The clashes broke out between the supporters of incumbent LC5 chairman and those of his sole political rival over results.
Seven people, including a medical officer, are confirmed dead and scores injured in Bundibugyo district – western Uganda – following Local Council (LC) post-election violence in the area.
“But we are getting reports that 13 people may have died. We are yet to confirm that,” the Resident District Commissioner (RDC), Geoffrey Mucunguzi, told New Vision on phone Saturday.
He added that security had arrested 30 people in connection with the pre-dawn clashes, which started around 3.00am local time the same day.
The clashes broke out between the supporters of incumbent LC5 chairman Jolly Tibamanya and those of his sole political rival Ronald Mutegeki over election results.
The district registrar, Daniel Nayebare, reportedly first declared Tibamanya winner then later declared Mutegeki as the winner of the seat instead – sparking off confusion, and then unrest.
According to Mucunguzi, the results of the LC elections, held on February 24, were relayed live on local FM radio in Bundibugyo town.
“The district registrar declared incumbent district chairman, Tibamanya winner of the elections. But four hours later, he declared Mutegeki winner, claiming there had been an error in the results,” said the RDC.
But Nayebare dismissed the allegations, saying there is a difference between announcing and declaring election results.
"What happened was that there was a mismatch in three polling stations. When that was corrected, Mutegeki won by 300 votes,” he said. “That was when I declared Mutegeki winner.”
The RDC also faulted some of the district's heavyweights for being partly behind the controversial results and the resultant violence.
Following the declaration, a group of mainly Bamba – armed with spears, machetes (pangas), knives, bows and arrows – attacked the homes of the Bakonzo (Mutegeki's tribe).
The attackers, reportedly also armed with a gun, raided the resident of the medical officer and ordered him to open. Sources say that when he resisted, the attackers forced his door open and fired four bullets at him, killing him on the spot.
"The whole thing has turned tribal. All the Bakonzo are fleeing from Bwamba to Bughendera counties. They are carrying all their property they can manage to carry," a resident New Vision on phone.
"Many people are too afraid to get out of their houses," added the local, describing the situation as very perilous.
The streets of Bundibugyo were mainly deserted, as heavy deployment took over the area to stem further violence, the source told New Vision.
Following the violence, a number of top security officials, including the Regional Police Commander, SSP Namwoza and Electoral Commission officials rushed to the district to try and calm the volatile situation.
Bundibugyo is trying to recover from the bloody clashes of July 5, 2014 in which over 100 people, including security personnel, died when a group of people, claiming to be Esyomango sy’Obusinga Bwa Rwenzururu (Rwenzururu kingdom youth wingers), attacked the Bamba.
The attackers, said to be under the influence of witchcraft, also dared security installations, losing their lives in the process.
The situation was later calmed down when both the Rwenzururu and the Omudingiya w'Obudingiya Bwa Bamba (Bamba king) spearheaded various reconciliation and peace-building meetings.