Patrick Okumu-Ringa has dismantled over 10 boreholes used for drinking water in the Nebbi municipality, a district in Northern Uganda. Why? The angry politician recently lost his bid for a seat during Uganda’s parliamentary elections. Okumu then resorted to destroying all the boreholes commissioned while in office. According to locals the boreholes had served as a major source of water supply to residences in that part of the country.
The politician has since argued for the fact that the people abused his “good will” and refused to re-elect him for another term in office. He said that “I have educated many children but all they tell me is I have done nothing, all I wanted was their votes. Our people are not appreciative”.
According to him, he does not regret his action since he had personally funded the water project and that even the National Water and Sewerage Corporation does not give water for free.
It turns out Okumu lost his seat as Uganda’s State Minister in 2006 and has since then made repeated, if unsuccessful attempts to return to parliament. During July’s municipality by-elections, Okumu ran as an independent candidate but lost in the ruling party’s primaries.
It is evident from Okumu’s statements that all his actions while in office were politically geared towards securing votes. In listing his “goodwill” gestures, Okumu has revealed himself as being patronizing to the public that voted for him. His behavior is a call for concern as it reveals the grassroots nature of Uganda’s patrimonial politics and how frail any notion of democracy remains under Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni, who has been President of the country since 1986.