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Nobody has a right to intimidate a Ugandan - Museveni

By Joseph Kizza

Added 17th August 2018 08:19 AM

"We are now investigating the allegations that some candidates had imported illegal voters from other areas to the municipality," says President Yoweri Museveni.

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"We are now investigating the allegations that some candidates had imported illegal voters from other areas to the municipality," says President Yoweri Museveni.

ARUA MUNICIPALITY BY-ELECTION

KAMPALA - President Yoweri Museveni has said that the Arua by-election was conducted with a measure of peace because violence and crime had been dealt with.

Calling it "a step-forward" to have violence-free polls, Museveni underlined that no-one has a right to threaten a Ugandan "by word or action".

Independent candidate Kassiano Wadri, despite being detained over election-related violence, was declared winner of the battle to replace Ibrahim Abiriga, who was murdered early June.

Wadri, who was under detention at the time of being announced victor by the Electoral Commission Wednesday late evening, beat 11 others in the hotly-contested race.

But earlier, on the last day of campaigns, a series of clashes set the stage for an anticlimax that had one person shot dead and others injured when a group of Opposition supporters reportedly stoned a President's convoy vehicle.

Police made arrests, and in a statement, later called the attackers of the presidential motorcade "hooligans".

The dead man was later identified as Yasin Kawuma, the driver of Kyadondo East MP Robert Kyagulanyi (aka Bobi Wine). Kyagulanyi was part of Wadri's camp.

 

Ruling party NRM's flagbearer Nusura Tiperu was second-best in a contest that she had hoped to retain the party's grip on the parliamentary seat once occupied by the widely revered Abiriga.

President Museveni, the party chairman, pointed at violence in the buildup to the much anticipated polls as the biggest factor behind the low voter turnout.

There could have been ghost voters as well, he added.

"Out of the 46,000 registered voters, only 16,000 turned out to vote. Only 34% of the electorate. The others either feared to come to vote or the register is full of ghosts," Museveni said.

The President took a swipe at the Opposition, saying that they have been culpable of importing illegal voters from other areas and that his party is investigating such claims.

"The Opposition has been doing this repeatedly, such as in Jinja East and Bugiri Municipality," he said.

Meanwhile, three MPs and 29 others were Thursday remanded to Gulu Main Prison for a fortnight after being charged with treason. Newly-elected Arua Municipality MP Wadri is one of them.

Paul Mwiru (Jinja East) and Gerald Karuhanga (Ntungamo) are the other legislators sent on remand by Gulu Chief Magistrate, Francis Dawa Matunga.

As a capital offence, treason attracts a death sentence by hanging, upon conviction.

Kyagulanyi was on the same day charged with illegal possession of firearms and ammunition. After being charged at the army court in Gulu, the legislator was remanded to Makindye Military Barracks in Kampala until August 23 -- when he is expected back in court.

Upon conviction, the offence carries up to 10 years behind bars.

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Here is the President Museveni's statement on the Arua by-election in full:

 

 


President`s statement on the just concluded Arua Municipality elections

 

Countrymen, Countrywomen, especially the Bazukulu (grand-children). Greetings. The elections in Arua Municipality were held peacefully because the organisers of violence and criminality had been arrested.

 The independent, the Hon. Kassiano Wadri, was declared the winner and the Hon. Nusura Tiperu of the NRM was number two.

This is a step-forward, to have elections without violence, without threats. Nobody has got a right to intimidate a Ugandan by word or action.

Nevertheless, the violence of the previous days had had the most negative effect. Out of the 46,000 registered voters, only 16,000 turned out to vote. Only 34% of the electorate. The others either feared to come to vote or the register is full of ghosts.

We are now investigating the allegations that some candidates had imported illegal voters from other areas to the municipality. The Opposition has been doing this repeatedly, such as in Jinja East and Bugiri Municipality. 

The NRM agents have got a weakness of not auditing the voters' registers in time to discover these imported voters. In the case of Arua Municipality, there is an allegation that the illegal voters were brought to the attention of the Electoral Commission but that it did not pay heed.

 This will be confirmed or disproved. A voter should only vote from where he resides or from where he originates. Therefore, the old man with a hat can only vote from Nakasero or Rwakitura. The culture of violence and cheating in elections must end completely. The cases of Jinja East and Bugiri are in court for that very purpose.

 The cases of terrorism, damaging property, manslaughter etc against the Hons: Wadri, Bobi Wine, etc will continue. Their actions led to the death of a Ugandan, injury of a number of others and damage to property, so the allegations go.

All those leaders, including the NRM members, should never encourage their supporters to violate the law, let alone themselves violating the law.

Processions through populated centres without co-ordination with the Police should never happen. I never organize processions. I always drive to and from the rally site in my convoy. Sometimes, only the boda boda riders join me.

The convoy moves fairly fast to the rally site and from the rally site, never touching the passers-by, the property of the people or the convoys of the other candidates.

In the elections of 2016, my convoy to Nambole met the one of Rt. Hon. Amama Mbabazi around the Naguru area. We just waved at one another and that was all.

Why should a Ugandan be beaten, intimidated or have his property or life destroyed on account of politics? With uncontrolled violence in elections, many voters will fear to go for voting. This will mean the disenfranchisement of Ugandans. 

Why, then, did the Ugandans shed their blood? It was in order for them to run their country through fair and free elections. I will defend that right today and tomorrow as I did in the past.

On the side of the NRM, many of the actors need to distance themselves from egoism. The NRM is about principles: Patriotism, Pan-Africanism, Social- Economic Transformation and Democracy.

Anybody who supports these, you should support if he/she emerges as the flag- bearer of the NRM. Not to support a flag-bearer for any reason, when you are a leader, is a failure of leadership. When you support the cause instead of supporting individual interests, your contribution will blossom, even if you meet potholes on the way.

This has been my experience in the last 58 years. Support principles, not opportunism, you will triumph in the end.

 

Yoweri Kaguta Museveni

President
Date:
Thursday, August 16, 2018

 



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