By Moses Nampala
and Francis Kagolo
GUNSHOTS, teargas and batons were used to disperse crowds that tried to block NRM parliamentary primary polls between Emmanuel Otala and Jacob Oboth-Oboth.
The pair are vying to represent the NRM in the race for the West Budama South parliamentary seat.
The trouble began on Saturday when deputy regional Police commander Andrew Nkore and NRM election officer Lawrence Mayambala disregarded a High Court order barring the elections from proceeding and began loading vehicles with ballot papers under Police escort.
The court order was issued last Friday and signed by High Court registrar Lillian Mwandha.
Oboth turned up at Tororo Central Police Station with hundreds of angry supporters to block the exercise, but armed policemen dispersed them by firing teargas, shooting in the air and beating them with batons.
The Police then loaded the ballot papers onto various vehicles and escorted them to Iyolwa subcounty, where elections took place.
Oboth sustained a deep cut on his left arm. â€œI have been assaulted and hurt. Many of my supporters have been harassed and two of them have been detained,â€ he told New Vision.
When asked for a comment, Nkore said: â€œWe are acting in consonance with orders from above. The voting exercise has to be held in Iyolwa.â€
Otala, the state minister for labour, said he and Oboth agreed to hold the polls on November 6.
â€œWhen he comes around to disregard the decision he participated in marking, he becomes a very dishonest person,â€ said the minister.
However, Oboth denied ever agreeing to a poll date.
Otala is the current MP for West Budama South. Oboth is the deputy regional Solicitor general.
Results from Iyolwa were omitted from the NRMâ€™s August primaries for parliamentary candidates in Tororo due to a High Court application filed by Oboth. In the application, Oboth said the partyâ€™s register was full of ghost voters and needed to be cleaned before polls are held.
Justice Stephen Musota ruled that Iyolwaâ€™s party register be cleaned before elections are held. But on October 29, the party electoral commission announced that the election for Iyolwa would be held on November 6.
Oboth again challenged the decision in court. A court order by High Court registrar Lillian Mwandha warned the party against holding polls on Saturday, saying they would be null and void and should be stopped.
By press time yesterday, the district NRM electoral officials were yet to announce results from the disputed primary.
Incidentally, Oboth had been declared the provisional winner of the August primaries.