By Umaru Kashaka
Civil society organizations that monitored the voting process in the Buhweju by-election have commended the Electoral Commission (EC) for their good administration of the entire election process.
On Thursday, EC declared ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) candidate Oliver Koyekyenga winner of the by-election.
Koyekyenga polled 17,637 votes (65.6 per cent) while Jane Bwiruka of the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) got 9,266 votes (34.4 per cent).
In a statement issued after the declaration of results, the Citizens' Coalition for Electoral Democracy in Uganda (CCEDU) also cited areas that need improvement for better election management.
"CCEDU wishes to acknowledge the Electoral Commission for their good administration of the entire election process. CCEDU observed that the instructional posters indicating the withdrawal of the independent candidate (Alisson Byamukama) were pasted on walls around the polling stations," the report issued by Crispy Kaheru, the CCEDU Project Coordinator stated.
However, the civil society orgainsations noted that although the campaigns were fairly peaceful with no serious reported incidents of violence and malpractices, there was relatively a high number of security officers deployed at various polling stations like Rwengwe sub county headquarters and Nsiika playground polling stations.
“At the highlighted polling stations, CCEDU noted the presence of more than 5 (five) uniformed police officers,” the report added.
CCEDU recommended that legal provisions stipulating the timeframe for candidate withdrawal from an election race be instituted to deter any potential last minute withdrawals that might bear serious financial and logistical consequences on the respective electoral processes.
Early last week Alison Byamukama, one of the three candidates in the Buhweju elections, pulled out of the race a week to the election date thus setting the pace for a face-off between NRM’s Oliver Kwoyekyenga and FDC’s Jane Frida Bwiruka.
“Candidates’ agents should be obligated to wear visible identification tags and attire while at the polling stations. This will aid easy and effective identification of the agents.”
CCEDU deployed 28 election observers in the Buhweju MP by-election. The constituency has a total 120 polling stations and the organisation strategically sampled 45 in all the seveni sub-counties of Bihanga, Burere, Karungu, Rwengwe, Bitsya, Engaju, Nyakishana and Nsiika town council.