of Eastern division in Tororo Town, said.
Mr Omala, who joined Uganda Police Force in 1989 as a police constable before he was subsequently promoted to various ranks, is set to retire on May, 2020, after serving in the Police Force for 40 years.
What residents say
Mr John Owori from Senda village, Kirewa Sub-county alleged the police officer is part of the group that has failed political change in the country.
“He is one of the people who have been used to stop political change by the NRM (National Resistance Movement party) leadership. He is not the kind of leader we can trust in our district,” he said.
But Ms Jane Omongi, a supporter of Mr Omala, said he will make a good leader if elected into a political office.
“He is a God fearing man and has the ability to reunite the divided district,” she said.
Ms Omongi said Mr Omala is developmental and has the zeal to support and lift residents of Tororo out of poverty.
Mr Omala said basing on the experience he has earned, he is able to rejuvenate and cause development in the district.
“I have served the nation and made impossibilities into actual realities and I can’t leave home unpeaceful yet in other parts of the country I am respected. I am coming back to restore peace and unity,” he said.
He said the current leaders have not done what people expected of them and it is time for them to leave.
“Tororo has been lagging behind because of the subversive leaders, we do not deliberate on issues that can result into transformation,” he said. He, however, declined to reveal his political party, saying it’s not yet time.
“This is not the right time to reveal the political party because I am still a serving Police officer and I need to observe Police’s non-partisan rule,” he said.
Commenting on Mr Omala’s declaration, the area MP, Mr Richard Othieno Okoth when contacted said the ballot paper will decide.
“Everyone has a right to contest as long as he or she meets the EC requirement for any position but at end of the day, its ballot paper that decides the winner,” he said.
Others contestants eying the seat include Mr John Paul Aloo, among others.