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Why Kampala mayoral poll was postponed

By Vision Reporter

Added 24th February 2011 03:00 AM

THE Electoral Commission has postponed the Kampala mayoral and councillors’ elections after violence broke out in several parts of the city, amid allegations of vote rigging and ballot stuffing.

THE Electoral Commission has postponed the Kampala mayoral and councillors’ elections after violence broke out in several parts of the city, amid allegations of vote rigging and ballot stuffing.

By Vision Reporters

THE Electoral Commission has postponed the Kampala mayoral and councillors’ elections after violence broke out in several parts of the city, amid allegations of vote rigging and ballot stuffing.

The elections started at 7:00am and were called off at about midday amid allegations of vote rigging and ballot stuffing.

Several groups guarding different candidates’ votes started fighting amongst themselves, disrupting the entire process

The EC deputy chairman, Joseph Biribonwa, said the elections were called off due to failure by polling officials to observe opening procedures, ballot stuffing and connivance by some polling officials with candidates’ agents to breach procedures.

The other reason, he said was due to violence in several parts of the electoral district.

The EC secretary, Sam Rwakoojo said a new date for the Kampala elections would be announced soon.

He said elections in some polling stations began as early as 6:00am, contrary to the law which requires that they begin at 7:00am.

“In some areas, the boxes were opened without any witnesses, while in others people who witnessed the arrival and opening were not recorded,” Biribonwa said.

Rwakoojo said they are yet to establish whether the stuffed ballot papers were those of the EC or forged ones. Implicated officials, he added, had already been handed over to the Police.

Rwakoojo said the commission did not foresee this: “We thought the only problem, given the experience from the presidential elections, was late delivery of election materials.”

The materials, he noted, were dispatched from the commission stores on Tuesday to the division headquarters from where the polling officials picked them yesterday early morning.

“We cannot tell where the pre-ticking and stuffing took place,” he said. Rwakojo said the commission would have to procure new voting materials since they had been tampered with.

Kakeeka, Rubaga division
Supporters of Erias Lukwago accused Peter Sematimba’s camp of ballot stuffing.

While the situation was calm at the polling station in the morning, it went out of control at about 11:00am when Lukwago’s supporters started complaining about the filled ballot boxes yet the turn up was very low.

Moses Kiwanuka, a voter, told New Vision that Lukwago’s men arrived in a taxi, registration number UAH 442T, parked near the polling station and proceeded to break all the ballot boxes.

He said they found ballot papers ticked in favor of Sematimba in a septic tank near the polling station.

“I had just cast my vote when I saw men wielding sticks moving towards the polling station. They broke all the ballot boxes. Then another group emerged from Super FM radio and a scuffle started,” Kiwanuka added.

During the scuffle, six journalists were wounded and voters beaten. They were admitted to Rubaga Hospital.

Four men wielding sticks were arrested and taken to the Central Police Station.

Another person was badly wounded at the Bat Valley polling station and was said to have been admitted to Mulago Hospital.

Nsambya, Makindye division
In Nsambya, Makindye division, voting was characterised by violence and low voter turn up. At several polling stations visited by New Vision by 10:00am, there was no single voter lining up.

However, the low voter turn up did not prevent violence from breaking out, as supporters of the different candidates got involved in a scuffle at St. Paul polling station in Makindye, near Nsambya Hospital.

Lukwago’s supporters rounded up Ssematimba’s agent who was moving around polling stations in Makindye, doing last-minute campaigns. The Police intervened and rescued him from the irate crowd.

Kenneth Mulongo, a Police officer at the polling station, said Mugisha was campaigning, adding that he was arrested by the Police as investigations go on.

Kabalagala, Makindye division
Voters rioted minutes after announcing that the elections had been postponed.

“Why should we waste our time coming to vote again? Let them cancel the affected polling stations. We did not rig elections here and there is no reason why we should suffer,” complained an old man at Kisaawe polling station in Kabalagala. There was heavy deployment of soldiers in the area.

Naguru, Luzira, Nakawa division
Voting in Naguru, Luzira, Mutungo, Biina, Kitintale, all in Nakawa division, delayed to start due to low voter turn up and late arrival of Police constables.

At the Naguru Infant Primary School polling station, the polling officer, Steven Wasswa, said unlike the presidential and parliamentary elections where people showed up in large numbers in the morning, voters turned up late to vote.

“We got the materials as early as 6:00am and by 7:00am we had finished assembling them but there were no voters to witness the opening of the election kits,” Wasswa said.

Kitintale
Musa Nasser, the presiding officer at Kitantale Police Post, said voting started at 8.00am because there was no required number of voters to witness the opening of ballot boxes.

At 15 polling stations visited by the New Vision team, presiding officers complained about late coming by voters and the Police constables.

Biina
Voters expressed disappointment at Biina church polling station when Police constables started collecting voting materials as they waited for the car to transport them back to the nearby Police stations.

This was after the election had been called off.

MUBS, Nakawa division
At Makerere University Business School (MUBS), several students who registered at the polling station missed voting because their names were not on the voters’ register.

National Theatre, Kampala central
Three ballot boxes were seized by Lukwago’s agents and taken by the Police at around 10:30am after voters turned rowdy.

“We were here at 6:00am but we found three boxes that had been stuffed with ballot papers and yet records in the book were not reflecting that people had voted,” said Moreen Naluza, Lukwago’s agent.

John Mutanda, the vice-chairman Kampala central, said the Railway polling centers were also closed over similar allegations.

Kawempe division
At the Mbogo Primary School polling centre, two men who claimed to be UPDF soldiers were beaten by the opposition groups on suspicion that they were on a vote-rigging mission. The duo, who claimed that they were in the area to keep peace, were rescued by the Police and whisked away.

Buganda Road staff quarters
At this polling station voting came to a standstill as an unidentified man was held with stuffed ballot boxes.

Brian Sekamate, Lukwago’s agent, said they were tipped off by a five-year-old boy after he had seen a man running up stairs with a ballot box.

The agents mounted a search in the building and on reaching up-stairs; they found the man hiding under a bed with the ballot box which contained pre-ticked ballot papers. The unidentified man was whisked to Wandegeya Police Station.











Why Kampala mayoral poll was postponed

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