Uganda politician denies ‘ungrateful’ voters free water after defeat

Thursday August 9 2018

Patrick Okumu-Ringa

Mr Patrick Okumu-Ringa. He lost in the recently concluded Nebbi Municipality Parliamentary by-election. PHOTO | COURTESY 

By NAHASON MUSUNGU

A disgruntled Ugandan politician has reacted to a successive resounding defeat in a recent parliamentary by-election by stopping all development projects he had initiated in the area.

Patrick Okumu-Ringa, who lost in the recently concluded northern Nebbi Municipality Parliamentary by-election, opted to dismantle all the boreholes he had sunk that have been supplying water to area residents free of charge the past two decades.

In an interview with a local daily New Vision, the visibly angry lawmaker also accused the constituents of not appreciating his efforts to empower them.

He also confirmed he’d indeed sealed the boreholes, insisting he had no regrets over that action.

He however indicated his willingness to ‘reconcile’ with residents and assemble the boreholes at an appropriate time.

“I am hurt, but I will reconcile with residents and assemble the boreholes. For now, let them look for water elsewhere. Our people are not appreciative. All I wanted from them was votes. I have educated so many children, but all they tell me is that I have done nothing,” he said.

Failed bid

In justifying his actions, the former Public Service Minister accused the area residents of ‘abusing his generosity’ by not supporting his parliamentary bid.

The process of dismantling the boreholes started on Monday and was concluded on Wednesday, three days after the election results were announced.

Okumu-Ringa is said to own huge chunks of land in the Municipality and had drilled 10 boreholes in different wards which had been supplying water to area residents for free.

But things changed after the his bid to make a comeback to Parliament was nipped in the bud on successive occasions.

He initially lost during the ruling party NRM’s nominations but opted to run as an independent candidate, claiming President Yoweri Museveni’s party had rigged him out.

But again, he lost in the main elections, coming a distant third, securing a paltry 1,270 votes out of the 9,940 votes cast.

He lost, again, to the ruling party candidate Hashim Mukulanga who garnered 4,283 votes, with another candidate Robert Onega of FDC Party claiming second place with 4,159 votes.