Polling underway in Ruhaama byelection

By Joseph Kizza

Added 11th January 2018 08:45 AM

The Ruhaama parliamentary seat fell vacant following the death of William Beijukye Zinkuratiire on November 3 last year.

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The Ruhaama parliamentary seat fell vacant following the death of William Beijukye Zinkuratiire on November 3 last year.

PIC: A voter casts her ballot at Ruhaama Church of Uganda polling station. (Credit: Crispin Kaheru)


NTUNGAMO - The voters in Ruhaama County in Ntungamo district are casting their ballot in a byelection to choose their representative in Parliament.

The seat fell vacant following the death of William Beijukye Zinkuratiire early in November last year. He had replaced the First Lady and education minister Janet Museveni, who had held the seat in the 8th and 9th parliaments.

The byelection race has attracted a number of contenders, including National Resistance Movement (NRM) flag-bearer Moses Kahima and three independent candidates — Eng. Jackson Mubaagizi, Dr Penninah Binomugisha and Vastine Orishaba.

Interestingly, the Opposition side did not front any contender in the race.

At Bukora polling station, presiding officer Tumwesigye Vincent breaks the seal of the kit in the presence of voters and a polling constable. (Credit: Crispin Kaheru)

According to the Electoral Commission programme, the byelection polling was to officially start at 7.00am and end at 4.00pm local time.

However, at a number of polling stations, polling officials had not yet got set for voting by 7:00am. One such station was Rwampiri polling station in Itojo sub-county, where materials only arrived at about 7:20am.

"It is past 7:00am, the official time to commence polling and this vehicle is still delivering polling materials. Six polling stations in Itojo sub-county have not yet received their polling materials," tweeted Crispin Kaheru, the country co-ordinator of Citizens' Coalition for Electoral Democracy in Uganda (CCEDU).

CCEDU and the South Western Institute for Policy and Advocacy (SOWIPA) deployed 30 observers for today's polls.

'People are still in the gardens'




CCEDU's Caheru, who is in Ruhaama, says the morning turnout is low but is expected to rise later in the day, considering it is a harvesting season and residents are first tending to their gardens.

"At Kashasha playground polling station in Itojo sub-county, only eight out of 490 voters have voted. It is 9:20am. Presiding officer Richard Mutungi expects turnout to increase in the afternoon; apparently people are still in their gardens -  it is harvesting season!" he tweets.



Mary Louisa Kurubakanya, 84, cast her vote at Ruhaama Primary School polling station in Ruhaama Ssub-county

President Yoweri Museveni, the NRM national chairperson, took off time to drum up support for his party's flag-bearer Kahima on Tuesday.

He addressed rallies in the sub-counties of Nyakyera, Rukoni East, Ruhaama and Ntungamo in Ruhaama County, where he urged the people to elect Kahima if they want to benefit from the ruling NRM government.

"Don't play with your vote because it means a lot for the development of your area. It is not about your relative, your religious people or one who comes from your area, but one who can effectively lobby for the needs of your constituents," Museveni said.

Meanwhile, while the main focus is on filling the parliamentary seat, the Electoral Commission is also conducting elections and byelections to fill vacancies in various local government councils in Ruhaama County.

The constituency has eight sub-counties, three town councils, 30 parishes, 17 wards and 199 polling stations, with a registered voter population of 116,883.



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