By Faustine Odeke
The minister of State for primary healthcare Sarah Achieng Opendi has been defeated in the NRM primaries for the Tororo Woman MP seat.
Opendi, who is the incumbent, was overpowered by Jacinta Ayo.
Ayo won with 44,444 votes while the minister came in second with 42,718 votes in a race that featured six competitors.
The results were declared by the Tororo election officer Joseph Kadoketch early Wednesday.
The others in the race were Jessica Dambio (11,299 votes), Felsity Etiang (10,495), Adekur Dinah (6,906) and Grace Oburu (9,600).
Moments after being declared winner, Ayo called for unity and reconciliation amongst her opponents.
She also thanked God for guiding her through the entire electoral process, saying her victory was a combined effort of her mobilization.
But her rival Minister Opendi she would petition against the results, saying they were manipulated in favour of Ayo.
“This election has not been free and fair. I am going to challenge the outcome,” she said, pointing at cases of ballot stuffing in some polling stations and failure by the party’s electoral commission to address the said anomalies.
“Failure by the party’s electoral commission to address the problem will force some of us to go as independents,” she told reporters.
Opendi said the outcome did not surprise her though, citing bias right from the time of campaigns during which she said she was banned by the deputy election officer Juliet Nyawere to speak during joint campaign rallies.
She also said she expected to appear first on the ballot paper, according to the alphabetical order of their names, but was surprised when she appeared sixth yet she had long told her supporters to vote for the first name.
The minister was also disappointed that in her strongholds, a few ballot papers were delivered and results of some polling stations were manipulated as ballot papers were stuffed far beyond the number of the registered voters.
On his part, Fredrick Angur, who won the Tororo County race, thanked his entire supporters for demonstrating their ability and commitment to see transformation changes in the county.
He preached the gospel of unity and reconciliation within his supporters.
His close challenger Victor Engorit was quick to concede defeat, promising to join hands and work together for the benefit of Tororo County.
Richard Ojore of Tororo North County who lost to Godfrey Othieno said he was not happy with the outcome of the elections, saying figures were just altered on the table before declaration.
He wondered how the results tally sheet could be transported by his opponent to the declaration center.