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Uganda: Former university lecturer declares presidential bid

Gulu. A former Makerere University lecturer, who sued the government for its alleged failure to increase funding to agricultural sector, has declared intentions to contest for presidency in the next elections.

Dr Dan Okello told Daily Monitor in a telephone interview yesterday that he is prepared to challenge President Museveni in the 2021 general election.

“We need more money for agriculture so that we can buy tractors and ox-ploughs for the farmers. We can build dams in every village for irrigation, that is why I am in,” he said.

Dr Okello, who has been Lira District chairman of the opposition Uganda People’s Congress (UPC) party for 20 years, will have to first be elected by his party as the flag-bearer before he can run against Mr Museveni.

“I am most likely going to be UPC candidate unopposed because throughout Uganda, from central, northern, eastern and western, people are looking at Dr Dan Okello to become the next UPC president.

Therefore, I will become an automatic UPC presidential aspirant in 2021,” Dr Okello said.

“I have consolidated a lot of support for UPC party in Uganda; I have initiated a lot of things for UPC, including the UPC birthday,” he said.

The UPC founding day was celebrated for the first time in Uganda in 2014 since it was formed on March 9, 1960. The day has since been gazetted in the UPC calendar.

He further said he has already attracted Ugandan farmers to vote for UPC at the coming elections by taking the NRM government to court.

Last year, Dr Okello instituted a civil suit against the Attorney General at the High Court in Lira for alleged failure by government to allot 10 per cent of the national budget to the agricultural sector.

Dr Okello argues that the 2.7 per cent (about Shs892 billion) allotted to the agricultural sector in the current financial year that ends in June was “nothing”.

He further alleges that there is widespread starvation in Uganda because the NRM government has breached the Maputo Declaration of 2003.

“All Heads of State that met at Maputo Declaration agreed to allot 10 per cent of their national budgets to agriculture. Other African states have been allotting either 10 per cent or even more except Uganda,” he said.

The plaintiff now wants court to compel government to provide additional funding totaling Shs3.7 trillion to the agricultural sector.

Final hearing of the case is scheduled for May this year.
He comes from Oketkwer Village, Otara Parish, Aromo Sub-county in Lira District.

Dr Okello holds a PhD in Political Science and Public Administration from Makerere University.
He served in civil service for 35 years and lectured at Makerere University for 11 years.

While at Makerere, he was also a visiting lecturer in Johannesburg, South Africa, and New Delhi in India.

By Daily Monitor

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